Popular Reasons for Belief in God Scrutinized

In his new book, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, Guy Harrison presents the most popular justifications for belief in God—from people of various religious faiths—and then responds to each reason in order to reveal its weaknesses. “So long as people hate, kill, and fight against science in the name of gods, there will be an urgent need for more discussion about whether or not these gods are likely to even be real in the first place,” says Harrison, a journalist and science teacher. “Although the book is thorough and forceful,” he says, “I never let it drift into an attack on believers or take on a tone of arrogance.”

Some of the most popular reasons given for believing in a god:

  • “Anything is better than being an atheist.”
  • “I don’t want to go to hell.”
  • “My god answers prayers,”
  • “Science doesn’t explain everything.”
  • “Our world is too beautiful to be an accident.”

While some of the reasons may seem simplistic, says Harrison, they continue to work for billions of people around the world, making it important to address them seriously and skeptically even when they seem superficial. He also hopes to show that such beliefs aren’t necessary to live a moral and satisfying life. While he acknowledges that much good can come from religion, the intent of the book, Harrison says, is to show that there is an absence of good evidence for believing in any god and that “there is plenty of reason for doubt, certainly enough doubt to lead people to think twice before strapping bombs around their torsos, rejecting science, hating someone, or other such destructive behavior that may be tied to belief in gods.”
Michele Calandra

Category: Books

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