Over the years the question of proving the existence of God has come up in different contexts. At high school as a student, at university and as a religion teacher, ‘Can we prove that God exists?’ was a regularly occurring question.
In some ways these days, this is far less interesting to me than some of the other questions, partially because it does not speak to character. If I could prove the existence of God, have I told you anything interesting about God? Nothing that is nearly as interesting as ‘God is loving’.
However, one of the reasons it can be an interesting question is that it allows you to explore people’s ideas about ‘proof’ and ‘God’. How much evidence is enough? What would you consider evidence? What is your picture of God? As I said, it can become an interesting question with some collaborative digging.
I do wonder what would change if, in the face of radical doubt, the answer to the question was yes?
I think in some ways it would be harmful for a few reasons.
My experience is that those who have done the least work in struggling with the bigger questions in life can also be the same people who seem the least inclined towards compassion. Being completely certain in one area of life can lead people to feeling completely certain in others, perhaps wrongly so, and in that sense of self-righteousness they lose the ability to walk a mile in the shoes of someone wrestling with complexities and difficulties.
I would rather walk alongside a person who had questions about God, but lived a loving life, than walk alongside a person who was completely certain about God, but lived a life ignorant of the transformative power of love.Jump to next article