Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is Belief In God Natural and Intuitive?

John Calvin Image by jimforest via Flickr
There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of the divinity. This we take to be beyond controversy. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty. Ever renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops.” As Calvin further explained, “from the beginning of the world there has been no region, no city, in short, no household, that could do without religion, there lies in this a tacit confession of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all. -- John Calvin, quoted by Albert Mohler, here.
Calvin may have pressed his point too far when he speaks of "no household", but the point is well taken nonetheless. If what he claims is so, then belief in God may sufficiently rest on intuitive sense alone, and the philosopher Plantinga is right when he claims that belief is "properly basic".  The apostle Paul does not lament that people do not reach a knowledge of God through insufficient empirical evidence, but the opposite -- that people willfully suppress the knowledge of God, a knowledge which is evident from the creation, and, perhaps, as an indwelling intuition.
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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"