If God exists in a similar form to most Gods that have been proposed, his existence is certainly the most important reality of all. Therefore, perhaps the most important question of all is “Does God exist?”
The existence of God is among the most lively debates in philosophy, though investigating the problem is difficult. Since no scientific proofs of God exist, philosophical arguments must be used. John Polkinghorne‘s analogy is that the existence of God is like quantum mechanics: neither can be measured directly, both are paradoxical, but they can make sense of disparate data.
Arguments for the existence of God are usually metaphysical (purely philosophical), empirical (based on evidence), inductive (probabilistic), and subjective (arising from personal experience). Arguments against the existence of God are usually empirical, inductive, and deductive (logical).
I did not investigate polytheism because there are no serious theories on how polytheism could explain the universe we know, and virtually no serious thinkers accept polytheism as more than a set of archetypal metaphors. I also did not investigate pantheism because if God is all, then God is merely a redefinition of God to mean “existence.”
Before getting into the arguments for and against God that I have studied, let me address Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal argued that it is a better bet to believe in God than not, because the expected value of theism (eternal salvation) is better than the expected value of atheism. Taken by itself, though, this is valueless wager, because there are hundreds of mutually exclusive claims to methods of salvation. How is one to choose between all the different religions that offer salvation or other benefits? The wager itself does not address this problem. Of course, Pascal proposed the wager in the context of his own arguments for the Christian God, and we will deal with those types of arguments separately.
Finally, in the interest of authenticity I must make a disclaimer that may, for some, invalidate my journey into truth. From the beginning, I have wanted to find a benevolent God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, because I find Jesus to be the most beautiful thing in earth’s history. And, I have been asking God to lead me into proper truth. But if he doesn’t exist, this will not have corrupted my search for truth. And, nobody can investigate the most important and affecting questions in the universe without bias. I do believe I have solid rational grounds for believing what I now believe. The rest of my story will expose this rationality.