Reading George Fox

Faith Not Reason

I left an extended version of this response as a comment on Keith Giles’s posted “Saved by Zero”.

In 1936 Alfred Tarski proved that no formal system can prove its own truth, which is a pretty big impediment to using mathematics to justify God’s existence.

Even if one could get around that, it’s probably impossible to prove the existence of God in any meaningful way. Trying to reason from fundamental physics (which we still don’t fully understand) or a logical system devised by humans isn’t going to get us there.

In an extreme case, how would one tell the difference between a materialistic, deterministic universe and a universe set in motion by an omnipotent and omniscient watchmaker God?

How can one be sure that a revelation is from God or from the natural workings of the human brain, which we still only rudimentarily understand? Or perhaps God determined that those workings would occur?

There’s no there there.

Belief in the divine/spiritual realm comes down to faith. As does disbelief in those things. And if understand correctly, Jesus said something along the lines of not relying on human reason but relying on him instead.

Personally, I’m an atheistic Quaker with a psychological understanding of the religious experience. But that’s my personal truth, I don’t think it’s possible to reason another into believing it, nor do I care to try. We’ll probably get closer to the big “T” Truth by sharing our personal glosses on the divine rather than by trying to decide which is best.1

Written in Friendship.

  1. Which, to a rough approximation, is the philosophy behind Quakerism.