The great monotheistic religions affirm that (their) god exists, but that god's existence is a matter of belief (faith), not proof; that is why there is no answer that is universally valid, although individuals are often quite convinced one way or the other.
There are also people who are not sure whether a god exists or not as well as people who don't believe in any god.
The question of God's existence has existed since man became self aware and sought answers to his existence, the existence of the stars in the sky, and life on Earth. If there is an effect (life) then there must be a cause (that which brought life into being). Religion answers this by saying God is the cause and the world and mankind is the effect.
Thinkers and philosophers describe God as that being than which no greater can be conceived, meaning there must be a greater being (greater than human beings) which brought all this about.
In the modern age, creation science says that there was the big bang, and life evolved. This is hotly debated and argued in many places on Earth today. It does not explain consciousness, nor self awareness in mankind.
Others say, if a word is found in a dictionary, then it must exist. The word thumb is in the dictionary, and it describes something that exists, a human thumb. Therefore, the word God in the dictionary has to describe something which actually exists.
However, the existence of God is an article of faith. This can be institutionalised faith (as it is in religions) or personal faith (a person believes that there is a God, based on their experience of God.)
So the question of Does God Exist? is a personal question that has to be answered by each and every person, on the basis of their experience and their reflections. Man is homo sapiens sapiens. This means that man is a primate who has consciousness, self awareness, and can think and reflect and know about things which are not immediately in their environment. Man, not animals or plants or rocks, can think and reflect and come to the conclusion based on their experience. Religion means experience.
In Judaism, it is said that there is a God, and that God made the world and all that exists in it. This comes from the Book of Genesis and the teachings of the Law and the Prophets.
Christianity takes this up as true, and says that Jesus is the Son of God, and the fulfilment of the Law and Prophets.
In Islam, it is said in the Koran, sura 96,
- Recite, in the Name of God, most gracious, most compassionate, in the Name of God, who created man from a blood-clot APPEARENCE. Recite, he taught man by the pen, taught him what he knew not
In Hinduism it is said that God Brahman is everything and everywhere; that God Vishnu was reclining on the ocean of Milk, and the creator God, Brahma, emerged from the navel of Vishnu on a lotus, and created the known universes. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says,
- Know Me to be the creator of all creation, O Arjuna. The true understanding of both the creator and the creation is considered by Me to be the transcendental or metaphysical knowledge. (BG 13.02)
- What the creation is, what it is like, what its transformations are, where the source is, who that creator is, and what His powers are, hear all these from Me in brief. (BG 13.03)
In Sikhism, in the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs) it is written:
- Through countless ages Complete darkness prevailed; In a complete void There was no world, no firmament. The Will of the Lord alone existed Neither night nor day, neither sun nor moon; Only God in an endless trance. Neither creation, nor destruction, neither coming nor going; There were no continents, no underworlds; No seven oceans, no rivers, no flowing waters; There were no higher, middle or lower planes; Neither was there heaven, nor hell; Neither death nor time; There was no world of tortures, nor region of bliss; Neither birth nor death; When He so willed, Then He created the world, and without any support sustained the firmament. He founded the continents, solar systems, underworld, and from the Absolute Self, he became manifest. None knows his limit, It is through the True Teacher (Guru) the secret is revealed." (Granth Sahib 1035)
In Buddhism, there are several vessels (variants of Buddhism); some are impersonal and say there is only nirvana, the finishing of existence; some variants of Buddhism worship Lord Buddha as a god; Tibetan Buddhism has gods and demons; the goal of life is the cessation of suffering by following the noble Eight-fold path.
Religion means 'experience' and nothing less. Religious principles have to be practised and their validity experienced. Listening to their exposition is of no use; learning some one set of arguments and conclusions and repeating them parrot-like are not enough. Religion and ethics, codes of right and wrong are intimately linked. Poeple who believe in God and follow the code of their religion might be called a follower of a theistic code of morals. The name ‘follower of theistic code of morals’, can be allotted only to one who has experienced God and realised His Glory.
Belief in the existence of God is founded on personal experience. Religions teach that there is a God, and give codes to follow, to return Home to God. So the question is about what a person has experienced or not experienced ... so to another who challenges your belief in God, you might ask, Have you become aware of the Divine? Have you become aware of the spark of the Divine within, the Soul? Or else, what authority have you to decry or deny this name of God? Are you, struggling in the darkness, attempting to draw me too into that darkness? Can a blind man lead another blind man along the road? That is an impossible task. Therefore, understand your truth before you defame or deny mine.’
Though there is no easy answer for this, I myself was not raised in a religious household, yet now hold firm to the belief of God. Some people will disagree and laugh at any who believe in God. Some will fiercely defend their views to their death. There is no easy answer. This is a very personal decision for us all. However, whatever you choose, choose carefully and do what is best for you, and for us all.