Why does anyone knowingly and willingly reject God?

“Goodness is that which all things desire.” - St. Thomas Aquinas

If it is our nature to seek goodness and God is the supreme good, then why does anyone knowingly and willing reject God (the supreme good)? Why does anyone knowingly and willingly reject that which is ultimately in his or her own best interest?

I take issue with the premise that anyone knowingly and willingly rejects God. But I’m interested to see some of the responses from people who do think that everyone who believes differently from them is a secret rebel who just hates God.

I do as well. However, it would appear that more than a few Catholics actually believe that this is indeed the case and that it why the majority of human beings will perish.

The person is probably not accepting propositions that others have presented about the concept that they label as “God.” Not every one making those propositions is necessarily presenting propositions that are compatible with each other. The god-concept that has been presented to some one might not even match your concept of God.

Also not every one has experiences that they can recognize as being directly from God. This is something that I think could have significant impact on some one adopting the concept.

It is not unknown for people to do something contrary to their well being. Take for example health. Most people know that exercise and healthy eating leads to good health. However when confronted with the choice of a brisk walk around the neighborhood and a healthy dinner afterwards or sitting in front of the TV pigging out on junk food, how many of us would.choose the latter?


Okay. So, you don’t actully accept the premise, namely, that anyone is *knowingly *and willingly rejecting God. They may be rejecting a particular concept of God (which is not the same thing as actually rejecting God), or they may be rejecting God out of ignorance (which is not knowingly rejecting God).

I suspect that for a lot of people knowing and rejecting God is tied in to knowing and rejecting any Father figure. This can be due to the absence of a father, or to a horrible relationship with a father, or to a bland and unloving relationship with a father.

This has been written about extensively and persuasively by psychiatrist Dr. Paul Vitz’ in his book Faith of the Fatherless. Vitz examines the biographical material available about many of the worlds most famous atheists/agnostics and shows how in each case dysfunctional relationships with the father had produced a dysfunctional relationship with God.

I really don’t believe many people WILLINGLY and/or KNOWINGLY reject God. They may reject what they perceive in a particular parish, church, or group of people who are, face it, poor ambassadors for the Kingdom.

Do you believe that the majority of human beings will perish eternally because they were so unfortunate to have had a dysfunctional relationship with their father?

I guess you haven’t come across the sort of person who says “I know what’s right, but I’m not gonna do it because I’m a rebel and I do what I want!”

There are plenty.

I take issue with Socrates’ idea that people always do what they think is good.

So, you believe there are some who actually desire misery more than happiness?

Most probably fail to recognize that God is the supreme good.

I don’t think most people have the scope to think “ultimately.” There are some (James Joyce and his “non serviam” come to mind) who enshrined rejecting God.

It’s hard to say in those “existentialist” cases, though. Joyce seemed to have been more concerned with the art of rejection than with truth. (I think he remained agnostic, but his writings at least don’t indicate that doubts of God’s existence constituted a main reason for his rejection of the Church and God’s will.)

Otherwise, there is an interplay of will and intellect. We find reasons to accept or reject propositions when other apparent (or actual, but mixed) goods prompt our will.

I love this conversation :slight_smile: It’s similar to several I ahve had over the years. I have concluded that it is impossible to fully & knowingly reject God. However, it is entirely possible to knowingly & fully reject humanity in very many ways. Indeed, most sins are the rejection of humanity to one degree or another, especially when combined with the election of self over others. And because of this we form ourselves & who we are / how we react to others. And it is on this that we shall be judged. Faith alone? Yeah, right!

Yes. It isn’t so far-fetched. I’ve experienced myself. Sometimes I know that in order to be happy, I should get my homework done early and not have to worry about it. But that doesn’t stop me from sometimes choosing selfishness, “I’d rather do this right now” and continuing the procrastination, only to be miserable when I’m rushing to finish it the last minute, or even worse, can’t get it done on time.

What about demons?


So, is it fair to say that you believe most reject God merely out of ignorance?

I don’t think it’s impossible, but I do think it’s applied to situations to which it might not actually be what’s going on.

This seems to happen all the time. Further, I think that when some one tried to communicate with another and uses the term “God” the person receiving the message may be interpreting the term to match the god-concept that was presented to them as a child or the god-concept of the community in which they grew.

As an innocuous example, if some one left the Jehovah’s Witness church and you tried to speak to them about Jesus they may think you are referring to the Archangel Gabriel that had been exhalted and given the status of “son of God.”

A real world example too that I’ve been watching is a mother decided that she would send her then 15 year old daughter to a non-denominational private Christian school. The mother herself is non-religious and while the daughter is familiar with a few storys from the bible (ex: Noah’s Arc) she’s got little theological knowledge. So a lot of her learning is coming from her classmates and they’ve been ostracizing her for her unfamiliarity with Christianity (she’s told them she doesn’t know much about God, they’ve classified her as an atheist). I’ve not yet asked her about what her current understand is of the term “God” but between the treatment that she’s gotten from her teachers and classmates who invoke the name “God” I get the impression that those representatives have painted a negative picture for her.

Consider it this way, do you think that every one that invokes a name of God will represent God well?

Quite possible for situations in which some one may only have hearsay evidence. The proposition(s) presented about a god-concept may be true but unconvincing to some one not able to perceive the evidence themselves.

Well, isn’t the rejection of our fellow human beings pretty much the same thing as rejecting God?

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

I believe that our souls ‘naturally’ seek union with God, but not with the stain of sins that we accumulate throughout our life’s journey. Moreover, being imprisoned within these bodies, we are inclined to evil. With the stains, the soul can ‘think’ it would rather serve Satan.

LOVE! :heart:

No, the will can play a role in (dis)belief-formation.

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