I started ‘COGNITIVE Faith’ for one main reason and that reason is; to share the evidence for God’s existence with humility and love, using philosophical arguments and scientific evidences. However, these are not the only ways people can come to know that God exists. I personally didn’t come to know God exists through this way. However, it did help to reinforce my belief in the existence of God. I grew up in South-West Nigeria in an environment that wasn’t a war ground like Syria but at the same time wasn’t a peace haven. A member of my family was brutally murdered. Kids my age at the time and even younger were kidnapped and killed for ritual purposes, I had seen and heard of people who died or even became severely mentally disordered mysteriously and many more stories. I am aware that for you the western reader this may all sound like science fiction and I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t believe it as well if someone just told me and I didn’t see it for myself. Growing up in a place like Nigeria sure guaranteed my belief in the supernatural. I had seen the evil side of the supernatural and there had to be a good side. That leads me to how I was brought up. I was brought up in Christian family with both my parents being devoted Christians. The effect this had on me was that, as my knowledge of the ‘evil supernatural’ grew as a child it reinforced my belief in the ‘good supernatural(GOD)’. As I grew older I began to study the evidence for Christianity and have found it so stark and compelling. And because of my love for God necessitating my love for human kind, I felt and still feel a compulsion to share this with as many people as possible. So without further ado, what are the different ways people can come to know God exists;
- Through Jesus Christ
The complete, definitive way of coming to know GOD exists is through Christ who was God in human form. He wasn’t a mythical character that was made up by a group of schizophrenic Jews. He was a real person who walked the earth over 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life and claimed to be God and the messiah, who would take the sins of the world upon himself (The evidence available backs up his claims). He was crucified, died and resurrected. This sounds like a Marvel comic story now doesn’t it? However, the evidence for the above statement is immense. This is the beauty of Christianity, with other religions it’s about feeble, imperfect humans vainly striving to please a perfect ‘God’ enough by doing more good deeds than bad deeds in order to off-set the balance, and ultimately earn a spot in eternity with God after death. While with Christianity we have a God who being perfectly JUST has to judge mankind for our bad deeds and also being perfectly loving reaches down to mankind. Knowing that we can never meet his standards of holiness in our imperfect state, he compassionately provides a way (through believe in Jesus Christ) to bridge that gap and allow for us to be in a right relationship with Him.
‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’- John 15:13
- Through reading the Bible
In the Bible, God’s unimaginable love and wisdom is displayed and this has and still touches the life of people today. The Bible tells of a God who loves you unconditionally, who you don’t owe anything because everything he’s done for mankind didn’t come with a price. A God who has endowed you with free will and asks that you freely decide to have a relationship with him. A relationship that provides an inner joy and peace beyond all compare.
- Through Nature
The magnificence of a waterfall, the beauty of sunrise and sunset, the power of the ocean tides, the grandeur of mountains, the diversity and complexity of life the uniqueness of humans, can and has caused people to come to the knowledge of the existence of God. Many people have looked at the cosmos and concluded from it that God exists, that God holds all power and that God works in order and harmony. Looking at God’s fabulous heavens made King David marvel that God even notices humans, who seem so insignificant next to God:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).
In addition to that, Romans 1:20 tells us that,
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
Finally, in the Bible Job questioned God. In reply, God described many of his wonders – and revealed his limitless authority and wisdom. Job was humbled by the exchange. You can read God’s “speech” in chapters 38-41 of the book of Job. Job realized and said:
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted…. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:2-3, 5).
- Through Art
Art also reveals God in so many diverse ways; music, paintings, dance, poetry etc. There is an old saying which I find quite interesting and I don’t know the author but it goes like this;
‘Bach gave us God’s Word, Mozart gave us God’s laughter, Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words.’
There is also an old African American Spiritual that says,
‘Over my head, I hear music in the air.
There must be a God somewhere’
Finally, a saying which holds no ground as logically proof for the existence of God speaking but holds beautifully in poetry. I think it goes like this;
‘I know God exists because Mozart does’
- Through our Conscience
At school I was thought that our conscience is the police of the mind (considering the corruption of some African police officers and the recent shootings of civilians by police officers in America, I’m not sure if that’s a good analogy anymore, haha). Conscience is the voice of God in man, it speaks in absolution, no ifs or buts. It serves as an umpire, which causes we as humans to view life situations in a moral or ethical light, thus determining some actions as “right” and some as “wrong.” Evidence of this innate sense of right and wrong is a general agreement in all cultures about certain basic ethical issues (e.g., murder, incest, pedophilia, lying, stealing, etc.)
- Through Reason
You can also come to know God exists by studying and reflecting on the science of nature and philosophical arguments.
‘Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth’- Pope John Paul II
- Through the love shown by followers of Christ
This is perhaps the most convincing, as Christians we are ‘little Christs’ so to say. By extending God’s love as commanded by God to every human being and by being the light in a so often dark world, serves as evidence of an ultimate goodness that lives within us- Christ. There are 66 books in the Bible. However, I believe there’s one more which is often overlooked. The original 66 books of Bible most people will never read, but the 67th is one read every day by most people and that book is you (the Christian). I ask that you be a good representation of the remaining 66 books, and let your life show the message of love displayed in the Bible. There will be times when we fail, and that’s fine as long as we give it our best shot every day while praying for strength to hold on.
Unfortunately, we Christians sometimes have family fights about these paths, and treat them as either/or instead of ‘and/also’. When in actual fact they all support each other, and nothing could be more wrong than treating them as rivals—for example, finding God in art versus finding God in nature, or reason versus experience. I believe that the process of someone becoming a Christian and staying one involves bits of each one, some ‘paths’ having a more profound effect than others on different people.
If you have neglected any of these ways, it would be an excellent idea to explore them. For instance, pray using great music. Or take a couple minutes in your so often busy day to reflect on your life experiences and God’s role in them. Read a great book to better meet and understand what God expects of you. Or study the scientific evidences and philosophical arguments for the existence of God with an open heart. If your heart sincerely seeks truth, I guarantee you will find it. Most importantly don’t forget to pray about it first. Even just a simple prayer like; ‘God if you truly are out there, and you are all-powerful and all-knowing, please reveal yourself to me’, would do.
Amongst the above listed include; through life experiences (both self and non-self) and sincere prayer and many more. Feel free to add to this list anyone you think I might have left out. There are more ways of finding and knowing God than any one essay can contain.