I recently came across a blog of an atheist named Katie soliciting believers for why they believe what they do. I took the opportunity to respond. I’ve reproduced my comment here, because it sums up my faith pretty well.
1. Why do you believe in God?
I’ll grant that my upbringing played a huge role, but I feel that I’ve grown beyond the testimony of my parents and I have learned who God is independently. My belief began as a small seed, planted in my heart, which I nurtured carefully through prayer, scripture-study, fasting, and attending church, etc.
I have seen and felt personal evidences that Father is looking out for me and others, and although any doubter could systematically dismiss them as coincidences or cognitive dissonance, I know that I have felt the peaceful comfort of the Holy Ghost. It is enough for me. The more I feel the witness of the Holy Ghost, the more sense everything makes and the more comfort I feel.
2. Why do you believe in your particular god?
You could make the case that I didn’t give the other gods a chance. You might say I’m only a product of my culture, but I will tell you that there is something deeply significant with the story of Jesus.
It’s concrete; He actually lived, and died. Then, He lived again, according to countless witnesses. It’s practical; He saves us from our own evil, while making us good. It’s universal; His story dovetails perfectly with ancient Judaism and (according to Mormonism) his gospel reaches far beyond first century Israel into ancient America and other locations, into the realm of the dead, into the pre-earth spirit world, and into modern times.
But mostly it’s because of the relationship I’ve developed with God through prayer. The best thing I ever did to solidify my sometimes wavering faith was to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it were true.
When I learned from Him that it is true, I knew I could trust Joseph Smith as a legitimate prophet. Once this foundation was laid, it became much easier to believe, and I began to see the fruits (evidences) of my faith more abundantly.
Why do you believe in God? How would you respond?