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  • Print publication year: 2001
  • Online publication date: November 2009

10 - Seeking But Not Believing: Confessions of a Practicing Agnostic

Summary

For some, belief in God – that is, belief in a perfect supernatural person – is very naturally produced or sustained by religious experiences. If, however, there is a God, then I suspect his plan for me is more subtle. For though I occasionally have experiences at least analogous to those Rudolf Otto calls “numinous,” they are vague and fleeting – they don't come close to producing belief. And while I do feel strongly inclined to form beliefs about God when I read theistic scriptures, the beliefs are of the sort, “Surely this wasn't inspired by God”; so what Calvin calls “the secret testimony of the Spirit” is clearly a secret kept from me. In general, then, I simply do not have vivid experiences of the sort that directly cause people to believe in God. Seeing is believing, but if God is real then I suffer from religious blindness or at least blurred religious vision.

Of course, the visually impaired can make inferences about what they cannot clearly see. And, because of my philosophical training, I am confident (some would say overconfident) in my ability to make correct inferences concerning God's existence. But after years of searching and researching, I have come to believe that the inferential evidence concerning God's existence is, at least at the present time, ambiguous. One consequence of this is that I am an agnostic. I don't believe with any confidence that God exists, nor do I believe with any confidence that God does not exist. Though I won't be terribly surprised if I one day meet my maker, I also take seriously the possibility that I have no maker, that nature is a closed system.

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Divine Hiddenness
  • Online ISBN: 9780511606090
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511606090
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