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Why do atheists insist on trying to rationally understand God?

God is beyond rationality. He exists within it but also outside of it. Therefore, only faith in Him can be used as a means of understanding His Divine Love.

Posted: June 1st 2007

Eric_PK

It’s really a definitional question.

We say that something “exists”, we have a shared idea on what we mean by the word exists. A chair exists, a dog exists, radio waves exist because we can prove to others that they exist.

An abstract concepts exist as well. We say that “love” or “grief” exists, but we also know that they exist in a different way, so that even if our house if full of love, we aren’t worrying about tripping over love when we get up in the middle of the night.

My point? Well, a god that is outside of rationality cannot be said to exist in the physical entity sense of the term.

If god interacts with the physical universe, then that interaction is subject to rational analysis.

If he doesn’t, then I don’t think there is any valid definition for “exists”.

Posted: April 28th 2008

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SmartLX www

I don’t try to rationally understand God. There would have to be something there to understand.

If God existed, He probably would be well beyond human understanding. But I can certainly understand the statement, “God exists.” I can also understand the statement, “There is no available evidence that God exists.” How exactly can you complicate that second statement beyond human understanding? Anyone can understand it, and see that it doesn’t exactly support the first statement.

Contemplating God in all His supposed glory is one of the types of theology which are moot as long as His existence is in question, and I question His existence. So I leave the hypothetical understanding to the believers.

Posted: November 19th 2007

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George Locke

I’m rather fond of Kierkegaard, who says that faith is a miracle (though this idea doesn’t originate with him). What I understand this to mean is that only a miracle can explain the fact that a person can believe something (e.g. “God exists” or “the events recorded in the Bible really happened”) that seems in conflict with reason/experience/recorded history. This is the only explanation for faith that makes any sense to me.

I think of it not so much as a miracle but as auto-suggestion, wanting (consciously or no) to believe it so much that evidence of the belief appears.

In any case, the wonder is not that atheists don’t comprehend the supposed miracle, but that theists seem to think that the miracle ought to be comprehensible to people who haven’t experienced it. Let me tell you, it isn’t. I don’t understand how a person can abandon reason so eagerly.

Every idea must be held to scrutiny as to whether it is soundly reasoned and as to whether its application benefits society. For theists to claim on the one hand that God can only be grasped without the rational faculties and then to insist that their irrational ideas must be taken seriously seems, well, ludicrous.

I’d guess that few theists actually behave that way. Most of those who insist that religious ideas must be taken seriously tend to insist that these ideas are self-evident, not that a miracle is required for their apprehension.

Posted: June 25th 2007

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RTambree

Theologians have been attempting to contemplate the Divine for centuries – it’s not just been atheists.

Sure, if you define God as detection by any empirical means (i.e. He doesn’t intervene in the universe in any tangible way), and if you define God was beyond any rational contemplation, then what difference does God make?

God may not as well be there, if He doesn’t actually interact with the universe in any way. As Richard Dawkins notes, a Universe with a God should be a very different universe to one without a God.

This is analogous to Carl Sagan’s invisible dragon in the garage. Someone can claim it’s there, but you can’t see it, or detect it with infrared cameras, or sprinkle dust to see its footprints, or even contemplate it in any rational sense, then it might as well not be there, as it makes no difference whether it’s there or not.

Surely Jesus supposedly entering the world, and performing miracles and purporting to answer prayers is something that humans can explore with their faculty of reason.

In general, one can postulate an infinite amount of Deities that are “beyond evidence” or “beyond reason”, but I would respond firstly “what difference do they make?” and secondly “how do we even know about them in the first place”.

The questions appears to be a cop-out i.e. I want my God, I know there’s no evidence, so I’ll just define my God as being “beyond reason” so I don’t have to justify my gut instincts.

Posted: June 5th 2007

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