What Would You Consider Your "Intellectual Reasons" for a Godly Belief?

(Mitchell W McKain) #61

It would seem that the creationists are the new mechanists.

Before it was the mechanistic materialists to whom everything in the universe was just a machine and all of us nothing but cogs in great mechanism of material causes. But this has been abandoned with the advances in science, with energy rather than matter becoming the substance of everything and quantum physics establishing that imagined hidden variables (causes) simply do not exist. Thus the atheists have turned to naturalism instead, simply assuming that the scientific view is the only reality and natural law the only reason for things we can expect.

Yet the creationists, insisting on their antiquated watchmaker conception of God, continue to insist on a the universe and everything in it as a great machine all put together by the great divine maker of tools for His purpose alone, who would never suffer so much loss of control over anything as to allow living things to decide what they will become for themselves. They want us all to be cogs in their big religion machine grinding out freedom of thought and stamping out robots to march according to their cultist ordinances.

Thankfully there is another alternative. We can reject both the naturalist reduction of reality to science alone AND the creationist reduction of reality to machines and tools of a controlling designer alone. So instead of pushing either science or religion to exclusion of the other, making science into an imitation of religion or making religion into an imitation of science, we can embrace both of them by keeping them focused on the things they do best.

(Mark D.) #62

I could ask the same of you. Is your theology rock solid, objective fact? When it comes to the nature and disposition of God, I think we all are in the same epistemic position. This is what leads the truly religious people to humbly recognize the need for faith. But given all the glass in my house, I have no desire to start throwing rocks.

(Daniel Fisher) #63

But I’m not the one making claims about what God “may” (or may not) be like. Not in this discussion, at least. :wink:

But I am observing that, logically, there seem to me only two epistemic (what a great word) options:


  1. God has not communicated or revealed any specific, objective details about what what he approves, thus no one can stand in judgment of anyone else. But if so, we have no access to this knowledge, and ought make no claims whatsoever. We have nothing more than our own blind-shot-in-the-dark guesses. We ought maintain not simple humility about our beliefs, but rather admit complete and total ignorance and hold no beliefs whatsoever… only admitted speculations… and then the opinions of the folks at Westboro Baptist are no more or less valid than yours or mine. They have their subjective opinions about God, you have yours, I have mine, the 9/11 terrorists had theirs, and who can stand in judgment over any other? If God hadn’t revealed objective truth in some accessible way about himself to humanity, then none of our “guesses” are any more or less valid than any other.


  1. God has communicated objective truths about himself - his nature and disposition - in some form or fashion. If so, then it behooves us to attempt to pursue, insofar as possible, the rock-solid objective facts that he has revealed, even if we do so with humility, recognizing that as very fallible students, our understanding of them may indeed be faulty. Nonetheless, we do at least have some basis for believing truths about God, and judging some as faulty (including some of our own beliefs, as we grow in that objective knowledge!).

I elect for option 2, myself. And as such, yes, of course I acknowledge that my theology is not rock solid or objectively unerring. I am fallible, and thus we exercise humility. But I will claim to have at least a logically valid basis for having the beliefs about him that I do, and for, in humility, judging other perspectives to be faulty, erring, or wanting. I may well be wrong, my beliefs may be entirely unsound, and must do so in humility, but my beliefs grow at least out of the premise that he actually has revealed these truths and they are therefore accessible.

But if one doesn’t think God has revealed himself in a clear enough way for us to know any such details of his nature or disposition, such that any one person’s views can’t be more or,less right than another, I am confused whereby we could hold anything short of wild speculation about the nature and disposition about God. And as for beliefs by which we think we are developing any relationship with God… with no basis in such knowledge, we can’t even know if God does or doesn’t want a relationship, no?

(Shawn T Murphy) #64

So Daniel, where do you believe He has revealed Himself?

(Mark D.) #65

But is God nothing but an abstract idea or isn’t there any basis in our experience for even entertaining the notion He may exist? For me, allowing that there may be something which some call “God” comes directly from my own experience. I find that in addition to the world I sense, my own intentions and deliberations that there is still something more in play. I intuit its approval or displeasure and am sometimes granted insight which is not of my own manufacture.

If you simply asked me do I believe there is something that has existed before anything else who created everything else, ourselves included and who holds out the possibility of immortality, I would simply say no. But I wonder more about what it is which has given rise to God belief and what I come up with is a kind internal other, an aspect of consciousness which provides a Thou without the presence of another actual person.

So I’m not interested in claims regarding what sources are authoritative or what follows logically from those. I think there is a source for God belief and that what it is can provide us with meaning and fulfillment right now in this life time. But I feel more in touch with that source when I’m not busy deciding for myself based on authoritative sources what its message must be. I’ve cast my lot with those who seek a relational, right brain connection rather than a rational, left brain conclusion.


Wow this topic has been very satisfying and fascinating. I greatly appreciate the responses. I admittedly have trouble reading some long exchanges of ideas in this topic over long periods as i still struggle with deciphering what are my true feelings or beliefs, can we really say, and how much of this decision process is based around me seeking validation from whoever feels the loudest.

And ideally, satisfying both sides of the brain would be nice.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #67

But it would seem that you insist this “source” be anything other than the actual reality of a God that exists outside our own heads. It seems to me that once you’ve decided that we are god’s creator rather than God being our creator, then you’ve already made your bed with regard to belief. Humanity (i.e. yourself) becomes the closest thing you will have to any ‘authoritative’ source, and the admonishment from Judges is in full play … “each did what was right in his own eyes.” Here is where that so often (inevitably?) leads.

(Mark D.) #68

Yes I think the organ in our heads is largely responsible for generating the consciousness which gives rise not only to the inner Thou which supports belief in God but also to our sense of being who we are. But really, I’m not sure which is the more unlikely place to look for that source, the consciousness arising in our heads or a place entirely outside of time and space. Since I know nothing of any place entirely outside of time and space but know very well what it is exist as a product of consciousness, I think that is a very fitting place to look for God.

Are we then also the creators of our selves, of our very identity? If so I cannot remember having put myself together. But I can understand how saying God arises in consciousness will seem to some like saying we just make Him up.

(Dominik Kowalski) #69

Sounds like the right approach, the catholic church condemns both fideism and strict rationalism. God-belief always starts with rational reasons (this can be logic like the cosmological arguments, historical evaluation or a personal experience) and these reasons should converge into an emotional attachement. Your way leads the, in my opinion, most satisfying faith, because it makes you reflect your reasons critically, but after they survived your evaluation, you basically have a basis forever.

Would you be interested in the material which I mentioned above for self-studying or do you seek another way? It isn´t restricted to books, of course.

(system) closed #70

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