Holy Day vs Holiday
Holy Days: How you define "Holy" will determine which days are "holy" for you and which are wholly for God.
People often define "holy days" in arguement or protest against something of some "feeling" they have against society, religion, the world, or some hidden sin they have inside. Puritanism, Inquisitions, Orthodoxy and even modern conservatism all have used "knee jerk" reactions to combat what they "feel" is a loss of Holiness, whihc has nithiung to do with Holy Days.
Holy Days are Holy Days because God said so.
Holidays: Holidays are defined by the middle word in them. "I". That is what a holiday is about if you recognize they are derived from some form of celebration that involves you. Holidays are waht you make of them and are NEVER to be misconstrued as "HOLY". They aren't. They are holidays.
The war of ethics and morays of society wage endless battles when the two try to mix. Neither are wrong, neither are right. They exist independent of each other and the person participating in them detemines for themselves the personal valuation of each.
The humor is God uses both.
The funnier than that:
God uses you.
What you do is up to you.
"Just the Facts"
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome, and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.
No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.
In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feastday of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: "Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14." The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan (Malta) where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Second Vatican Council calendar.
The Early Medieval acta of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea. According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.
Since Legenda Aurea still provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore has been embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail.
There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend, provided by American Greetings to History.com, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."
Chaucer's love birds
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that in the liturgical calendar, May 2 is the saints' day for Valentine of Genoa. This St. Valentine was an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.
Chaucer's Parliament of Foules is set in a fictional context of an old tradition, but in fact there was no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, "the idea that Valentine's Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present"
Medieval period and the English Renaissance
Using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a "High Court of Love" was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading. The earliest surviving valentine is a 15th-century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife, which commences.
Je suis desja d'amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée...—Charles d'Orléans, Rondeau VI, lines 1–2 
Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600–1601):
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.—William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
John Donne used the legend of the marriage of the birds as the starting point for his Epithalamion celebrating the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England, and Frederick V, Elector Palatine on Valentine's Day:
Hayle Bishop Valentine whose day this is
All the Ayre is thy Diocese
And all the chirping Queristers
And other birds ar thy parishioners
Thou marryest every yeare
The Lyrick Lark, and the graue whispering Doue,
The Sparrow that neglects his life for loue,
The houshold bird with the redd stomacher
Thou makst the Blackbird speede as soone,
As doth the Goldfinch, or the Halcyon
The Husband Cock lookes out and soone is spedd
And meets his wife, which brings her feather-bed.
This day more cheerfully than ever shine
This day which might inflame thy selfe old Valentine.—John Donne, Epithalamion Vpon Frederick Count Palatine and the Lady Elizabeth marryed on St. Valentines day
She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.
The modern cliché Valentine's Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784):
The rose is red, the violet's blue
The honey's sweet, and so are you
Thou are my love and I am thine
I drew thee to my Valentine
The lot was cast and then I drew
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called “mechanical valentines,” and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. That, in turn, made it possible for the first time to exchange cards anonymously, which is taken as the reason for the sudden appearance of racy verse in an era otherwise prudishly Victorian.
Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. In the UK, just under half the population spend money on their Valentines and around 1.3 billion pounds is spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent. The reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt. As a writer in Graham's American Monthly observed in 1849, "Saint Valentine's Day... is becoming, nay it has become, a national holyday." In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Her father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English Valentine she had received from a business associate of her father. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. The English practice of sending Valentine's cards was established enough to feature as a plot device in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mr. Harrison's Confessions (1851): "I burst in with my explanations: '"The valentine I know nothing about." '"It is in your handwriting," said he coldly. Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual "Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary."
Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The mid-19th century Valentine's Day trade was a harbinger of further commercialized holidays in the United States to follow.
In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets. The greeting cards of these students sometimes mention what they appreciate about each other.
The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.
In the West
|Part of a series on love|
|Philosophy of love|
|Types of emotion|
While sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts is traditional in the UK, Valentine's Day has various regional customs. In Norfolk, a character called 'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. In Wales, many people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day) on January 25 instead of (or as well as) Valentine's Day. The day commemorates St Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. In France, a traditionally Catholic country, Valentine's Day is known simply as "Saint Valentin", and is celebrated in much the same way as other western countries. In Spain Valentine's Day is known as "San Valentín" and is celebrated the same way as in the UK, although in Catalonia it is largely superseded by similar festivities of rose and/or book giving on La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George's Day). In Portugal it is more commonly referred to as "Dia dos Namorados" (Lover's Day / Day of those that are in love with each other).
In Denmark and Norway, Valentine's Day (14 Feb) is known as Valentinsdag. It is not celebrated to a large extent, but is largely imported from American culture, and some people take time to eat a romantic dinner with their partner, to send a card to a secret love or give a red rose to their loved one. The flower industry in particular is still working on promoting the holiday. In Sweden it is called Alla hjärtans dag ("All Hearts' Day") and was launched in the 1960s by the flower industry's commercial interests, and due to the influence of American culture. It is not an official holiday, but its celebration is recognized and sales of cosmetics and flowers for this holiday are only exceeded by those for Mother's Day.
In Finland Valentine's Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into "Friend's day". As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering all your friends, not only your loved ones. In Estonia Valentine's Day is called Sõbrapäev, which has the same meaning.
In Slovenia, a proverb says that "St Valentine brings the keys of roots," so on February 14, plants and flowers start to grow. Valentine's Day has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. Nevertheless, it has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. The day of love is traditionally March 12, the Saint Gregory's day. Another proverb says "Valentin – prvi spomladin" ("Valentine — first saint of spring"), as in some places (especially White Carniola) Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring.
In Romania, the traditional holiday for lovers is Dragobete, which is celebrated on February 24. It is named after a character from Romanian folklore who was supposed to be the son of Baba Dochia. Part of his name is the word drag ("dear"), which can also be found in the word dragoste ("love"). In recent years, Romania has also started celebrating Valentine's Day, despite already having Dragobete as a traditional holiday. This has drawn backlash from many groups, reputable persons and institutions but also nationalist organizations like Noua Dreaptǎ, who condemn Valentine's Day for being superficial, commercialist and imported Western kitsch.
Valentine's Day is called Sevgililer Günü in Turkey, which translates into "Sweethearts' Day".
According to Jewish tradition the 15th day of the month of Av – Tu B'Av (usually late August) is the festival of love. In ancient times girls would wear white dresses and dance in the vineyards, where the boys would be waiting for them (Mishna Taanith end of Chapter 4). In modern Israeli culture this is a popular day to pronounce love, propose marriage and give gifts like cards or flowers.
Mexico, Central and South America
In some Latin American countries Valentine's Day is known as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). For example Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, as well others. Although it is similar to the United States' version in many ways, it is also common to see people do "acts of appreciation" for their friends.
In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (lit. "Day of the Enamored", or "Boyfriends'/Girlfriends' Day") is celebrated on June 12, when couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and flower bouquets. This day was chosen probably because it is the day before the Festa junina (Saint Anthony's day), known there as the marriage saint, when traditionally many single women perform popular rituals, called simpatias, in order to find a good husband or boyfriend. The February 14's Valentine's Day is not celebrated at all, mainly for cultural and commercial reasons, since it usually falls too little before or after Carnival, a major floating holiday in Brazil — long regarded as a holiday of sex and debauchery by many in the country — that can fall anywhere from early February to early March.
In Venezuela, in 2009, President Hugo Chávez said in a meeting to his supporters for the upcoming referendum vote on February 15, that "since on the 14th, there will be no time of doing nothing, nothing or next to nothing ... maybe a little kiss or something very superficial", he recommended people to celebrate a week of love after the referendum vote.
In most of South America the Día del amor y la amistad and the Amigo secreto ("Secret friend") are quite popular and usually celebrated together on the 14 of February (one exception is Colombia, where it is celebrated every third Saturday of September). The latter consists of randomly assigning to each participant a recipient who is to be given an anonymous gift (similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa).
In South Korea, similar to Japan, women give chocolate to men on February 14, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on March 14 (White Day). On April 14 (Black Day), those who did not receive anything on the 14th of Feb or March go to a Chinese restaurant to eat black noodles (자장면 jajangmyeon) and "mourn" their single life. Koreans also celebrate Pepero Day on November 11, when young couples give each other Pepero cookies. The date '11/11' is intended to resemble the long shape of the cookie. The 14th of every month marks a love-related day in Korea, although most of them are obscure. From January to December: Candle Day, Valentine's Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day. Korean women give a much higher amount of chocolate than Japanese women.
In China, the common situation is the man gives chocolate, flowers or both to the woman that he loves. In Chinese, Valentine's Day is called (simplified Chinese: 情人节; traditional Chinese: 情人節; pinyin: qíng rén jié). Traditional Chinese Valentine's day is called "qixi" in pinyin, and is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, commemorating a fabled day on which the cowherder and weaving maid are allowed to be together. Modern Valentines day is also celebrated on February 14 of the solar calendar each year.
In the Philippines, Valentine's Day is called "Araw ng mga Puso" or "Hearts Day". It is usually marked by a steep increase in the prices of flowers.
In Japan, Morozoff Ltd. introduced the holiday for the first time in 1936, when it ran an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953 it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed suit thereafter. In 1958 the Isetan department store ran a "Valentine sale". Further campaigns during the 1960s popularized the custom.
The custom that only women give chocolates to men appears to have originated from the typo of a chocolate-company executive during the initial campaigns. In particular, office ladies give chocolate to their co-workers. Unlike western countries, gifts such as greeting cards, candies, flowers, or dinner dates are uncommon, and most of the activity about the gifts is about giving the right amount of chocolate to each person. Japanese chocolate companies make half their annual sales during this time of the year.
Many women feel obliged to give chocolates to all male co-workers, except when the 14th falls on a Sunday, a holiday. This is known as giri-choko (義理チョコ), from giri ("obligation") and choko, ("chocolate"), with unpopular co-workers receiving only "ultra-obligatory" chō-giri choko cheap chocolate. This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命チョコ, Favorite chocolate); chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (友チョコ); from tomo meaning "friend".
In the 1980s the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association launched a successful campaign to make March 14 a "reply day", where men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day, calling it White Day for the color of the chocolates being offered. A previous failed attempt to popularize this celebration had been done by a marshmallow manufacturer who wanted men to return marshmallows to women.
Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gifts received in Valentine's Day. Not returning the gift is perceived as the men placing himself in a position of superiority, even if excuses are given. Returning a present of equal value is considered as a way to say that you are cutting the relationship. Originally only chocolate was given, but now the gifts of jewelry, accessories, clothing and lingerie are usual. According to the official website of White Day, the color white was chosen because it's the color of purity, evoking "pure, sweet teen love", and because it's also the color of sugar. The initial name was "Ai ni Kotaeru White Day" (Answer Love on White Day).
In a 2006 survey of people between 10 and 49 years of age in Japan, Oricon Style found the 1986 Sayuri Kokushō single, Valentine Kiss, to be the most popular Valentine's Day song, even though it sold only 317,000 copies. The singles it beat in the ranking were number one selling Love Love Love from Dreams Come True (2,488,630 copies), Valentine's Radio from Yumi Matsutoya (1,606,780 copies), Happy Happy Greeting from the Kinki Kids (608,790 copies). The final song in the top five was My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis.
Similar Asian traditions
In Chinese culture, there is an older observance related to lovers, called "The Night of Sevens" (Chinese: 七夕; pinyin: Qi Xi). According to the legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the milky way (silvery river) but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar.
In Japan, a slightly different version of 七夕 called Tanabata has been celebrated for centuries, on July 7 (Gregorian calendar). It has been considered by Westerners as similar to St. Valentine's Day, but it's not related to it, and its origins are completely different.
In India, in the antiquity, there was a tradition of adoring Kamadev, the lord of love; exemplificated by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments and by the writing of the Kamasutra treaty of lovemaking. This tradition was lost around the Middle Ages, when Kamadev was no longer celebrated, and public displays of sexual affections became frowned upon. Around 1992 Valentine's Day started catching in India, with special TV and radio programs, and even love letter competitions. The economic liberation also helped the Valentine card industry.
In modern times, Hindu and Islamic traditionalists consider the holiday to be cultural contamination from the West, result of the globalization in India. Shiv Sena and the Sangh Parivar have asked their followers to shun the holiday and the "public admission of love" because of them being "alien to Indian culture". These protests are organized by political elites, but the protesters themselves are middle-class Hindu men who fear that the globalization will destroy the traditions in his society: arranged marriages, hindu joint families, full-time mothers (see Housewife#India), etc.
Despite these obstacles, valentine's day is becoming increasingly popular in India.
However, leftist and liberal critiques of Valentine's day remain strong in India. Valentine's Day has been strongly criticized from a postcolonial perspective by intellectuals from the Indian left . The holiday is regarded as a front for Western imperialism, neocolonialism, and the exploitation of working classes through commercialism by multinational corporations. Studies have shown that Valentine's day promotes and exacerbates income inequality in India, and aids in the creation of a pseudo-westernized middle class. As a result, the working classes and rural poor become more disconnected socially, politically, and geographically from the hegemonic capitalist power structure. They also criticize mainstream media attacks on Indians opposed to valentine's day as a form of demonization that is designed and derived to further the valentine's day agenda.
In Egypt, Egyptians celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, and the indigenous Eid el-Hob el-Masri (Egyptian Love Day) on November 4, to buy gifts,and flowers for their lovers. It has been recorded on the February 14th, 2006 flower movement in the country, worth six million pounds, formed a gain of 10 per-cent of the total annual sale of flowers.
In Iran, the Sepandarmazgan, or Esfandegan, is an age-old traditional celebration of love, friendship and Earth. It has nothing in common with the Saint Valentine celebration, except for a superficial similarity in giving affection and gifts to loved ones, and its origins and motivations are completely unrelated. It has been progressively forgotten in favor of the Western celebration of Valentine's Day. The Association of Iran's Cultural and Natural Phenomena has been trying since 2006 to make Sepandarmazgan a national holiday on 17 February, in order to replace the Western holiday.
In Israel, the Tu B'Av, is considered to be the Jewish Valentine's Day following the ancient traditions of courtship on this day. Today, this is celebrated as a second holiday of love by secular people (besides Saint Valentine's Day), and shares many of the customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day in western societies.
Conflict with Islamic countries and political parties
In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine's Day items, telling shop workers to remove any red items, as the day is considered a Christian holiday. In 2008 this ban created a black market of roses and wrapping paper.
The Jamaat-e-Islami political party has called for the banning of the holiday. Despite this, the celebration is increasingly popular and the florists expect to sell great amount of flowers, especially red roses.
In the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine's Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by conservatives who see the celebrations as opposed to Islamic culture. In 2011, the Iranian printing works owners' union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution of any goods promoting the holiday, including cards, gifts and teddy bears. "Printing and producing any goods related to this day including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned... Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with," the union warned.
Islamic officials in Malaysia warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine's Day, linking it with vice activities. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" for Muslims. Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which oversees the country's Islamic policies said a fatwa (ruling) issued by the country's top clerics in 2005 noted the day 'is associated with elements of Christianity,' and 'we just cannot get involved with other religion's worshipping rituals.' Jakim officials plan to carry out a nationwide campaign called "Awas Jerat Valentine's Day"("Mind the Valentine's Day Trap"), aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating the day on 14 February 2011. Activities include conducting raids in hotels to stop young couples from having unlawful sex and distributing leaflets to Muslim University students warning them against the day.[74
Does God Exist?
Does God Exist - The Big Questions
Does God exist? An answer to this fundamental question is a prerequisite for answering the other big questions of life: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Do we serve a purpose? Do we have any intrinsic value? What happens after we die? The question of the existence of God is fundamental.
Does God Exist - A Philosophical Issue
Before we ask the question "Does God exist?" we first have to deal with our philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be no supernatural God), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. Asking the question "does God exist?" would be pointless. My answer would be "No, He doesn't," regardless of whether God truly exists or not. The question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist! Dr. Richard Lewontin, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University, put it like this: "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door" (Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 28). If, on the other hand, I were neutral, and didn't already have an "a priori adherence" to a particular worldview (be it naturalistic or otherwise), the question "does God really exist?" wouldn't be pointless at all. Rather, it would be the first step in an objective and meaningful search for ultimate truth. Our willingness to ask the question with an open mind is fundamental to our ability to discover the truth behind the answer. So first of all, before you even ask the question, decide whether or not you're really willing to accept the answer.
Does God Exist - Things to Consider
Once you're ready to ask the question, "does God exist?" here are a few observations to consider as you begin your search for an objective answer:
- Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation.
- Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.
- Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are astronomical. In fact, scientists aren't even sure if life could have evolved naturally via unintelligent processes. If life did not arise by chance, how did it arise?
- The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve?
- Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Who gave you your conscience? Why does it exist?
- People of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the ignorant, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, prophetic revelation, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?
If your curiosity has been piqued and you desire to look into this matter further, we recommend that you consider the world's assortment of so-called Holy Books. If God does exist, has He revealed Himself? And if He has revealed Himself, surely He exists...
Has anyone ever seen God? According to the accounts of the Bible, no one has ever looked on God’s face, for God Himself says “But, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). It is not only for the sinful man that He says this but also for the believers in Jesus Christ. Moses asked this of God and God answered that He would show him His Glory. The Hebrew word for glory in this verse is ‘Kabowd’ meaning the culmination of God’s goodness and sovereignty. Can this Divine Spirit be seen as men see each other? Our eyes are not created to see the spiritual things of this world. Our bodies cannot withstand to behold the awesomeness of God. Surely the Creator who made the whole universe is beyond our ability to envision. Has anyone ever seen the Image of God? God has revealed Himself to many of the Old Testament characters but in diverse manifestations: Adam, Gen 3:8-21; Jacob, at Bethel in Genesis 35:7, 9; Abraham, Gen 18:2-33; Israel in Judges 2:1-5; Gideon in Judges 6:11-24; Solomon in 1 Kings 3:5, Isaiah 6:1-5, Ezekiel 1:26-28. In Numbers 12:8, God speaks of Moses saying, “With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.” Moses saw God as much as he was able with earthly eyes. Paul states in the New Testament, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV). Our human limitations will be transformed when we enter the Kingdom of heaven if we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Then, we shall see God.
How can we know if God exists? Is it possible for a finite mind to know if God exists? There are three main arguments that theists (those who believe in God) use to demonstrate the existence of God. They are the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument. The Cosmological Argument This is an argument from creation to a Creator. The term comes from the Greek word, cosmos, meaning “universe.” The argument itself is dependent on the law of causality that says every finite thing is caused by something other than itself. The cosmological argument can be summarized as follows:
- The universe had a beginning.
- Anything that had a beginning must have been caused by something else.
- Therefore the universe was caused by something else (a Creator).
There is a wealth of scientific evidence supporting the first premise. The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed, isolated system the amount of usable energy is continually decreasing. As a closed system, the universe started with a finite amount of usable energy, and it is running from order toward disorder. Since the universe still has usable energy remaining, it cannot be eternal, or it would have ran out of usable energy long ago. Astronomy has given much evidence that the universe had a beginning. The posits that the universe exploded into existence and is now expanding. This idea is supported by the Doppler “red shift” observed in light throughout the universe as galaxies move away from one another. A radiation echo that produced the exact pattern of wavelengths expected from a great explosion was also discovered. Additionally, astronomers have found a great mass of energy that would be expected from the initial explosion. As science continues to provide evidence that the universe had a beginning, we are left with two possibilities. Either no one created something out of nothing, or someone created something out of nothing. Which option is more reasonable? The Teleological Argument The term “teleological” comes from the Greek word, telos, meaning “purpose.” This argument reasons from design to an intelligent Designer. It can be stated as follows:
- All designs imply a designer.
- There is great design in the universe.
- Therefore there must be a Great Designer of the universe.
From our experience, we know that natural causes never produce specified complex systems, such as books, symphonies, or cars. We know that natural causes of wind and water produced the Grand Canyon, but we would never say that wind and water naturally produced Mount Rushmore. Watches imply a watchmaker, buildings imply an architect, and books imply an author. The design in these things is obvious, and we conclude a designer. Astronomer Carl Sagan wrote that the amount of information in the human brain expressed by the total number of neuron connections would be equivalent to 20 million books. He stated that “the neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans.” If even computers require a human designer, then does the human brain not need an even more intelligent designer? The Moral Argument The moral argument reasons from a moral law to a Moral Law Giver. The argument can be outlined:
- Moral laws imply a Moral Law Giver.
- There is an objective moral law.
- Therefore there is a Moral Law Giver.
The second premise is the keystone in the argument, without which it falls apart. How do we know there is an objective moral law? Terms like “injustice” or “wrong” imply that there is some objective standard of comparison to which the terms refer. Without a moral standard, there would be no moral difference between Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa. To say Hitler was wrong would merely be an opinion that has no real basis for others to agree with it. If Hitler was wrong by an objective standard, then there must be a standard beyond all of us. If there is such an objective moral law then there must be a Moral Law Giver (God). How Can We Really Know? Ultimately, these arguments will only convince someone who is willing to accept the possibility of God’s existence. To come to that place you have to examine your presuppositions, or what assumptions you have. When you are intellectually honest with yourself then you are ready to consider the evidence.
Is there any proof that God exists? Is there any proof that God exists? Whenever this question comes up, I am always reminded of Thomas in the Bible who would not believe that Jesus was alive until he could touch Him. That is the same analogy many people use today when it comes to answering the question “Is there any proof that God exists?” They want physical proof for something that must be taken on faith value. It takes greater faith to believe that an unseen God exists than it does to just dismiss Him because you cannot physically confirm that He is there. For those who deal in evidence there is proof all around you and inside of you that God does exist. Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look around. When most people look at the world around them, they see only the trees; they do not see the forest that is there. It should be obvious that God exists because of His creation, not only us humans, but the world we live in, the galaxy that world is in, and the universe that the galaxy is in. Our universe contains too much order for our existence to have been created out of chaos. We are complex beyond our imaginations and when you look at such a complexity, you see God and His creation. Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look inside yourself. Most people fail to look inside themselves for God. Instead, they look to their surroundings and conclude that since the world is such a mess, God must not be there, if He ever existed at all. They forget that since God created us, we bear His fingerprints and those fingerprints point to His existence. First, we are all born with an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong. Even a young child knows that when they misbehave they are doing something that goes against their parents’ wishes. The knowledge of good and evil comes from God. It was put there to keep us in balance and to allow us to understand why we need to come to God for forgiveness. Second, we have a desire to seek love. Our whole life is spent trying to fill a gap that exists in our souls; a gap that only be filled by the love of God. No matter what we do to try and fill this gap -- money drugs, alcohol, sex, possessions -- the hole will never be filled until we turn back to God and accept His Son as our Savior and Lord. These are only two of the inward feelings that should tell us that we are more than just some random mistake of nature; that we are created, that a real God that created us, and that He is still there watching over us. Is there any proof that God exists? Take a good look at His Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do is take a good look at the life of Jesus to see that He was a man, but more than a man, He was God. When was the last time you saw a man walk on water, calm a storm, or make a man rise from the dead? Even Jesus Himself conquered death and rose again to ascend to Heaven. Think about the impact that Jesus has had on this world from the very moment of His birth; the way His life, death and resurrection have shaped world history, changed lives, and healed souls. No mere man could do this so we must say as the Roman soldier did at His crucifixion, “Surely this is the Son of God.” Philosophy says that our existence is based on that which we perceive existence to be. It is even suggested that maybe we do not exist as we think we do here, but on a different plane of reasoning not yet known to us. As God’s creation, we know God is real; all we have to do is take a good look.
Is there evidence God exists? The question of whether or not God exists has far reaching implications. If such a creator exists, new questions arise such as, ‘why did He create us?’ Because the discussion of these implications is entrenched in questionable ideology to most, the initial premise of God’s existence is dismissed out of hand. So the notion that there is no proof for God’s existence becomes prevalent in an ungodly society. Of course such a notion is mistaken. Philosophical arguments to prove God exists are woefully ignored. Consider Saint Thomas Aquinas’ argument on motion. Motion Exists. Motion can only be caused by other forms of motion. If you go back far enough you will find a primary unmoved mover. This is God. The Cosmological argument is another simple argument. We know that everything that exists has a cause related to its existence. We know that the universe exists. Because it is exists it must have an uncaused cause. The uncreated cause is God. Both of these arguments are dependant upon the universe having a beginning. If the universe is infinite, then a primary mover -- a creator -- has no place. However modern cosmology has determined the universe does have a beginning. The laws of thermodynamics have determined this. According to the , we are running out of working energy. It’s obvious that things wear down. If the universe were infinite then we would have run out by now. The universe is drifting toward disorder. The question of how it became so remarkably ordered in the first place also points to God. As William Paley would suggest, if you see a rock on a beach you wouldn’t know how it got there. If you see a watch there you would know it has a designer because of the complexity and order of the watch. We can know God exists from the order and complexity of the universe. We can see remarkable order in physics. The law of gravity is perfectly fine-tuned to support the existence of life. The combinations of physical constants in our universe are perfectly set for the existence of life. Since an infinite number of combinations and values for the physical constants in our universe are plausible, we can safely assume someone set the conditions for life. And we know that it wasn’t aliens from the planet Zork from the 5th universe that set these conditions, as this would only transfer the problem to the planet Zork, who would require a cause. God is, by definition, that which is uncaused. Finally we find that human beings have an inward sense of morality. This presupposes an absolute value and standard to which we make comparisons, and this is God. This is how we apply natural law, and these values of right and wrong were written upon the hearts of men so that those who knew not the law were able to abide by the law. The one who wrote this knowledge of right and wrong on the hearts of men is God.