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Jun 20, 2016
Presented by
Peter Kreeft

Even if you don't believe in God, do you wish you did? Even if you're an atheist or an agnostic, is there still good reason to act religiously? Peter Kreeft, philosophy professor at Boston College, explains why even atheists should want there to be a God, and how acting as if there is one may actually lead to you believing it.

If God exists, then the world didn’t just evolve by chance, but by deliberate design—and that means you are not an accident. 

  • Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft underscores that the clear evidence of design in the universe points to a “universal designer” – God, the Creator.View Source
  • If the universe had a beginning, which most scientists agree it did, there must be a “first cause,” or Creator.View Source
  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • Related reading: The Catholic Church on God the Creator.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on the rationality of belief.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on God vs. Atheism: Which Is More Rational?View Source
  • Related reading: Handbook of Christian Apologetics – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code – Dennis PragerView Source

If there’s no God, morality is just a bunch of rules we make up. But the truth is, we all know in our hearts good and evil exist.  

  • Good and evil only have meaning if God exists. If morality is left to man to determine, the notion of objective morality collapses.View Source
  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning, including moral truths – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on God as the source of all morality.View Source
  • Related reading: Can We Be Good Without God? – William Lane CraigView Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code – Dennis PragerView Source

Studies show that highly religious people are generally happier, more involved with their families, and more generous. 

  • Research by the Pew Research Center shows that highly religious people are more involved with their families and report higher life satisfaction. Pew also found that 65% of highly religious Americans donate money to charity, compared to 41% of less religious Americans.View Source
  • Research shows that 45% of people who attend a weekly religious service report being “very happy,” compared to only 28% of those who never attend a religious service.View Source
  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on the rationality of belief.View Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source

If there’s no God, life’s a meaningless game. But if God exists, we’re living in a grand, epic story—and all have a role to play.

  • Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft underscores that the clear evidence of design in the universe points to a “universal designer” – God, the Creator.View Source
  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • Related reading: The Catholic Church on God the Creator.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on the rationality of belief.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on God vs. Atheism: Which Is More Rational?View Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code – Dennis PragerView Source

God deliberately doesn’t give us absolute proof of His existence so that we’re free to choose or not to choose to believe in Him.

  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on the rationality of belief.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on God vs. Atheism: Which Is More Rational?View Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source

If God exists, the presence of evil, hard as it is to accept, makes sense: God granting mankind free will means mankind can do evil. 

  • Ethical monotheism provides an explanation for the existence of evil: it stems from God granting mankind free will. If God exists, then the suffering experienced because of evil can work to the good of mankind.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on God as the source of all morality.View Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Can We Be Good Without God? – William Lane CraigView Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: The Ten Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code – Dennis PragerView Source

If you choose to live as if there is a God—even if you are not sure there is a God—you lose nothing and you gain everything.

  • Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft on the benefits of belief: “Why would anyone not wish that life has some ultimate purpose; that good and evil are real; that there is ultimate justice; that our love for others means something? If you choose to live as if there is a God—even if you are not sure there is a God—you lose nothing and you gain everything.”View Source
  • As Christian philosopher Pascal concluded in his famous “wager” argument, between atheism and faith, the best bet is belief in God – where “if you lose, you lose nothing,” but if you “win,” you gain truth, happiness, and eternity.View Source
  • An essential part of mankind’s design is the search for truth and meaning – a search only fully satisfied in God.View Source
  • WATCH: Peter Kreeft on the rationality of belief.View Source
  • Related reading: Making Sense Out of Suffering – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Christianity for Modern Pagans – Peter KreeftView Source
  • Related reading: Handbook of Christian Apologetics – Peter KreeftView Source

In this Prager University course, I want to focus not on the evidence for God’s existence, but on the benefits of belief.

If God exists, then the world didn't just evolve by chance, but by deliberate design. There's an Artist behind this incredible work of art—this big and beautiful world.

If God exists, we're living in a great story, an epic like "The Lord of the Rings," with real heroes and heroic tasks. Ultimately, all the twists and turns of this epic narrative will be paid off, everything will make sense. It will even have a happy ending, not necessarily, or even likely, in our own lifetime—even Moses didn’t get into the Promised Land—but over the grand course of time in an afterlife, which exists as surely as God exists.

If God exists, the presence of evil, hard as it is to accept, makes sense. God allows it for a reason—namely, to preserve our free will. And God will reconcile all injustices in the end. If there is no God, life is one big crapshoot.

If God does exist, morality is a real, objective feature of the world. If there is no God, morality is just the rules we make up for this little game of life we play.

If God exists, love is the nature of an eternal reality. If there is no God, love is just a fleeting feeling, no more than a bunch of chemical and neurological interactions.

If God exists, you are of infinite value. He knows you as a parent knows his child. He’s accessible to you. If there is no God, each of us is as insignificant as a rock on an unknown planet.

If God exists, death is conquered because if there is a God there is a reality outside of space and time. If there is no God, there is nothing immortal, and all the good things in life are destroyed forever. You, and everyone you love, and everything you think matters are all consigned to oblivion. If there is no God, life is pointless. Everything we’ve done and lived for will ultimately be in vain.

Can I prove with an absolute certainty that God exists? I can make the case that overwhelming evidence suggests that he does. But no I can’t prove that He exists with absolute certainty. That’s likely part of His plan. God deliberately doesn't give us absolute proof so that we're free to choose or not to choose to believe in Him.

So which way do you want to go?

Be honest. Doesn't your heart at least hope that there is a good God, a transcendent Validator of love and all the highest human values? Of course it does. Why would anyone not wish that life has some ultimate purpose; that good and evil are real; that there is ultimate justice; that our love for others means something?

If you choose to live as if there is a God—even if you are not sure there is a God—you lose nothing and you gain everything.

Religious Christians and Jews are happier, live longer, and are more charitable than their less observant or secular fellow citizens. These are not my opinions. These are the findings of a multitude of scientific studies.

If you have been an atheist for a while, it may be difficult for you to change your thinking, even if you find some merit in the many rational arguments for God’s existence. But you can change your behavior. You can live as if God’s exists, even if you hold doubts. Why not? As I said, you lose nothing and you have everything to gain.

This behavioral approach is far from new. The Jews have long had a saying, “We will do, and we will understand,” which acknowledges that action often precedes understanding. So why not begin with an action? Why not pray the prayer of the skeptic? "God, if you exist, you must know that I'm not a believer.

So, please, God, give me the gift of faith, in your time and in your way. I want to believe whatever is true. Amen.” If you say that and mean it, and give it some time, be prepared, because He will not ignore that prayer.

Go on, say it. Find a private place and say it. Your Creator is listening.

I’m Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, for Prager University.

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