Despite Doubt: Pluralism
Why do you believe what you believe? Or maybe you are unsure if/ whether you believe in a God at all. Maybe you are in the group of individuals who are “spiritual but not religious” – a larger demographic which is growing because they just do not get the need for a community. Yet what does this really mean? Are we too slow to see God? Or are we actually free to see the concept of God with whatever content we like?
Philosophy and the concept of God often oppose each other but arguments by David Hume and Immanuel Kant question the evidence for God’s existence. Hume concluded that “the evidence for God is mixed and since modern people believe only what they can prove, they have no choice but to give up belief in God”(p.24)
Kant agreed that there “wasn’t enough evidence to prove God’s existence, but he knew he had to find a way to believe in God, otherwise life would lose all meaning.“ This idea of separating faith and knowledge is attractive to many people today. There is a security of believing in God but also in a strange way it makes their belief secure. This might lead to pluralism which in today’s understanding shows that there are many paths to God. And this idea calls us all to be open to the religious views of others.
If we separate faith and knowledge we are seen to create our own religion and the “spiritual but not religious” believe in God but are not enabling any religion to tell them what they must believe. These individuals are cobbling together a God they can believe in. But is there danger in this? Won’t everyone’s God become nothing more than a larger version of their best self?
This separation of faith and knowledge is logically impossible. How can you believe in a God who is unknowable? How would you even know that He is unknowable? Just what God do you believe in and who is the God you know?
REFLECT for a moment and respond:
Why is it important to put your faith in what you know? How would you respond to someone who says you can’t know anything about God? Which is worse, to say there is no God or there is a God, but we can’t know Him?
Holy God, help us to know you, understand you and to see what we are called to do as we live this earthly life. Enable us to grow in faith and knowledge through what you have created and what you call us to say and do and be. For we too are your creation and as we wonder about you we pray. Fill our hearts with your love as we reach out to others in your name. Amen.
Michael E Wittmer, Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith ch.3