I saw the forum title, and I couldn't help myself. Here's my beliefs:
I believe there is a God. I believe so because of this simple fact: First if one looks at a building, it follows that there must have been a builder. If one looks at a painting the logical conclusion is that there must have been a painter. If one reads a book, it is very sensible and logical for one to conclude that there must have been an author. If one looks at the world around us, the amazing complexity of the creatures and their inner workings ranging from DNA to the flagellum, and looks at the awesome universe, it seems reasonable to conclude that something made all this. If one looks at the creation, it logically follows that there was a creator.
I find this conclusion to be just plain sensible, logical, and simple. Man has invented so many silly arguments to try to get around the existence of God. I don't see how you can throw a stick of dynamite into a printing factory and produce the Declaration of Independence. You say, “Well, I've got a lot of dynamite.” The fact is, that things don't just come into being from nothing. Order doesn't come from randomness. Just a quick look at the second law of thermodynamics confirms this. It's like saying that a tornado passes through a junk yard and out comes a Boeing 787. Things just don't happen that way. It seems so evident from the obvious design present in the universe that it was designed and didn't just happen.
Okay, where do I go from here? If I come to the conclusion that God does indeed exist, the question now becomes “Who is this God?”. That's a good question and it is one that is worth our time to figure out. I don't think that from looking at creation that we can assume that God is a kind of wishy washy God that one makes up in one's own mind and that everybody's idea of God is correct. No, this is a genius God that created things for a purpose. Looking at humans, the way they interact with each other and communicate, I think that the God of the universe who designed them also communicates with them. The question is “how?” (too many questions) There are many religions that claim to “have communion with God” or to be “connected with the divine” but are they right? Are they all in contact with God? Or is there only one that is right? I believe that God revealed himself through the Bible. Now before you start flaming me, let me explain why.
The Bible is the only religious book out of all the other religions that has any credibility. For several reasons: first it is a collection of historical documents written about supernatural events by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. It was written by over 40 different authors on 3 different continents over a period of 1500+ years. This is an especially important credibility plus. If you picked any jail and then picked any inmate in that jail and asked him this question: “If 40 different people on 3 different continents over a period of 1500 years could confirm your alibi would you be in prison right now?” He would most likely answer, “Man! If I could just get my cousin's father-in-law's cat to confirm my alibi I wouldn't be here now!” The Bible wasn't just written by one man claiming to have some sort of divine revelation, (Koran, Book of Mormon, etc..) it was written by many people who claim to have been inspired by God and who were all in complete agreement throughout the whole book (even though most of the authors never met each other) sure go ahead and google for “conflicts in the Bible” but anything that you can find is not really a conflict, it might seem like it at first but closely studying the text shows that that any so called errors really harmonize nicely with the rest of the Bible. One more thing about the credibility of the Bible. If you want more than just scholarly arguments about why the Bible is true, then get this: there have been over 26,000 archaeological digs and discoveries related directly to the Bible. If you need more convincing that the Bible is true, than look at the archaeological digs that confirm all the historical data in the Bible. So anyway, I believe that the Bible, is the way God has revealed Himself to us. Sound reasonable from the information I've presented?
Now, I've come to the conclusions that 1) there is a God. 2) The Bible is God's word. Here's what the Bible says that are the essential doctrines for us to understand. First of all, the Bible tells us about who God is, what is He like. He is holy, just, good, and righteous. Now as to the question of who defines evil, the Bible tells us. It's God. The Bible, clearly tells us that God is the one who defines what's good and what's evil. God is good, so therefore anything against Him is evil. Now to the so called “evil problem” that was brought up. I will attempt to answer this from a Biblical standpoint. The Bible teaches that we live in a fallen world. When sin first entered the world, it had it's consequences and God, being just and holy, cursed the earth (Gen. 3). I don't really see what the 'problem' is, but that's the answer that the Bible gives. If you want a more specific answer, ask the a more specific question and I'll try to answer it. Anyway, the Bible teaches that God is the one who makes the rules. (makes sense doesn't it, the creator making the rules, not the creation deciding what's right and what's not). God is going to set up a new kingdom (Heaven). But being just, and holy, and righteous, He is the one who decides who gets to enter Heaven. The criteria for going to heaven is that you must be perfect. God is perfect and will not allow any sin (rebellion against God) into his heaven. To see if you meet up to God's standard, just take this little test:
1. Have you ever told a lie? (If yes, that makes you a liar).
2. Have you ever taken the Lord's name in vain or used it as a cuss word? (If yes, that makes you a blasphemer).
3. Have you ever, value aside, stolen anything? (If yes, that makes you a thief)
4. Have you ever looked with lust, or had sexual desires about someone not your husband/wife? The Bible says that if you have, then you have already committed adultery in your heart with that person. (If yes, then you are an adulterer at heart)
If you're like me, then your answer to all these questions is a resounding “Yes.” So, (assuming your human) you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart and those are just four of the Ten Commandments. There are another six with their cannons pointed right at you. So if God were to judge you by the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty (keeping in mind that you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart)? The correct answer is yes, you would be guilty. It doesn't matter if you've done 500x as much good in your life. If you are standing before a judge for a felony and you say to the judge, “Judge! I've done lot's of good things in my life.” Well, the judge will say to you, “That's nice, but you still are guilty of a crime.” The same is true with God. The Bible says, “The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3) So after the Judge finds you guilty, should you, therefore, go to Heaven or Hell? The Bible says Hell. It says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. Now Hell is described in the Bible as a place of eternal torment. It's not a good place to go. The fact is, we have sinned against an infinite, holy, and just God, and we should be punished. However, the Bible tells us some other attributes of God. One of which is mercy. God sent His son Jesus to the earth to die and pay the price for our sins. All we have to do is repent (turn from our sins) and place our trust in Jesus. It's as simple as that. However, we can't take the gift of forgiveness when we are standing before God on Judgment Day. We must receive it now. And if you don't want to spend eternity in Hell, I would encourage you to repent and put your trust in Jesus who paid the fine for your sins. Thousands of people die every day, and you never know when you're next. So it might be a good idea to look into this to see whether what I'm saying is true. BTW, what book is the all time best seller? Answer: The Bible. So if you're one of those people who read all the top selling books, you just might want to read the Bible.
Anyway, enough of the preaching. That's what I believe. Not too terribly complicated is it? There's a God. The Bible is God's word. We have sinned against Him. He should punish us. He had mercy and sacrificed His son to pay the fine for us. We just have to receive the gift. Simple enough? That is the basis for everything that I believe in. So now, if you want to flame me for that, just fire away. (no pun intended) Call me a conservative, Bible-thumpin', Christian, I don't care, 'cause that's what I am.