Reason as a Venture of Trust [SSL 306]

I’m back to bringing you some philosophy courtesy of David Bentley Hart. This time an explanation of how first principles precede reason in determining reality from his article called Reason’s Faith from 2015

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Confusing God with the dad you got



It’s amazing the gut level response of people with problems against God, and those who believe in him, who fail to see how much their over-reaction gives them away.

God isn’t a man in the sky. He isn’t a “he”. “He” doesn’t pee on people, he doesn’t zap people, stand around glaring, or torching people. He doesn’t sleep through disasters, get kicks from evil acts, or remain aloof when humans encounter poverty, disease, or suffering. It’s a bit more complex.

This view is quite common, but also quite infantile as view of the spiritual of reality. However, we all begin somewhere. Essentially, the problem of understanding something–like the spiritual nature of existence, and a supreme Creator,–which is beyond the scope of eyesight, earshot, etc. and our full comprehension, involves first letting go of the physical assumptions we cling to. We continually thrust these suppositions on how the world MUST be and work, from our  human-ego standpoint.

No, one cannot “prove God” with weights and measures. One can’t prove ideals either, but hardly anyone is ridiculous enough to toss those away. Is anyone going to toss out ultimate Justice? What about Truth? Or Beauty? Or Goodness? Or Hope? Are they just fiction? Well, we can’t really prove them. If we take them away, a black hole is created, right in the middle of us, and what we hold dear. It’s nihilism. It assures its adherents that there is no point to existing, and many of its true loyalists end up killing themselves. Its not exactly a philosophy for bettering the world, and making it a happier and more beneficial place.

But just look around. One can’t waste the gift of life like that. Yes, it’s short, and pain and turmoil are found in many spots, but there is beauty and joy to be found as well. There is goodness, and one can do good. There is redemption, and hope. There are people to love and help. And, in the end, God, in a sense, “looks” like the dad everyone wished they had, as we carry out love in Spirit. But, yet “he’s” Other and not really like a human after all.

Reader response invitation…

Did you have a good dad, a good enough dad, or a crap-tastic one?