Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jeff Cook, "Could Believing in God Harm Your Soul?

Cook:
Could Believing in God Harm Your Soul?

Throughout Christian history it has been common to judge those who do not believe in God as not simply unwise, but morally suspect. That if a person did not believe in God, this was not simply a cognitive conclusion; it was a mark against that person’s character. Yet I know many men and women who want God to exist, know far more about the philosophical arguments for God-belief than I do, yet fail to embrace theism. Such folks are by all accounts honest and often doing the best with what they have—and this is a puzzle.

Perhaps those of us who wrestle with God belief are actually in the precise place God desires us to be. Perhaps times of non-belief and the experience of God’s absence can have real value. That was my experience (which I chronicle here), it’s the experience of many I care about, and it is common experience in the Bible.
Do you think “believing in God” can be detrimental to faith, God-belief, the soul — as Jeff Cook explains this in the post? Can God-belief diminish desire for God?
 
God’s hiddenness points to the fact that God values our desires more than our beliefs. I have argued over the past month that wanting God to exist is more important than believing in God (here and here), because I hold that pursuits of the heart are more important than rational deductions and one’s ontology. Both are important of course, but I think there are good reasons for seeing reason as secondary. In my own experience, the material that moved me most in reconsidering God belief was all about desire and it came form a French mathematician named Blaise Pascal.

I can hear it now, “What, the wager guy?” If all you know of Pascal is the Wager Argument prepare to have your heart explode. I have placed some of the Pensees below in an order that I find compelling, and because Pascal’s quotes are so good I couldn’t help adding my reflections in brackets to push the argument. I would love to hear your thoughts, particularly from those of you who have trouble believing in God.
I love Jeff's writings and have followed him for the past few months. It is his honesty and passionate search for truth that I value most. I'm looking forward to reviewing his new book. You can finish the rest of this post HERE.

--Nick

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