Just a quick thought about something I will write up in a lot more detail later.
I’ve been reading lots of philosophical arguments about the existence of God this past year — some arguing that God does exist, others arguing that God does not exist.
All of them start from the assumption that we are unbiased, rational observers able to decide on the basis of the evidence we find whether or not God exists. But if Christianity is true, that isn’t really the case.
We have the God-given ability to reason logically (usually), but logical arguments are only as strong as their premises, and premises are only as reliable as the conceptual framework within which they are articulated, and those frameworks are anything but unbiased.
In 1 Cor 2 Paul said:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Cor 2:14).
I think the word “appraised” there refers to the fact that our intuition about what is good and bad and right and wrong and real and fake and true and false is gravely distorted by the fall. We have an anti-God bias built into us. We can reason about things, but we can’t properly judge the likelihood of the premises or the significance and relevance of our conclusions.
Earlier, Paul said:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:18-21.)
Our unbelief is a moral problem, not an intellectual one. I’m not sure how to reconcile this with the philosophical practice of looking for good arguments for or against the existence of God.
I’ve heard that a fideist is someone who believes there is no rational proof of God’s existence; that we just have to take it on faith. I’m not sure I’m a fideist. I think there are good reasons to believe in God, but I believe we are incapable of seeing them without the grace of God to open our hearts to them. Is that fideism? I’m not sure.