FAITH

   
     
 

I think many philosophers and intellectuals make the mistake of regarding the existence or non-existence of God as a question for the intellect when, at least in my experience of it, it is more a question of perception.

There is little point in expecting to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion by considering objectively verifiable evidence when in fact there isn't any such evidence.  In my opinion there never will be.  Anyone attempting to discover the truth of the matter by this method must therefore believe God does not exist--simply because there is no objectively verifiable evidence that he does.  (It is also the case that there is no evidence that he doesn't, but that's another question.)

Religion makes sense only from within its perception of reality.  To know whether God is real or not we have to try it out.  We get nowhere by trying to assess the pros and cons of probability from evidence to decide one way or the other.  If we really are curious to know we must take the plunge. This does not by any means require us to leave our reason and critical faculties behind.  It is just that they are applied from inside the question, rather than from outside it.

In my experience, when I was an atheist I entertained a firm belief that God does not exist, that he is nothing more than a childish fantasy. I believed that the continued progress of science would eventually solve all unknown questions, and put to rest all such delusions as God. This was a positive belief, not an absence of it.  When I needed to justify my position in argument, my main concern was to put forward reasons why I should not expand my viewpoint, why my faith in reason was absolute.

After some further experience of life I began to have doubts.  There was no "road to Damascus" event, or anything of that kind, but rather a series of small experiences which seemed mysterious and which I could not account for from within my constrained viewpoint.  There seemed to be something beyond the reach of reason or psychology which lay behind human motivation.  So instead of denying that looking for God was a worthwhile pursuit I began to search for him.  Following this line of interest eventually led me to God, not as something reasoned out from objective evidence, but as something objectively real, but subjectively perceived.  It is not the weighing up of evidence, but an enhanced perception, which reveals God.  It is more akin to opening another eye than to valid reasoning.  It changes the viewpoint from which we perceive reality.

In my opinion, God can only ever be subjectively perceived by individuals. This does not necessarily make such individuals deluded; it may make atheists blind.

William W Towamba  NSW


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