Monday, July 31, 2017

Why don't people believe in God?

I'm teaching apologetics to juniors and seniors starting in August. As a result, my reading world has largely become absorbed by apologetics, philosophy, and scientific readings.

Image result for god is great god is good bookToday, I am reading a book entitled God is Great, God is Good: Why Believe in God is Reasonable and Responsible. It's a solid collection of essays targeting what is called "The New Atheists." The third chapter is by Paul K. Moser, entitled "Evidence of a Morally Perfect God" and I want to spend just a few minutes summarizing one section of his chapter, which I found particularly good as a Calvinist.

I am constantly asked why people don't believe in God if the evidence is so plain. The answer that I traditionally give as a Calvinist is that God has not opened everyone's eyes to see the truth. God has elected some to salvation. I am not interested in defending that statement in this blog post, though I know it's contentious. With student's I typically give a much more expansive answer than that, complete with Bible passages.

The reality though is that belief in God is far more complex than traditionally understood and inquiry into who God is is NOT a simple task. Why? Moser outlines several questions that show the complexity of religious epistemology (taken from pg. 57):

  • What if God would be perfectly loving even in offering to humans any divine self-manifestation and corresponding evidence of divine reality? 
  • What would available evidence of God's existence then be like?
  • How would it call us inquirers to account before God?  
  • How might one's own lacking evidence of divine reality then concern primarily one's own moral character and attitudes before God rather than the actual availability of such evidences?
  • What if we humans, in our moral imperfection and our resistance to unselfish love, are typically not ready and willing to receive God on God's terms
  • What if human pride, including our desired self-sufficiency, obscures our apprehending (a) who God truly is, (b) the reality of God's call to us and (c) what God wants for us? 
  • What is divinely desired human knowledge of God is not a spectator sport but rather calls for obedient human knowledge of God as authoritative Lord, not as a morally indefinite creator?
See the progression here? The question isn't whether or not God has revealed himself adequately. He has. The issue now becomes an issue of morality and pride and Lordship. We do not want to submit to his Lordship because we are prideful and immoral. Belief in God is not a neutral issue as if we were doctors in a laboratory examining the evidence and come to objective conclusions. Rather, we are totally depraved and apart from God's divine decree, will remain in our own stubborn rebellion against his revelation.

That, ultimately, is why people do not believe in God.