Why do you not believe in God?
Note: the option above should say: Science explains life, so belief in God is not required.
Why do you not believe in God?
Note: the option above should say: Science explains life, so belief in God is not required.
Why do you not believe in science?
I forgot to put an “other” in the categories. If so, please don’t feel ashmed to explain it here if I forgot anything.
Having done a bit of research using a poll for a college class, I have to say that I don’t think you’re going to get enough of a varied response on a Catholic forum to be useful to you.
All the listed objections have been dealt with ad infinitum by some of the greatest minds the world has ever produced, from Paul to Augustine to Thomas Aquinas to G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis. If people are in earnest about knowing the answer to their objections, all they have to do is read them.
It wasn’t actually my idea. My youngest boy said that I should do this poll. Seriously.
I grabbed some chapter titles from Strobel’s The Case for Faith, added a few additional possibilities, and posted them.
Overall, I think you’re right. But how can I dissapoint my boy?
He’s honestly curious about this.
In response to your second paragraph, and in some sense to the poll. It seems like there is an assumption that “Belief in the Christian God” is or should be every one’s default position, and that anyone who doesn’t is thus, “objecting” to it. Many people simply have other beliefs, that do not constitute an active objecting to the Christian God. They don’t read Christian Apologetics for the same reason that I don’t read autobiographies of Nascar drivers. I don’t even think about it, it simply isn’t part of my life or interests. I don’t hate Nascar drivers, object to them, think they are doing anything wrong, or anything like that…I’m just busy being interested in other things and have no interest in Nascar.
People don’t read the “answers to their objections”, very often, because they really aren’t objecting, their just living their lives with their differing beliefs. If someone is in some kind of personal internal struggle with Christian beliefs than those books and reading might very well be useful to them, but for those who are not struggling, those books and readings have little to offer.
If I’m not trying to learn French, why spend my time reading French Grammar books?
I don’t believe in the Christian God because I have a different religion that answers the same issues. In my experience, my faith addresses my questions and struggles more eloquently than the Christian faith.
And, on the suggestion of friends and acquaintances, I have read a good bit of Augustine, C S Lewis and a smattering of Chesterton. Intelligent men, in some cases tortured spirits but, in spite of the threats and promises, and smug challenges that there was no way I could read them and not convert…I’m still a pantheist.
I don’t believe in the Christian God because I am not a Christian.
that is an option worth adding to your poll, it seems simplistic, but very often it is the case.
But I did have this option: I do believe in God, just not the Christian God
It’s worded slightly different-- but it means the same thing. At least, if they believe in God, but not the Christian God, this fairly well means they don’t believe in the Christian God because they are not a Christian.
Seems that way to me.
Nice post Cheddar.
Similarly in my experience atheists’ beliefs re. the non-existance of God tend to be based simply on a lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, not (as is suggested by the options in the poll) arguments which ‘disprove’ His existence.
What’s the difference?
If one does not believe that there is compelling evidence, then this proves in their own minds that God does not exist in any meaningful way worth investigating further.
It may not imply strong atheism as in beliving that the evidence disproves God’s existence. But it is a form of passive atheism (something which is distinct from agnosticism) which implies that the evidence for God is weak to the point of not being worthy of further consideration.
Even the “Christian God” category contains everything from Arianism to Mormonism.
There’s only so many options available-- and if I were to get really technical, then I would have to a list well into the double digits.
“God” often comes across to non-Christians as the Christian God, or something very like it. For clarity, I would have made the option…I believe in another deity(ies) or concept of the Divine, rather than to reuse the term “God” which culturally does default to the Christian “God”.
just a head’s up as to how your options are likely to be viewed by non-Christians, who, from the title of your thread, you appeared to be targeting.
but it is your poll, and you can use any options you like.
Interestingly,you list of options includes the things that many Christians assume are the reasons that non-Christians don’t believe in the Christian God, but not many of the reasons I hear non-Christians give.
I hope some more of them join in here, I am curious what they have to say. I hang out on many forums where nearly everyone is of a non-Christian faith, and their ideas and wording might be surprising to you.
What are some of the reasons they give?
How about this?
Atheism: Personal, Immanent
Atheism: Personal, Transcendent
Atheism: Impersonal, Immanent
Atheism: Impersonal, Transcendent
Atheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Atheism: Personal – Immanent/Transcendent
Atheism: Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Atheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent
Atheism: Personal/Impersonal – Transcendent
Monotheism: Personal, Immanent
Monotheism: Personal, Transcendent
Monotheism: Impersonal, Immanent
Monotheism: Impersonal, Transcendent
Monotheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Monotheism: Personal – Immanent/Transcendent
Monotheism: Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Monotheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent
Monotheism: Personal/Impersonal – Transcendent
Polytheism: Personal, Immanent
Polytheism: Personal, Transcendent
Polytheism: Impersonal, Immanent
Polytheism: Impersonal, Transcendent
Polytheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Polytheism: Personal – Immanent/Transcendent
Polytheism: Impersonal – Immanent/Transcendent
Polytheism: Personal/Impersonal – Immanent
Polytheism: Personal/Impersonal – Transcendent
I’ve actually done this before. I tried to design a more non-intrusive way of inquiring about it without causing offense to anyone in the process.
As far as the questions related to God, gods, or no gods at all, there seems to be three basic ways of conceiving of the divine/existence.
On the one hand, there is usually a distinction between atheism, monotheism, and polytheism.
Atheism, according to The Athiest Web, is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings. Some atheists go beyond a mere absence of belief in gods: they actively believe that particular gods, or all gods, do not exist. Just lacking belief in Gods is often referred to as the “weak atheist” position; whereas believing that gods do not (or cannot) exist is known as “strong atheism”.
Monotheisms, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam tend to place divinity in a single, sovereign, supreme deity. In Western thought, only the Abrahamic religions were considered as monotheistic. However, in other cultures, other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and various Hindu denominations are also considered monotheistic by their adherents. Although it would appear simple, there are actually many types of monotheisms that one can choose from. For example, according to Wikipedia, some would argue that Theism, Deism, Monistic Theism, Pantheism, Panantheism, and Substance Monotheism could all be considered some form of monotheistic belief system.
Polytheisms tend to contemplate a divine heirarchy – each with varying ranks of ability and dominion – and is often incorporated into a system that either has gods with rather human attributes or else the deification of natural forces. Monotheistic and polytheistic elements appear to mingle in many religions. For example, many non-Christians mistakenly believe that denominations of Christianity blend into polytheism and envision the Godhead as a three different gods along with a heirarchy of angels. In Hinduism, a complicated polytheism is overarched by the pure unconditioned Absolute (or Brahman). In addition to this, henotheism is thought by some to charactierize the God of Judaism within the biblical era – with henotheism being the exclusive worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods. The belief in multiple gods is can be related to belief in spirits, demons and other supernatural forces. In a sense they are similar to animism, ancestor worship and totemism.
On the other hand, there is usually another distinction relating to some kind of personal or impersonal relationship with the divine/existence. The distinction between the personal and impersonal God (or gods) can be very hard to define. This tension appears to be due to the apparent impossibility of both extremes being completely true.
In the case of atheism, if dialectical materialism is apprehended, then the question of whether consciousness could be adequately explained in purely biological functions – or whether there would be a social component to it as well – would need to be examined (ie., the whole nature/nurture debate).
Among the questions of divinity, however, a wholly personal God (or gods), accessable in purely human terms, would apparently be insufficiently divine.
Yet, at the same time, an entirely impersonal God (or gods) would be extremely difficult to comprehend – since mere knowledge of the divine itself would mean it is not entirely impersonal after all.
Many religions conceive the divine as both personal and impersonal. Many Christians, for example, believe in the incarnated son of the all-powerful father. Meanwhile many Hindus believe that the life, death, and rebirth of gods tranpsires in a vast cycle within the unchanging perfection of the Brahman. In contrast to this, the Deist believes in the existence of a God or supreme being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason – all one needs in Deism is their own common sense and the creation to contemplate.
And yet, apparently without any hands remaining, there is the distinction between the immanent and the transcendent concepts of the the divine/existence. Although this is similar to the questions of personal/impersonal concepts of divinity/existence, the question of whether or not divinity/existence is active independent of nature or complicated within the cosmos itself (and therefore its mystery is considered beyond human comprehension). Here, too, the distinction is extremely hard to define since neither extreme is usually wholly embraced in practice.
In the case of atheism, if dialectical materialism is apprehended, then the question of whether the “supernatural” is simply defined as “the unknown” or “the impossible” would be examined.
Among the questions of divinity, however, we could have no understanding of a divinity/existence who is utterly separate from us.
Similarly, if divinity/existence is too close to us, it would so penetrating so as to dissolve into experience and could not properly be discerned from natural causes.
In this sense, an agnostic (as someone who disclaimed both “strong” atheism and theism, and who believed that the question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved and insoluble) may be more applicable. Another way of putting it is that an agnostic is someone who believes that we do not know for sure whether God exists. Some agnostics believe that we can never know. However, in recent years, the term agnostic has also been used to describe those who simply believe that the evidence for or against God is inconclusive, and therefore are undecided about the issue. To reduce the amount of confusion over the use of term agnosticism, it is recommended that usage based on a belief that we cannot know whether God exists be qualified as “strict agnosticism” and usage based on the belief that we merely do not know yet be qualified as “empirical agnosticism”.
Those were all very useful and infomative posts!
I enjoyed them.
I am a Christian and I believe in God.
If that is how you’re defining ‘monotheism’ and ‘polytheism’, then all of Hinduism would be considered ‘monotheist’. And Buddhism would transcend any of your categories.