Other Justifications for a Rational Belief in God

Evidence is only one way of justifying a belief in a god or gods.  I can think of at least two other things that would rationally justify a belief in the existence of a god or gods:  Personal experience with such a being, and the personal testimony/witness from a reliable source.

On personal experience with such a god.

If a god or gods makes themselves known to you in some form or fashion, I believe a person is rational for believing in that god or gods, even if they cannot recreate or reproduce that experience for other persons to examine. Specifically from my Christian perspective, If God reveals Himself to me through the personal, inner witness of the Holy Spirit, I am rationally justified for believing God exists. Another example given of God revealing himself to persons is through the Holy Bible (or in the case of non-Christians/non-Jews (who use the same Old Testament as Christians), whatever holy text is believed to have been given to them from their god). This point is hotly contested, and believed to be insufficient evidence for the existence of any gods, because it is believed by non-believers that these Holy Texts were written by men, rather than by gods, but that is okay, as the belief by some that Holy Texts are insufficient evidence for showing or proving the existence of a god does not hinder my point that a person can still be rational for their belief in a god based on their personal experience.

If a person has a personal experience, wherein they interact with a god, or where a god reveals their existence to that person, whether by speaking to them (as in the case of some figures described in the Bible) or through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, or any other means of revealing their existence, I believe that person is rational for trusting their experience, because most people trust their experiences every single day.

I trust my experience of the wind, even though I can’t see it, hold it, etc. I trust in Gravity (and many other natural phenomena I could name ad nauseum) strictly because of my experience of it. I trust my experience of excitement when my wife runs her fingers across my neck. There are many other examples that could be explained here. If I am rationally justified for trusting my experience(s) of these things, then I am rationally justified for trusting my experience of God.

personal witness/testimony from a reliable source.

Many Atheists seem to believe that a person is not rational for believing in the existence of a god simply because they were raised that way (that is, on the testimony of their parents). I am not sure I think this is correct. Especially when it comes to children who do not know any better, or who simply do not have the cognitive capacities and abilities to think through these things on their own, (but also with normal everyday adults) it is perfectly rational to trust the testimony of a reliable source.

If I read in the newspaper or other credible source that some new event X has occurred, I am not usually immediately skeptical that X occurred, unless something seems wrong, fishy, off, etc. Generally, we implicitly trust credible sources. Even if the event or reality being testified to seems incredible or unbelievable, if the source is someone close to me whom I definitely trust, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, then I tend to trust that source, even if I still have doubts.

The same is true for most of us, unless there is a presupposition that causes an immediate rejection of the events being testified to. Examples of such a presupposition is an atheist who holds a naturalistic worldview (that is, a worldview that believes that the physical universe is all there is and that there are no external realities to the physical universe), who would dismiss outright the claim of anyone that they experienced or had an interaction with a god or gods, or a Young Earth Creationist who dismisses outright any evidence that the universe is more 10,000 years old. Both of these instances show that many of us can and do have presuppositions that would hinder us from trusting a generally or consistently reliable source that proposes a reality or event that runs contrary to our already held beliefs. Generally, though, a person is rational for trusting the personal testimony or witness of a reliable and credible source, unless otherwise hindered from doing so by a previously held presupposition.

There may be other justifications for holding a belief in a god that is rational, but these two, along with evidence, which has its own blog post are the three justifications for having a rational belief in the existence of God.  can you think of any others?  post them in the comments below.

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One response to “Other Justifications for a Rational Belief in God”

  1. Constance V. Walden says :

    It’s either we have a soul or are empty shells. If we believe we are empty shells, then why believe in God? But, if we recognize we are eternal souls that can live apart from the body, then we seek to find the Creator of both body and soul, knowing He is greater than ourselves and we are accountable to Him.

    Atheists believe they are empty shells with no accountability accept to self in this earthly life. To them, there is no sin. The existence of sin would make them accountable to someone higher than man…and they can’t have that. Thanks for sharing. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

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