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Some time in their lives, most humans ponder the most fundamental question of life: “Why was I born?”, or “What is the purpose of human life?” Inevitably, most realize that the answer to that question depends on the answer to another related question: “Does God Exist?” 

If God does not exist, then life does not appear to have any purpose other than to live it out as you want, pursuing your own pleasure, or whatever else you fancy. When you die, that’s the end of your story. But if God exists, then we are forced to acknowledge the need to know if He has created us and to determine whether He has a purpose for our lives. If He has a purpose for our lives, then we need to fulfill it, or there might be consequences; and we need to know what those consequences will be. If He exists, and has created us, but for no purpose, then it is irrelevant whether He exists or not. Either way, if we want to find the purpose for human life, it is critical for us to know if God exists. 

Data on the percent of people in various countries who believe in God or a Supreme Being are not very reliable. The responses depend on the way the questions are asked on a survey. But here are one set of data based on a survey limited to 23 countries done in 2010, reported at on the global share of people who believe in God or a Supreme Being by country:

Indonesia    93%     Turkey    91%        Brazil        84%     S. Africa    83        Mexico    78        USA         70

Argentina    62        Russia     56           India         56        Poland      51        Italy         50        Canada    46

Hungary      29        Spain        8           Germany  27        U.K.           25         Belgium  20       France      19    

Sweden       18        S. Korea   18         China         9.        Japan        4

OVERALL     45%

These data indicate that people in Muslim and Catholic Christian countries believe in the existence of a Supreme Being in much larger numbers. Belief in God in Europe has been steadily declining. Countries in which religion is not based on the existence of God have the lowest percentage of people who believe in God. That includes Korea, China and Japan. The rest of the world is somewhere in between. Overall, there has been a declining trend in belief in God in the world. 

What caused this trend, and when did it start?

We may be tempted to believe that this trend started due to advances in science and the industrial revolution which led mankind to believe that it no longer needed to be superstitious as there is a scientific/rational explanation for everything, and that it did not need to believe in God as science can solve all its problems. But that would be far from the truth.

The earliest most famous scientists in the world during the Renaissance period (14th to 17th centuries) and the Age of Enlightenment (between 1685-1815) who pioneered the most important fields of scientific study in their days were ardent believers in God, more so because of their scientific discoveries. As they made more discoveries, they increasingly saw the awesome handiwork of God in His creation and marveled at it. Their faith in God increased.

In the next chapter, we will learn the views of the pioneering, most famous scientists in the world on God.Type your paragraph here.

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