How do I know that believing in God is the right thing to do? How do I know that the Bible isn't something that is made for mankind to get by through life without worrying as much as non-believers do? I don't know what to think about God and life and death. Just the thought of having to lose my loved ones, like my mother and brothers, keeps me restless at night. How can one's thoughts or mind and soul completely stop at death? It is said that matter does not disappear but forms into something else. Where do our thoughts go at the death of our souls? If you think about it, children are brought up believing there is a Santa Claus. They think he is 100 percent real, and then they become older and face the reality that Santa Claus was just a figment of our imagination and that is was just a man-made legend. How do we know the Bible isn't the same?
In my upbringing and in the raising of my own children we never mixed fantasy with reality. My children always knew that Santa was a myth. That other parents are careless with the truth doesn't determine whether everything you know is real or not.
I have never been to Sidney, Australia, so how do I know it is real? I've never met Abraham Lincoln or Julius Caesar, so how do I know whether they really existed or are just myths commonly accepted? The fact is that I do accept that the places I have not been to and the people I haven't met exist because I've seen the evidence and accept the obvious conclusions from that evidence. It doesn't require direct personal interaction to draw such conclusions.
The reason you grew up and realized Santa was a myth was because of the evidence that you found that disproved his existence.
""Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. ... Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, 'He is righteous'? Surely there is no one who shows, surely there is no one who declares, surely there is no one who hears your words"" (Isaiah 41:211-23, 26).
God invites examination, so honestly look at the evidence because it exists in abundance. The world is too complex and to well suited to life to be a random event. It shows evidence of design. The Bible is well documented to have begun being written over 1,500 years before Christ. It contains statements about future events that came to be in high accuracy. It mentions people, places, nations, and cultures with such precision that often it is used to locate things we didn't know existed. For example, for many years critics claimed the Bible false because it talked about the Hittite nation. People were positive such a nation didn't exist because we never found evidence of it -- until recently. Digging through old Assyrian records revealed the existence of the nation and we now know where its capital used to be. How is it that the Bible always gets things right and people are proved repeatedly wrong?
There are numerous tales of people who set out to prove the Bible wrong in history or geography who come away amazed at its accuracy.
Then there is its moral code. There isn't one like it in the world which when followed produces people who are recognized as good people.
There is also is internal consistency. There is no human book of any length that can match the Bible for being consistent in what it teaches. And this is from a book written over a 1,600 year period by about 40 different authors. A single human author isn't able to come close to its consistency, let alone multiple authors.
You'll believe what you want to believe, but I am certain that you will cling to some belief system. Belief is what we trust is true, based on the evidence we have seen, concerning things we cannot directly prove or disprove. The question really comes down to whether you are willing to put in the effort to examine the evidence in order to reach an informed conclusion.
Even your questions regarding what happens after death ought to give you pause. Where do such concerns come from? "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
I appreciate the reply. I also apologize for the late reply. As a child, I was brought up to decide for myself what I wanted to believe in, so I didn't know whether to believe that a higher spirit made the earth and the billion other planets or to believe in the evolution theory. At this moment I'm still lost. How do we know who is right or wrong? All this keeps me wondering about life and death and what happens. Why does God let people suffer on earth if we are His children? I'm 19 at the moment and don't want to spend my life wondering about life.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
When one has questions, the best thing to do is to begin finding answers. The question of evolution is actually a simple one. If you find a watch lying in the grass, do you conclude that it just developed there by random chance, or that it was made, owned, and that someone lost it? What is it that leads you to conclude it was made? Because of the complexity of its design. We know random events are destructive, not constructive. If random events could make improvements, we would all be blowing up junkyards to get a new car. So consider the features in this world of ours and ask which is a more reasonable view -- that it is a product of random events or purposely designed? Take a look at some of the articles on evolution to start your thinking.
In regards to why suffering exists, that is a common question. I would like you to consider the points in Why Do Bad Things Happen? Also look at the answer to the question: If God cares for us, why is there suffering? this answer has links to other information that I would like you to read and think about.
The next question ought to be that if God did make us, would He leave us unguided, only guessing at what He expects us to do?