Years ago I realized that everything I believed about God I learned secondhand. It had never occurred to me until a co-worker mentioned it that the Bible might not be the inspired Word of God. Maybe I had just gotten caught up in Christianity because I spent so much time around Christians. Maybe in their enthusiasm the Biblical authors exaggerated and embellished events. I’m sure their intentions were good. Maybe they were just writing down what they themselves heard secondhand.
My ideas about belief have changed. These days I’m less inclined to believe that belief is a free choice. I didn’t choose to believe that Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. It was presented to me as fact and I believed it. I saw photos and videos. I heard the “One Small Step” audio recording. It never occurred to me that it might be fake. I later heard the conspiracy theories about a faked Moon landing but I’m not convinced it was fake.
I’m not sure what would boost my confidence in God’s existence. I suppose if God spoke to me in some small way that would do it. I realize God, if it exists, is in no way obligated to do anything to convince me of its existence. But there are many unremarkable things that I believe in. It doesn’t require much. Is it unreasonable for me to first experience something with one of my senses before I believe in it? Of course, I’ve never been to Borneo, but I believe it exists. I’ve heard stories about quarks and bosons, but they sound incredible. Until scientists have a way of demonstrating to laypeople that quarks are real, my confidence in their existence will remain at a level below that of Borneo.
Things like Borneo and bosons are purported to be physical. I have much experience with physical objects. God is allegedly not physical. It is said that God is timeless, massless and invisible. That is outside my experience, much harder to swallow.