Belief in God Is Not a Feeling
by Al Serrato
“Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him.” Obi-Wan’s admonition to Luke Skywalker sums up what some skeptics probably think about Christianity. If it were real, they would be able to “feel it” in some tangible way, and perhaps also be able to manipulate its power. A skeptic I spoke with recently framed it this way:
“I don’t ‘feel’ God in my heart the way most theists claim to, I don’t see any external justification for his existence, and I simply see no good reason to believe. So why is it my fault that I don’t believe? God supposedly created me just the way I am, after all. So, I’m not ‘rejecting God’ since he never made himself known to me in any real way.So why is non-belief a crime at all? What is the effect of non-belief that is so horrible?”
These thoughts express, I suspect, what Americans are thinking in larger and larger numbers. Raised in a culture led in many arenas by a secular – and in many instances anti-religious – elite, they feel increasingly confident that their view that nature is “all there is” comports with the way things actually are.
So, what is wrong with “non-belief?”
I suppose the first and quickest answer is that the thought itself is a bit incoherent. Consider what is being said.“Belief” is that state of mind in which one concludes that a fact is true.I believe that the car is red. I believe that John’s explanation regarding the accident is false. There is, of course, an issue of certainty. My belief regarding the car’s color may be mistaken, due to poor lighting; or my belief that John is lying may be wrong. But it makes little sense to say that, as to the car’s color, I have no belief…
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