Hope to God

Common Ground for Unbelievers and Believers

by Larry Crocker

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I don’t think anything like the Jewish-Christian-Muslim God exists, but I hope I am wrong. Wouldn’t it be a plus for reality if there were a very powerful being who weaves purpose and order into the universe, cares about us, and might make better our long range future? Maybe heaven, after all? Such a God may or may not be supported by adequate evidence, but, however that may be, it is reasonable to hope, not just wish, that God exists.

The justification of hope is supported by some of the traditional arguments for the existence of God, even if those arguments are not good enough to prove God’s existence, and it is a justification not undermined by traditional arguments against God’s existence, even if those arguments are good enough to raise serious doubts. If you have some familiarity with the pro-God and anti-God arguments, you will find here new perspectives and criticisms.

What is the relevance for belief and for hope of: The fact that there is something rather than nothing? That physical reality can be described by elegant equations? That we are conscious? That it is now? That there are gaps in science? That the value of the charge of an electron is congenial to the formation of stars and human beings? That there are historical reports of miracles? That there were reports of medical miracles yesterday? That millions of people report experience of God? That most Christians would, had they been born in Riyadh, be as convinced of the exclusive truth of Islam, as they now are of Christianity? That the holocaust happened? That some infants suffer terrible diseases from birth? That religion has been at the root of wars, terrorism, and hate between neighbors?

Would your self survive a Star Trek transporter trip? With heaven so much better and of so much longer duration than the world, why should there be a world? Can atheists pray? Can hope be a backstop for believers with doubts? What is the relation of God to morality? How should the Supreme Court case about Mormon polygamy have been decided? What should be the attitude of atheists and agnostics towards religions and their adherents?

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Knowledge Elements

Reading Intent

Purpose: Opinion
Reader's Existing Knowledge: Intermediate
Target Audience Age/Stage of Life: Everyone (no target age)

Example Forms

Author's Personal Anecdotes: Some
Citations: Footnoted or linked in context
Examples and Case Studies: None
Exercises and Reader Questions: No questions or exercises

Writing Style

Humor: Just a bit of fun or humor
Narrative: First person


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About the author

Larry Crocker

LAWRENCE CROCKER received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard, and taught philosophy, including the philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and logic, at the University of Washington and Dartmouth. With a law degree from Duke, he litigated corporate and air crash cases, prosecuted and defended criminals and taught law at NYU School of Law. He lives in New Hampshire and Ontario where he skis, hikes, and paddles.