Children of the lack of a God

Atheists can't relate to the reasons people have belief because they have not experienced God.* How could someone born blind understand the difference in blue and green or yellow? There are parts of the brain that seem to be hard wired to the God concept. Belief in God is part of even our biology, it's part who we are as a species, but atheists seem to be those who either don't have this sense developed, or who have found a way to "sublemate" so to speak, this sense and turn it off or direct it into something else. I think for many atheists science functions as religion in their lives.

It is probably impossible for me to explain to you how the power of God that I have experienced fits into the overall framework of my life and forms a coherent world view that for me makes sense of the world and blows away other alternatives. I can only give an inadequate thumbnail of the real picture.

(1) Atheists are always theorizing about why people are religious and in my view, it's always simplistic an totally wrong headed. For the most part they seem to think all belief is epistemological and believers are seeking "explanations of things." Not exactly the case, not in terms of physical phenomena.

(2) The experiences of presence and love and miracles combine with the intellectual aspects of the ground of understanding to form a coherent intellectual world view that is satisfying and interactive.

(3) The dimension of realization is like a sixth sense in that it supplies something that can't be communicated, either you see it or you don't. At that rate it seems pointless to mock something just because you can't understand it.

(4) Christian existentialist would say that the arguments are just hypothetical. The experiences pertain to life and really relate to meaning and mean something.

What all of this amounts to is that the atheist critique is shallow and senseless. Atheists can tell us just find why they don't belief. They can say the evidence is inadequate for them, and it is, because maybe they just don't have "it." But their attempts to locate everything in this shallow "religion is primitive failed science mentality just belies a lack of understanding.

Religion doesn't exist because people tried to explain why it rains. It exits because people sense the numinous. They sense this aspect of something, the sublime, the spiritual, the nether regions but something that is special and beyond our understanding.

So where does that leave us? Atheists are just stuck right? But it's not about demonstrating some truth through logic. It's about setting up a decision making paradigm that enables us to handle such questions. You are not going to do that with such a snide attitude, poisoning the well, and trying to explain things away. The privative failed science thing is an attempt to expansion religion away, in a dismissive fashion, rather than seeking to understand why it matters to people. They only seek that when they can use it as a pejorative.

The thing to do is to enter the inner logic of a belief system and try to understand their decision making paradigm.

*Some atheists a very small number have mystical experiences, I write about this in my book .The studies show that those who do relate to those experiences the same way believers do they use different terms,


Don McIntosh said…
Interesting post, Joe. I agree that the sense of the numinous (and specifically with the witness of the Holy Spirit) is the primary ground of Christian faith, and that conversion is not typically the result of an argument. I do believe that sound arguments and evidence at least serve to clear some of the intellectual smokescreens that tend to justify unbelief if not challenged. Apologetics thus has an almost pastoral purpose. In the same way we might counsel a drunk to put down the bottle, we counsel unbelievers to give up their weak objections to the faith. God is not mocked.
Jason Pratt said…
Considering that most North American atheists are de-converts, and that it isn't very unusual for them to talk about their religious experientiality back when they were Christian, yet still often have shallow and senseless objections, I'm not sure your thesis fits the data very well there, Joe. It might for European cradle-atheists, so to speak, but then North American de-converts exhibiting the same behavior still count as evidence against a correlation: if the same behavior follows regardless of the original status...

JBsptfn said…
A certain someone did a post about this:

The Skeptic Zone: Children of a Lack of Objectivity

I guess that it's Joe's turn to be attacked today. Here is a quote:

Skep: Christians like Hinman who say the atheist has a limited understanding of religious belief are arrogant and hypocritical. It is they who don't have the perspective of seeing both sides of the question. It is they who don't have the objectivity to examine the issue dispassionately, and arrive at a conclusion based on logic and reson. Christians have been raised from the time they were infants to believe in God and the myths of the bible. They can't imagine what it's like to have no belief in God, because that's something they've never experienced. And all those so-called ex-atheists like CS Lewis never really abandoned their childhood beliefs. All they did was keep it hidden for a while, and then allowed it to re-emerge.
Jason Pratt said…
There's the "CS Lewis was never really an atheist regardless of what his letters and his own testimony say" theory. Talk about a lack of objectivity. {eyeroll} I wonder if that's meant to be an implied pre-emptive retort to Joe converting to Christianity from atheism...

Jason Pratt said…
Anyway, I gather from this guy talking about seeing things from both sides that he wasn't always an atheist but is a deconvert; and that objection is the very image of shallow and senseless! {g} But people from both sides have a temptation to deny or ignore that a significant number of their opponents have a real past history as something else.

JBsptfn said…

I was just on that site, and they question if Joe was a studied atheist. I told them that he read a lot when he was young, and they think it is BS (and they accuse me of believing anything that a theist says).

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