Is it reasonable to believe that a personal god does not exist?

At least until said god reveals him/herself to you personally? General revelation such as the nature of the physical universe cannot get us beyond the idea of a creator to a creator that can be related to in some manner analogous to the way we relate to the persons we know in day-to-day life.

And it doesn’t really add anything to say that the creator communicates through other agents like members of a church, because it keeps us from being able to distinguish between the personal agency of the members of the church and the supposed personal agency of the creator. It’s possible that said members have misinterpreted their experience (that they suppose to be a personal revelation from the creator), and there’s no way to discount that possibility by examining their experience for yourself, and no original copy of guaranteed personal revelation from the creator to compare it to in any case.

The concept of a “personal God” is cut from protestant cloth (their idea of a “personal Lord and Savior” - a concept not found in Scripture). The Catholic Church has never taught that God interacts with each of us on a personal level which is unique to each of us, in a manner that we can perceive (which is how I am defining the concept of a “personal God”).

Rather, the Catholic Church (and the Jewish Church) teach that God interacts with us as a Church (ie, in some collective capacity), not as individuals. A person cannot Baptize him/herself (S/he can validly Baptize anybody EXCEPT himself/herself). A priest cannot grant himself absolution. (Theologically, a priest could validly consecrate Eucharist by himself, but this is forbidden under current Canon Law. This is the only Sacrament that can be validly performed in isolation, though it is not permitted because of the isolation.)

So it is not unreasonable to say that the protestant idea of a “personal God” (which would apply to EVERYBODY) is false. But it would be unreasonable to claim that NOBODY has ever had a personal experience with God.

The ordinary relationship of us to God is through the Church. There are extraordinary (ie, not ordinary) exceptions, such as prophets and visionaries.

Although I think that David gave a good answer above, I would ask this…
What do you mean by “a personal god”? What does this term mean to you? Where did you hear it?

We would really need to know this first before we can give a truly meaningful answer.

In a more general sense…I have to wonder why people feel the need to believe something (or someone) doesn’t exist just because they have not experienced it yet.
Various planets and moons have been discovered gradually over time and whether one believed in them or not…they still existed.

Is it “reasonable” to believe a personal God does NOT exist until He reveals Himself to you"? I suppose one can make that argument…but why??? Why close one’s mind and heart to grace?


No, not reasonable. I won’t go and give a course of ethics and natural law to explain why God IS a personal God, which can be perfectly explained. Instead, I will just refer you to the response of an apologist in CAF. [](“I won’t go and give a course of ethics and natural law to explain why God IS a personal God, which can be perfectly explained. Instead, I will just refer you to the response of an apologist in CAF.”)

Good question. One thing (among many others I’m sure) that should be pointed out is that our doctrine of God says that he is personal and infinite. I think that last word is important wrt understanding what “personal” means wrt God.

Genesis 1: 26-27 defines the personal relationship between God and each human being.

Who are we praying too if not to God?
Of course God is always with us. God left us the Church but are you saying when we pray it has to be in the Church in the presence of the Euchurist?

No. To insist on God personally revealing Himself to each person smacks of something like solipsism: the idea that I can only be sure that I myself exist, since everything else could be an illusion or a dream. Our faith describes a God who reaches out to us as a community, a people. This means that God does not need to make a personal revelation to each person.

If anything, the process typically goes more like this: we begin as members of the Church, learning about God and all that God has revealed, and what it implies for the state of the world. We accept this because we trust our teachers, especially our parents.

Also, as members of the Church, we come into relationship with that God. In the sacraments, in prayer and Bible-reading, in our relationships with others among the faithful, we come to a deeper knowledge of God, and even experience God’s presence for ourselves. Because of our earlier training, and possibly renewed study sparked by our encounter with God, we recognize now what earlier had only been described to us.

It is then that we come to fullness of faith, to the intimacy with God that we and God had hoped for all along.

Does this mean that God did not exist, or was not personal, until we encountered Him? Not at all, of course. We could not encounter someone who did not exist, and the person we encounter was there all along, even if we did not recognize Him at first.

2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.37

From our Catechism…


I still don’t understand what you mean by “personal God.” Do you mean a God that interacts with His creation?

Methods of accepting Jesus speak of personal relationship with the Savior. We are joined to the Church in Heaven (Church Triumphant) and in Purgatory (Church Suffering) through our baptism (cf 1 Peter 3:20-21, Eph 4:5). Being aware of our connection to the rest of the Church is important, but we should not neglect our own personal relationship with our Lord either.

As with most things Catholic, it’s not either/or…it’s both/and.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church weighs in on the subject of personal relationship with Jesus: Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: “You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.” The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the “image of the invisible God”, is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God (#299).

You see, we must neither confine our relationship with Jesus to Holy Mass nor the quiet of our rooms, for Jesus Christ is both King and Brother. While different spiritualities appeal to different people, we must both unite ourselves with the whole Church and present ourselves to Jesus Christ as individuals. To loose one is to diminish the other.

Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus should be more than just a one-time event; instead it is a daily act of love and gratitude for our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. Our response to His love must never be merely a fond memory of the day we gave our lives to Christ.

Having said all that, we shouldn’t loose sight of the need to truly give ourselves over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Evangelical’s surrender-event is a good model; daily conversion of the heart has to start somewhere…we just must never let it remain there.

When evangelists ask me if I’d accepted Jesus as personal savior?

I answered, “Yes, everyday.”


Yes. And more than that, it is reasonable to believe that no God exists at all. Not just a personal one.

You either chose to have faith in Christ or you don’t. You can’t prove God. But once you have faith in him, you have the opportunity to come to know him personally. There is no other way.

Even then, how could you be absolutely certain that the Deity exists, and is not a hallucination?

General revelation such as the nature of the physical universe cannot get us beyond the idea of a creator

The physical universe alone cannot securely get us to the idea of a Creator: it is adequately explainable by non-sentient natural processes. On the other hand, it does not disprove the existence of a Creator.

It’s possible that said members have misinterpreted their experience (that they suppose to be a personal revelation from the creator)


Religious faith is faith because it starts from the acknowledgement that reason and evidence take us only so far as knowing that the world can be explained both with and without reference to a Deity, and faith then proceeds to believe in what is not known and cannot be known: that God is here.

Father, Son(Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit; one God.
Sounds like we have a few non- believers.
Does it make you mad to say that we are praying for you??

If I might ask a question slightly different from, but related to, the OP, I wonder if protestants are more amazed when they meet Catholic who won’t speak of a “personal God”, or if Catholics are more amazed when they meet protestants who believe the Christian religion is all about “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior”?

I would say Catholics are more amazed. Most Protestents do not really know what Catholics believe as do a lot of cradle Catholics themselves.

Christ is the head of the Church and left us with apostolic succession, thus the first Pope in succession with St. Peter until today. The Church is the body of Christ, but when I say my roseries and other prayers outside of the Church and ask for our Blessed Mothers intersection I am praying for her help in or out of the Church. Of course we should always be in God’ house if possible.

But whosoever truly believes in him and follows him as our Lord and Saviour and goes to confession will still work out their salvation with fear and trembling; but with more Peace in their heart.

Protestents will tell you they are saved by Grace and that is all required.
I believe if you are truly saved then you have to remain in Jesus Christ’s grace without sin and try to follow him, which is impossible. Even Pope Francis goes to confession.

The Trinity has to be with us personally in or out of the Church if not we are condemned already.

Follow him!!!

Um, first, I do believe in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, I also acknowledge that my belief is a belief, not knowledge.

Even were I not to believe, I cannot see any reason why I should be unhappy to be prayed for.

Nicely put because I think it points up the crux of the problem…In the above you are describing two very different things. In my mind, the term “personal god” does not equal “personal savior”. Allow me to explain…

Jesus as “personal Lord and Savior” is perfectly acceptable…Why? because Jesus has saved me personally. He is the savior of my person…my personal savior.

“God”, “The Trinity” on the other hand is NOT a “personal God”. Why because I do not own them or possess them. God possesses me, not the other way around.

Think if it like this…I have a “personal car” a “personal house” a “personal computer” etc. Each of these things is mine personally and they do the things I tell them to do (transport me, house me, compute or communicate my thoughts etc.). They are MINE personally.

God, the Father, is not “mine”, I am His. This is something quite different. I am to do as He bids me to do. This does not preclude a close “personal” relationship…but such a relationship is NOT = to a “personal god”.
I had parents who I love and obeyed…I never described them as my “personal parents”, they are simply my parents.
I have a boss who I respect and obey…I never describe him as my “personal boss”, he is simply my boss.
Why would I describe God as a “personal god”? He is simply my God.

So my guess is that the disconnect comes in at the point where “personal” is added to the conversation.

I hope the ramblings above make some sense…:wink:


You are a seeker after Truth. You realize the importance of revelation to a religion. Now you are wondering whether it is possible to determine the genuine from the phony.

In addition, because of this difficulty, you are wondering if there is ANY genuine revelation at all.

You are here posting on a Catholic forum. Catholics do believe that they have genuine revelation, and for many convincing reasons.

Unlike what one previous poster said, “belief” is not different from “knowledge.” If it were, none of the world as we know it could function, since very little of what we “know” has been proven individually to us. We base our knowledge on human faith and with religion, Divine Faith.

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