Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where skeptics often go wrong on the concept of God

It seems like one of the frequent divides between religious people of various faiths and atheists/agnostics is that religious people tend to have the idea that there are two 'levels' of reality, whereas atheists/agnostics only accept the idea of one 'level' of reality.

For the atheist/agnostic, there is only level of reality, which is the 'Universe/Multiverse' and everything in it can be understood if you're a) smart enough, and b) scientifically advanced enough.

Whereas for the religious person, there's two levels of reality: there's 'creator' and 'creation'.

Creator (infinite)
Created reality (finite)

Everything in created reality can be understood if you're smart enough and scientifically advanced enough, but the 'creator' level of reality is a completely different matter.

As a being in 'created reality' you simply can't understand 'creator' reality on an intellectual level. It can't be done. It's not a matter of needing more IQ points, or more scientific knowledge, the problem is that 'created reality' is on a lower 'level' of reality. People on the 'created' level of reality are intrinsically unable to understand the infinite intellectually (our name for the 'higher level' of reality).

Ergo, to relate to God you have do it on a person-to-person basis (based on the idea that our personalities are made in God's image) or use some kind of 'faith' to jump over your 'creaturely' limitations.

So why do religious people think this way? What is the theoretical justification for two 'levels' of reality, especially when everything seems to make sense on one 'level'?

On reflection, I think that the reason for the separation between creator and created comes from God being a distinction-less object. I think this is what the idea of an 'infinite' person must mean. See my argument for this view here and here (podcast).

This causes the creator/creation divide because our reasoning operates through distinctions. The difference between a really clever smart and an average person is that the clever person is capable of ordering and categorising numerous distinctions in a useful way at a much faster rate. E.g. a good philosopher thinks of many useful distinctions between various things, and orders and categorises them under various theories in an enlightening way.

That's why our reasoning just gets it hopelessly wrong about God: God is a distinction-less object. Yet we can't think except in distinctions. And it can never be any different, unless we abandon trying to figure God out as an intellectual concept and approach Him/Her/It through faith. This either requires some form of philosophising about God or a shot in the metaphysical dark via joining a spirituality that appeals to oneself.

I would add to the creator/created divide that human consciousness draws on, or make use of, the 'creator' level of reality in some mysterious way. So we shouldn't have to understand how the mental world works. People are not from the 'creator' level of reality, what I'm saying is that consciousness somehow makes 'use' of it. This could be how humans in 'created' reality can be made in the image of the 'creator'.

(Picture of this process below, click to enlarge).

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