which is acknowledging the existence of Personal God and a God which somehow revealed Himself to humans carries with it a total picture of the nature of man , his existential situation and his living relationship with the living God. The most essential aspect of religion is the fact that it transforms not only human beings , the mode of living in time and space but also has implications for eternity . Humans are very much aware of the transitoriness of life and life's direction into the mystery of eternity . It is only in religion where humans can get direction and assurance of meaning of existence. Those fundamental questions have somehow to be faced by every normally developed human being . However we meet quite often people who do not show any serious interest in such questions and also those who are positively hostile to any implications of transcendent religious beliefs. Human beings are free to think their own way, to live in their own way and even to choose suicidal negation of life. The ways human beings relate to the existence of God and religion depend on many factors of their lives, the circumstances into which they are born and quite often have to live in , their mental development, their emotional balance or luck of it, as well as their destructive forces somehow inscribed in their nature like hatefulness desire to destroy and kill, irrational self-adoration, and even mental collapse. Perhaps the root of human misery is the irrational conviction that man does not need God and does not want to acknowledge the transcendent character of God's will for man . Another reason for atheistic thinking is the lack of courage to think for oneself and to be different even if many others have their own other views. It seems easy to become a passive obedient conformist to the impersonal pressure of the many and the imposed ways of living structure of the society into which one is born and even accept unexamined religious beliefs . Thinking is by no means an easy way of finding one's place within the context of the universe . It is important to remember also that effective thinking requires ability to think logically in order to arrive to true conclusions. Of course all humans have a mind to think with but there are other desires inscribed in human nature and passions which very often are more powerful than reflection and thought .
In modern times since few centuries there developed a new method of inquiry into nature : science is this method and the explosions of scientific accomplishment in very many areas of human concern are admirable and beyond any criticism . We are living surrounded by many things and gadgets every day to such an extent that we hardly notice how much our lives are different from those of our ancestors. No wonder therefore that scientists of today receive respect and are given complete trust without any hesitation. Many people accept uncritically almost any facts or theories as long as they have the label scientifically-proven.
However science is basically an attempt to submit all forces of nature for service of human projects. Science is dealing only with so called facts and is completely neutral to values , meaning or the ultimate questions of the human mind . Science therefore is not and cannot be hostile to religious beliefs. Why?. Because as already pointed out it's concern is only with facts and nothing but facts. In itself science is not philosophy but only a gradual and piecemeal discovery of different various phenomena of nature. Any claim that science replaces God or makes God obsolete, as some people like to claim, is based on misunderstanding. Contemporary science whether we talk about modern physics, astronomy , paleontology, biology or even psychology and psychiatry is not in any way against religious beliefs. As a matter of fact it contributes immensely to such beliefs. Such scientific theories like the big bang theory (the beginning of the cosmos) the theory of the expanding universe or the biological theory of evolution of life are only broadening the human understanding of the existential situation in which man finds himself. It is only when science is turned into philosophy, that it may become inimical to religious beliefs. The atheistic attitude in philosophy leads to skepticism, scientific reductionism and materialism. It is essential to remember that scientific theories are never final or absolute. There always exists the possibility of a new discovery and replacement of already accepted theory with another more comprehensive and more universal. From all this it follows that science in itself can only be helpful for broadening of the human mind and is compatible with religious belief. It is not a valid argument against religion.
As already mentioned the achievements of science are beyond counting and the impact of science on everyday life is very deep . Man conquered space by landing on the moon and soon enough man will land on Mars . The progress in medicine prolongs human life and will continue to prolong it. Future generations will live almost certainly far beyond the average age of life in our time and in many directions of inquiry man will continue making progress. However we also realize the possibilities of the darker side of human nature and the possibility of atomic war and the irreplaceable damage it can make beyond any imagination . It can even spell the end of mankind on this globe. Anyone who lived through most of the XX c. knows well the terrible possibilities of organized total war. The throwing of the atomic bomb in Japan is a serious warning against easy optimism about the future of mankind on this globe. This fact only stresses the importance of moral development of man which sadly seems to be lacking in human beings.
Our knowledge of God is transcending the scientific methods of inquiry. God is Self-existing, Eternal Spirit Creator of the whole universe that is of all contingent beings which as contingent require creative activity of God. Creation is a continuous reality it is not something that happened in the past and was completed in time because time itself and space was co-created by God. Since God is immaterial Spirit , He cannot be known in any scientific experiment or seen under the microscope or telescope. We know God only in analogical way on the philosophical level . However God of religion is a Personal God , mysterious and all perfect in Himself. God did not have to create any finite being at all. Neither there was any need to create. When all is done and said there is only one possible intelligible reason why Creation happened and is continuously present:
God is Love and creation is a gift freely given not deserved in any way of course. Human beings therefore are creatures and this word describes them in a deepest sense . It means complete and radical existential dependence of humans on God. Since God is Love He left freedom for man even to the point of abuse of this freedom, rejection of God Himself and hate directed against Him. Since however God is Love as long as a person lives there is open possibility to reunite oneself to God. This fact of permanent possibility of change towards God is beautifully pictured by Christ's parable of the Prodigal son.
God did not want to have mechanical robots but responsible free self-determining persons with their own inherent dignity. Man has therefore unconditional value even for God because he/she is the object of God's Love. For instance in Christian religion God himself so loved man that He gave his only son who became human and was exposed to all the hate, rejection and persecution, suffering during His life on earth.
Christ was called by his enemies a blasphemer, deceiver, devil , friend of publicans and sinners , glutton, mad , malefactor, sinner , thief, transgressor. But He also was called by other people Lord , Prophet , Righteous , Son of God.
He was condemned by the religious leaders of the time , crucified, killed and buried . He predicted His death and resurrection. Through all those sufferings and deeds Christ accomplished salvation of all humanity , although to many He remains completely unknown or known only superficially or in distorted way. We should not be surprised about the confusion about the mystery of redemption because even when it comes to the nature of man we are constantly guessing who or what the human being is. We have the man of evolution , we have the man in evolution , we have the economic man of Karl Marks, the psychological Man of Sigmund Freud , the existential man of Kierkegaard and we are still in the dark because those descriptions of man keep constantly changing. Our vision of the immensity of the universe , the age of known cosmos and the short period of existence of life, evolution of different form of life and the still shorter period of the appearance of man seemingly reduce man to very insignificant being depriving him of any serious dignity and meaning of his existence . This picture of man fits atheistic mentality, and some existential philosophers. Often they draw the conclusion that human life is not only insignificant but really absurd. If this is the case then it does not matter what you believe or what you do with this absurd life because it is radically meaningless and leads nowhere. As already pointed out methodical realism is the best valid way to understand reality surrounding us and our own position within the context of the universe. The religious view of man and his relationship to God the Creator gives the unchangeable and solid foundation for the meaning of life . It rejects any philosophy or scientific attitude which deprives man of his dignity and destiny. Only human beings are aware of eternity and it is eternity which is open to man within the context of theistic and religious belief.
Therefore Pantheism, Panentheism , Materialism and Skepticism all are not really sound philosophies. Methodical realism and metaphysical philosophy of being on the basis of the contingency of all finite entities points to the existence of God and provides a philosophical underpinning for theistic religion.
God is a personal God and a Loving and Benevolent Creator . This belief creates the problem of existence of evil in this world. By evil we understand the natural catastrophes like floods, hurricanes, sudden earthquakes etc. which all affect human existence on earth. However there is also another source of evil and it comes from man himself for man is capable of hate, destruction , murder and mass extinction of his/her fellow humans without even feeling remorse of conscience. All nations on this globe live in constant tension and possibility of war. In every human life there is some amount of suffering both emotional and physical, there is sickness, aging and inevitable death. The problem therefore can be stated as follows:
1. If God is all good why is there evil in His creation?
2. If God is omnipotent He could have created a world without the evil so obvious in our experience.
3. Therefore God is either evil and created evil with the universe or He could not create a better world without the evil, therefore God does not deserve worship and dedication required by any true religion.
See: Atheism and the Problem of Evil