More From the Realm of Bad Analogies: On the Role of Faith In Our Belief in God

I get frustrated at the fact that so many philosophers seem to ignore the obvious. That is, they want things like theories that are consistent or arguments where conclusions logically follow from the premises. They like things like precision. But they ignore the fact that life, and especially life as it is lived by humans, just doesn’t give us the consistent, logically correct conclusions that we’d like to get from life. Life just ain’t that way. but still, they try and try, and push themselves further and further away from what or how people actually think and feel. There. I just said it. Philosophers push themselves away from how people feel. Emotions are somewhat akin to dirty words in philosophy. They’re not supposed to be mentioned among educated company. Emotions are irrational. Emotions live in the realm of wishful thinking and contradictory beliefs. We can’t use them. At least, no philosopher would ever trot out a “I think that because I just feel that it’s right” during an argument. Although sometimes, I secretly begged that one would. But they don’t. They can’t. It wouldn’t be philosophic. Which, by the way, all that clinging to all things orderly and philosophic has always bothered me when I hear philosophers discuss matters of God and religion. It seems that, with all of their finely-tuned arguments that philosophers kinda miss the point. They know what they need to say, but they can’t say it. God is meant to be felt. But our philosophic arguments for believing in God won’t allow us to say that exact reason why any of us ever accepts God, or Jesus, or whatever in the first place. Jesus is a better high than any drug. And not only does God love us, but we love him. And you can’t argue for or against that. I had a constant question that I kept asking in my philosophy of religion class: who was all of that reilgious philosophy written for? I mean, I may knock Alvin Plantinga or Peter van Inwagen or whomever, not just because it’s fun to take shots at people who are more intelligent that I can possibly become, but because I wanted these guys to lay their feelings (yes, feelings) out on the line. I wanted to hear some philosopher say, “look buddy, this is what I believe. And no, wise guy, I don’t have a legitimate reason for doing so. It’s all about what I feel when I’m in church, or when I know that God is with me”. This is the way that most believers speak about their beliefs. They say, look, if you don’t appreciate what I believe, then you can take your non-believing, condemned ass out somewhere and take a hike. I was waiting for the moment when I would read one of these guys say, “you don’t believe, then that’s too bad. I’m dusting off my feet, now”. But nope. All I read was arguments. All of those premises, and inferences, and conclusions, possibility and probability and all those possible worlds… The funny thing is, is that when you get down to the wire, arguing for the existence of God is like explaining to someone who doesn’t like chocolate that chocolate tastes good. You can’t say exactly what makes chocolate good other than saying that you feel the goodness when you put it in your mouth. When you eat chocolate, your mouth goes, “yeah”. If you don’t experience the “yeah” you never will. You can put up the most logically correct argument, and the world will look at you, and philosophers will adore you, and tell you that your proof for the existence of God is elegant and wonderful. But the plain truth is, is that no matter how wonderful, there will always be some asshole (most likely me) that shrugs and says, “nah, I ain’t buying it”. No matter if your argument pushes the existence of God from possible to probable (and if you’re reading the Bible, from probable to certain), so long as any person can say they ain’t convinced, your wonderful, logically correct theory is just another example of overthinking on a rather simple thing. And the lesson is this: No matter what anyone, philosopher or otherwise, will tell you, God is more than the sum of our arguments. We cannot ignore the fact that what we feel, call it faith if you want, is at the heart of our belief in God. There isn’t an argument that any man can construct that can sway, crush, or create faith in the hearts of men. And that is a capital T truth. But then, I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before. I think that I like this one from the Book of Luke: The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “here it is”, or “there it is”, because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21) ’nuff said.

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