White bearded man in the sky

(Nick) #1

Does anyone who believes in God believe that this is what He is?
Has anyone ever met an adult who believes this?

Is so, please tell us about it.
If not, please tell us why people refer to God as a white bearded man in the sky when making theological/philosophical arguments.

The "Non-Sensibility" of the Tower of Babble
(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

I don’t know anybody who believes in this particular god, but he is the god that a lot of atheists delight in not believing in. General Titov, a Soviet Cosmonaut and the second human to orbit the earth after Gagarin had this to say at a Seattle interview in 1962:

When asked how his space flight affected his philosophy of life, Titov replied through his interpreter, “Sometimes people are saying that God is out there. I was looking around attentively all day but I didn’t find anybody there. I saw neither angels nor God”

(Mervin Bitikofer) #3

As to why God is so often pictured in such ways, maybe Michelangelo shares some blame. We seem to need visuals, however unrealistic, to even begin to think about anything that can’t be completely circumscribed by our comprehension.


We might be able to turn around these questions to the negative to perhaps comprehend why people believe in a white bearded man in the sky. For example;

Does anyone who believes in the spirit realm actually believe that the dead of loved ones speak through the spirit medium? How many people believe that the spirit medium is rather, channeling a demon? Has anyone ever met an adult who believes in either?

If so, please tell us about it.
If not, please tell us why people refer to Satan the devil, as a horned, hoofed spirit being, and demons as his legions when making theological/philosophical arguments.

In line with this reasoning their logic may be—If the dead exist in an altered state once they pass away, and/or Satan the devil and demons exist in a spirit realm, then maybe, just maybe, a white bearded man in the sky and angels also exist in this same spirit realm…

(George Brooks) #5

The Mormons have combined a classic “old school” idea of a physical god, with the spirituality of reproduction.

Adam, in the Guise of Christ, is the God of Earth because Adam has so many descendants under his spiritual leadership.

One of the reasons Mormons used to support polygamy and having lots of children was to be victorious in a Cosmic game of “LIFE” - - the man with the most descendants would get HIS OWN planet sooner …

(Nick) #6

My question is who believes in a white bearded man in the sky?

Not theoretically, actuality. I am personally not familiar with anyone who has this particular belief, yet I often see this or a similar description, invisible sky fairy for example, in theistic discussion.

I am interested in why people use this description.

George, I was not aware that LDS had a white bearded man concept of God. I know a couple and knew several when I lived in N. Arizona. I will try to ask one about it when I get a chance.


This is just a rhetorical tactic which borders on a strawman argument. “I don’t believe in Santa Claus. I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. And I don’t believe in a white-bearded man in the sky.” Yeah, neither do I. But I believe in God.



I believe I am answering your question as to who ACTUALLY believes in a white bearded man in the sky. THEORETICALLY, I was but providing an answer for THE REASON as to why people believe such things. Nevertheless, I believe we need to elaborate further.

Those at the upper echelon of religious and theological thought (clergy and academic theologians as well) are more than aware as to God’s true nature. They contemplate and discuss God’s true nature in depth since they are acquainted with scientifically minded concepts which facilitate the ability to articulate these thoughts in all their scope and magnitude. On the other hand, the parishioners, or rather, the laypersons or sheep, are not aware of these considerations—perhaps only at a subconscious level—therefore, they are never able to bring to conscious awareness the full considerations and implications of what is involved. It doesn’t help either that they are bombarded with subliminal messages through picture representations of a white bearded man in the sky (or a horned, hoofed Satan the devil)—many of these picture representations are found in the very churches themselves, but also appear throughout media venues. Then, of course, there is the fallacious interpretation of the rapture—that Jesus Christ will return in the clouds. All these considerations convey and reinforce the deceptive delusion.

Therefore, your question as to who believes in a white bearded man in the sky (or a horned, hoofed Satan the devil) is pretty much not a pertinent factor regarding the educated class as compared to the regular person in society who is subconsciously influenced by the subliminal messages that are thrown at him or her—many people (the parishioners, laypersons, or sheep) will not admit to these superstitious beliefs because of pride, and then again, they have no capacity to think critically and to reason through all the considerations involved and therefore have no alternative recourse to fall upon.

(Nick) #9

No offense Tony, but that’s pretty high and mighty.

I think you are confusing the possibility of people personifying God for convenience sake in their minds when contemplating God, but that can be different than actualizing Him as such. I’m pretty sure Michelangelo didn’t think God looked like that, but that image has been a powerful symbolic one for my wife and me.

So I guess your answer after parsing through it all those words of yours, you are saying that smart people don’t believe in God as a WBMITS, but dumb people do even if they don’t admit it?

Do you think God agrees with you about the people of the upper echelon’s understanding of the divine nature?



I have found that when I am having a discussion with someone who ardently does NOT believe, manipulation of language is a tool.

If you can take a church doctrine or a Bible passage, and strip it of holiness by making it a caricature, then an argument against God is more plausible. So if someone couches their language in the most simplistic, literal, and culturally modern terms, they can debate more easily and don’t have to do the work of truly understanding the doctrine.

Bearded man in the sky is one example. Others include:

  • abusive father who set his kids up to fail and then blames all the kids for the mistakes of two
  • capricious god who is so vain he wants glory and wiped people out with nary a thought
  • what kind of father sends his son to earth to be slaughtered in the interest of making the world a better place?

I have seen many more, but in all, the desired effect is to make the hearer see God, not as the Father who revealed Himself in Scripture, but as a mythical creature or as a one-dimensional character in a movie.

Language/words have great power.

As the fmiddel said, I believe in none of those things. They are a misrepresentation of the faith. A very convenient one because it is easy to make a caricature of out of anything. I can do it to atheism too. I choose not to because I realize that people often come to that place through much thought, experience (often bad ones associated with a church or certain Christians) and often some level of struggle. It pains me to watch, but I hope I have enough depth to realize that it is not often a light choice.

Faith is hard. It involves knowing that God cannot be personified no matter how human we try to make Him. It means holding things in tension, and accepting holy mystery. It means questioning and wrestling with Him because we are so very small. God is completely outside of humanity… That is why Jesus is such a complete gift. The more we see the magnitude of God (as who He really is rather than our bearded man caricature), the more we need Jesus. He is the closest we can come to seeing God.

The spinning of language is a useful tool to make people see God and the Bible in the manner an atheist does. But it is an anemic argument at best and a gross misrepresentation of the faith.

(Jo Helen Cox) #11

Yes, I have actually met people who truly believe God looks like an old man with a white beard. Yes, some believed the Sistine Chapel painting as an actual portrait. Yes, the men always wore long beards.

Most were members of a small group, which more standardized denominations called a cult. Others were people isolated from education because of a religious mandate or dominating parents. Those two reasons were often the same for an individual but were not always the same. It takes a lot of brain stretching to get past that kind of religious image. Most people, even smart people, have trouble with so much change in basic beliefs.

Why do people use this description? Because it is easier to use. God has no form, unless you count a shiny cloud and some fire. People want a form to worship (idolatry), something they can relate to physically. They also like to dictate what they want to believe. The Sistine Chapel is an awesome picture, very dramatic, very not biblical. It gives people something to visualize. Because it is in a Christian setting, with a biblical theme, they don’t have to worry that what they call God was based on Zeus.



No offense taken Nick. I’ll just say that if we want to get to absolute truth we must be prepared to have courage, be mighty, and have a projected perspective from high above!

I don’t think I’m confusing anything but believe you are missing the point. I’m aware that people work with all sorts of different methods in personifying God for convenience sake in their minds (visualizing meditation, picture representation, idols, etc.) but it should be stated that such is the purpose of the personification (or the anthropomorphization)—others may get the wrong idea. Is it even a consideration in the minds of those who create and display such representations? I’m sure it is, and by way, the displayed representation is in effect actualizing God as a White Bearded Man In The Sky. I’m also pretty sure Michelangelo didn’t think God looked like that. However, that image hasn’t been a powerful symbolic one only for you and your wife—billions of other people throughout the ages have been affected by powerful symbolic representations in the positive and negative sense as well. Powerful symbolic representations also play an important role in voodoo, sorcery, and witchcraft where these practices influence, manipulate, and exploit their unsuspecting victims.

I wouldn’t put it in the same terms of being smart or dumb as you did but rather as having had the privilege to be educated as opposed to having been unfortunate and rewarded with ignorance. As I stated in my previous comment, “Those at the upper echelon of religious and theological thought (clergy and academic theologians as well) are more than aware as to God’s true nature. They contemplate and discuss God’s true nature in depth since they are acquainted with scientifically minded concepts which facilitate the ability to articulate these thoughts in all their scope and magnitude. On the other hand, the parishioners, or rather, the laypersons or sheep, are not aware of these considerations—perhaps only at a subconscious level—therefore, they are never able to bring to conscious awareness the full considerations and implications of what is involved.” Clearly I was referring to the clergy and academic theologians as the “smart people” who don’t believe in God as a WBMITS since they are personally acquainted with the pertinent language involved. However this does include many in other academic fields as well as the ordinary working man and woman searching for truth and understanding after having been touched by the grace of God and led in the right direction to discover this truth and understanding (who don’t believe in God as a WBMITS). The remaining ones in the population (ignorant to the truth—not “dumb”) are lost as to what to believe. As I said, “they have no capacity to think critically and to reason through all the considerations involved and therefore have no alternative recourse to fall upon.”

Yes I do. Although, of course, there are complications involved—a good portion of the clergy and academic theologians most definitely have their own personal agendas at heart. Therefore, I would contend that there are some who advertise doctrines sympathetic to a WBMITS.

(Jo Helen Cox) #13

Law says “ignorance is not an excuse.”

If the clergy and academic theologians keep “pertinent language” to themselves, if they see distortion of truth in the general public’s comprehension and say nothing, that is sin. It is academic elitism, esoteric segregation. It is the belief that only the few are capable of understanding.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

Moses did not think the Law was too difficult for the masses. He thought everyone needed to know. Even small children could be told. The concept of God is no different. If those who “know” do not speak up, then those who “don’t know” will be the teachers. The general population’s knowledge becomes corrupt, thus easily manipulated toward the worship of created things. As generations go by, those corruptions become part of the beliefs held by the clergy and academic theologians. They will ceaselessly argue over whose opinion is closer to God’s, while being blind that the basis of the argument is false.

That is not good. It is one of the reasons God had Jerusalem destroyed, twice. Those in the “know” will be held accountable by God.

(Nick) #14

It’s refreshing to see a place one can go to discuss controversial topics with many who are not going to take personal offense to everything.

Could you please share in simple form what these upper echelon folks are aware of about God’s true nature that the masses are not? I find this idea rather intriguing. Maybe I’m missing something here.

(Jo Helen Cox) #15

I was using the wording from @Tony 's post, which earlier you noticed as “high and mighty.” I will add to those statements, “those who know” do not need to have advanced degrees.

Your example of “white bearded man in the sky” is a good start. I have heard it used flippantly by preachers. The problem arises when a new convert hears it used. How do they respond except by believing what they hear supports what the world has told them? How many generations does it take for everyone to believe it true? Must God beg for a messenger of truth?

One scenario that suds my soapbox is “God created a perfect world. Sin distorted the world so much it became imperfect. Immortal humans became mortal. God, repulsed by the sin filled world, retreated to hide in heaven to let angels take care of business here.” Those dogmatic statements and all the dogmatic beliefs are not mentioned in the Bible. Not once are they held as dogma. Yet, some version of this dogma is taught from the pulpit by nearly every denomination.

I mention the above, because God’s nature is distorted by the dogma. Sin is more powerful than the Creator, since it’s version of the world is all we can see. The dogma transforms the personal God described in the Eden story and loved by Jesus into a wrathful and unreachable deity. The God, who is love, no longer shows mercy and forgiveness. He is described as vengeful until the New Testament, where the blood of Jesus calms Him so God can again show mercy and forgiveness. Such beliefs were not taught by the prophets or Jesus. They said God begs for repentance. Their God desired to show mercy and forgiveness, but the choice of the people was to continue in sin and their distorted beliefs.

Dogma says God is not responsible for the bad things in nature. Bad things, like death, cancers, and tsunamis, must come from someone else other than a perfect God. This is dualism, a belief that is not biblical. Theology (made by and upheld by academic theologians) gives God’s authority to sin or Satan. Instead, Genesis One claims God made everything. Everything means everything, and everything was called good. Throughout the Old Testament God maintains responsibility for blindness, storms, earthquakes, and large animals that eat people. Our concept of perfection is not what God created.

The Bible even gives the responsibility of who runs nations to God. He is ultimately responsible for death and war. God has always taken responsibility for everything, which includes humanity’s ability to be evil. He gave us free will. He let us have knowledge of good and evil, and then said our knowledge was like His (never called a curse by biblical writers). That means we must learn to be like God and take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.

Well, I’ve gotten through Genesis 3… Hope you see my point. One distortion can lead to the distortion of who God is. That distorts our understanding of His relationship with nature and humanity. Those distort our view of the entire Bible.

Where are the theologians who should teach the teachers?


Sometimes it’s a matter of picking battles. Are we going to feed the homeless or clarify “what God looks like”? There are a lot of things that “people should know” and you can’t say everything all the time. Further, in my experience, there are times when you say things and people hear it through their own lens, and miss what it is exactly that you’re saying.

(Nick) #17

One of the things that struck me when I started reading the Bible in earnest and discussing it with people is that not a single person is recorded as having predicted the Christ that they received. The first advent of Christ was apparently completely different from what the professional clergy, what you might call charasmatic types, lay people, shepherds, etc. anticipated. ie. not one person seems to have gotten it right about the form and function of Christ from all the prophecy, rabbinical writings, and man on the street discussion.

These people were led by theologians. The theologians were evidently wrong about God and many egregiously so.

Then you have something that I have come to become fascinated with to a greater and greater degree as I’ve contemplated science and God.

Gamaliel, who apparently was the theologians’ theologian, in Acts 5 summed up very simply how I think we should approach many of the things of God :

“So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

He seems to have a wait and see, one might even call it scientific approach to this problem. ie. observe, mark, and learn

As to the question of what these theologians know that we sheeple don’t, I am eagerly anticipating a response. I think we are way over confident in our understanding of the Nature of God as a whole. I think we are given to understand some things, but only piecemeal and of course through a veil.

Some folks on here have claimed that the white bearded man is a reality for some people, but originally I was interested in adult Christians with this view.

I have known non-theists with this image, but an image of something you don’t believe exists is different than an image of something you do believe exists. I have a hard time conceiving actual, sane adults who believe that the Sistine Chapel pic is an actual physical rendering of the Deity.

Through Lewis I have been reading George Macdonald’s Unspoken Sermons. MacDonald is an interesting person. I guess he and Twain were buddies. One thing that struck me that he said goes something like this

The Bible is a Word of God, not THE Word of God.

I think he thought it true (not necessarily literal), but I think many Christians practice a form of Bibliolatry that ignores the Word of God Himself. But Macdonald urges us not ignore God Himself.

Anyone else out there read MacDonald? I would think that many Biologos people would be interested in him.

He has many, many titles available on the Free Books App.

(Jo Helen Cox) #18

I totally agree. For most people, just getting through the day is difficult. That goes double for local pastors who constantly deal with more human problems than I could possibly tolerate AND write a sermon or three for the week AND stay pleasant for the next person who arrives.

But they, like the rest of us, need sources that teach what the Bible actually says. Too many of the “popular” books going around do not clarify who God is per the Bible. They emphasize traditions dictated by their denomination. These big name writers are so badly trained that they jump to conclusions and use circular logic then declare they have made valid points. I have heard these “proofs” repeated by preachers. Basically, the teachers of the teachers are not well trained.

Yup. All the information was there for them to gain awareness, but most of them relied on their own understanding instead of asking for clarification. Traditions and arrogance kept them from seeing “God with them.” You nailed the reason. We argue differences in traditions and hold ours as holier than others. We forget that God is personal and is quite capable of talking for Himself.

Yes, a good teacher should assess new ideas, particularly those that do go against what is believed. Yes, too many people are sheeple (love that word) and never really think through what they are told by the people they trust. But I’m not sure I agree totally with Gamaliel’s attitude. He may have waited, but did he learn? Did he actually try to determine if Jesus really was who the people said, or did he just wait for a “sign” from heaven? Did he go out of his way to ask Jesus questions like Nicodemus did? Or, without an acceptable sign, was he one of those who decided against believing and shouted “Crucify him!” Did he ever believe Jesus arose? At some point, we all stop waiting and decide.

I said I have met people (adults) who believed in the WBMIS. They were quite adamant that their views were correct per the Bible. They quoted scripture to prove their side. They were deaf to the fact that those scriptures were metaphors, thus not literal descriptions.

It is good that God is not petty and is understanding. We humans (including me) believe in lots of stupid things about God. He knows our hearts and loves us through all the stupid stunts we pull.

I started reading MacDonald a few years ago, downloaded a bunch of sermons, got distracted and totally forgot to go back. Thank you for reminding me!



It is arguably not feasible to present a detailed description of God’s true nature in simplistic terms. What is involved is no less than a theory of everything. If we desire to comprehend the mystery of God, the revealed word (scripture) and the facts of science must be considered in context with the surrounding words and circumstances involved. In other words, if ambiguity and vagueness are to be avoided it is essential to be clear and precise. As such, to even begin to understand the true nature of God, it is unequivocally necessary to break up the whole into its respective parts so as to examine in detail how the respective parts function and how they are interrelated. In this way, an assessment can be made and a judgment drawn as to whether our assumptions are in fact as assumed. Accordingly, this requires the necessary and pertinent language inherent in the various fields of inquiry.

“Philosophy of science is a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern what qualifies as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the ultimate purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science

The uniformity of nature demonstrates how the world functions. Consecutively, by understanding how the world functions, knowledge is attained as to what the facts are. This relationship between science and truth is the principle behind the philosophy of science. The ultimate purpose of science must therefore be the procurement of truth.

“Philosophy has two important aims. First, it tries to give a person a unified view of the universe in which he lives. Second, it seeks to make a person a more critical thinker by sharpening his ability to think clearly and precisely.” (Philosophy - World Book Encyclopedia)

How does philosophy try to give a person a unified view of the universe in which he lives? And how does it seek to make a person a more critical thinker? Through the observation and experimentation of nature of course, whereby philosophers incorporate the discoveries of science into the curriculum of the scholastic education system. The continual effort to be clear and precise in language usage is fundamental to critical thinking. Accuracy becomes an important goal whereby the student learns the importance of the clarity and precision of thought, free from errors, mistakes, or distortion.

“Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that seeks to understand reality, beyond what we know from our sense perceptions.” (Philosophy [Philosophical Terms] - World Book Encyclopedia) Metaphysics is the name given to research about the eternal universal nature of things. (Metaphysics - World Book Encyclopedia) Metaphysics includes epistemology (the theory of knowledge), ontology (the study of the nature of reality), and cosmology (the theory of the origin of the universe and its laws). (Metaphysics - World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary)

How does metaphysics seek to understand reality beyond what we know from our sense perceptions? How can we know anything apart from our sense perceptions? Our sense perceptions are precisely that—the organs through which the nervous system gathers information from the world. However, the question remains; how does metaphysics propose to understand reality beyond what we know from the very sense perceptions we require to gather information from the world in the first place?

“Deduction is a method of reasoning from general statements to particular conclusions. Induction is a method of arriving at conclusions by examining particular facts. Induction depends on observation and experimentation.” (Philosophy [Philosophical Terms] - World Book Encyclopedia)

Through observation and experimentation (induction) we establish the concrete facts about the world. Similarly, by reasoning from general statements to particular conclusions (deduction) we form hypotheses leading to further observation, experimentation, and verification. Hence, beyond the physics lie the metaphysics requiring more of the same critical thinking that scientists are already accustomed to—drawing conclusions or inferences from observations, facts, or hypotheses, and making these inferences explicit, along with the assumptions or premises upon which those inferences are based.

Furthermore, bringing these deliberations together with the biblical narrative and taking into consideration the history of mankind, the outline of God’s plan as presented in scripture becomes explicitly understood. Our assumptions should be based on these facts and assessed from this perspective.

"assumption: A statement accepted or supposed as true without proof or demonstration; an unstated premise or belief. All human thought and experience is based on assumptions. Our thought must begin with something we take to be true in a particular context. We are typically unaware of what we assume and therefore rarely question our assumptions. Much of what is wrong with human thought can be found in the uncritical or unexamined assumptions that underlie it. For example, we often experience the world in such a way as to assume that we are observing things just as they are, as though we were seeing the world without the filter of a point of view. People we disagree with, of course, we recognize as having a point of view. One of the key dispositions of critical thinking is the on-going sense that as humans we always think within a perspective, that we virtually never experience things totally and absolutistically. There is a connection, therefore, between thinking so as to be aware of our assumptions and being intellectually humble. (A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts — Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms)


Our assumptions about spiritual matters have been influenced by the men who took over the early church after the apostles. The upper echelon of today’s governing bodies of clergy amongst the different denominations are not exempt. Here is an example of how the wrong assumptions can create distortion in our critical thinking;

"What is Real? We often use the expression “Seeing is believing” without thinking much about it. But sometimes we find that the expression is not quite true. You may be sure you see a puddle of water in the road, but when you come closer, the puddle may not be there at all. Or you may see a bent stick in a glass of water, but find that the stick is straight when you take it out. You then begin to wonder, “Was there a puddle of water in the road?” "Is the stick bent or straight? These problems concern the question of deciding whether what we perceive, or sense, is real, and which of two perceptions is the true one. See PERCEPTION.

As you look at a stick, you might say, “I see a stick.” But what you actually see is an image formed in your eye. If you compare the stick you now see with one you might have seen in a dream, you might find little difference. But you know that the one in the dream was a mental thing. This raises the question of the nature of what you perceive. Is the stick a real thing independent of your knowledge of it. Or is the stick simply what you know of it, or a purely mental thing? The philosophic theory called realism insists that objects exist independently of our knowledge of them. Idealism argues that they exist only in the mind. See IDEALISM; REALISM.

Another aspect of the problem of what is real is the philosophic discussion of universals and particulars. When you look at a set of book, you recognize that they are all books. All books are alike as books. This means that each book is an example of a “Book” in a general sense. Philosophers call this general “Book” a universal, and the individual books particulars. They ask, “Is the particular book or the universal “Book” the real one?” Some philosophers say that only the universal is real. The particular book seems to change, but the universal remains unchanged." (Philosophy [What is Real?] - World Book Encyclopedia)

The hopes and dreams of the prophets of Ancient Israel and the main message of Christianity was and still is the Kingdom of God. The book of Daniel of the Hebrew scriptures informs us of the prophet Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerning the world empires that were to rule the world until God’s Kingdom would take over the reins of power.

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)

I would like to emphasis [break in pieces] and [consume all these kingdoms] as part of this policy, and conclude with a quote that magnifies and clarifies this perspective;

“What is at stake is more than one small country—it is a big idea. A new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind. With few exceptions the world now stands as one. The world can therefore seize this opportunity to fulfill the long held promise of a new world order. We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves. A shining purpose, the illumination of a thousand points of light. And that’s why I wanted to speak to you today about the new world taking shape around us. About the prospects for a new world order now within our reach. It refers to new ways of working with other nations to deter aggression and to achieve stability. As old threats recede, new threats emerge. The quest for the new world order is in part a challenge to keep the dangers of disorder at bay.”

(New World Order Speech - George H. W. Bush)

(Nick) #20

So in other words, you have nothing to say about what upper echelon thinkers know about the true nature of God that is only revealed to upper echelon thinkers?