The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct

The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct

The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct

The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct

Synopsis

Professor Kainz's short study touches upon some of the central issues at the heart of the philosophical investigation of God.... Kainz writes movingly of the profound changes within the person once he has received the 'light of faith.'... There is much to admire in this work. In addition to the fine essays on God and faith, there is a scriptural meditation on the divine attributes, a stirring critique of contemporary forms of idolatry, and a brief reflection on the possibility of resurrection. With its graceful mixture of wit, insight and moderation, this small volume should provide the beleaguered theist with a valuable weapon in his struggle against the new atheists.

Excerpt

Books against religion and belief in God are plentiful in our day and often make the best-seller lists. Witness the success of Richard Dawkins’s The God Illusion, Christopher Hitchens’s God is Not Great, Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, and Sam Harris’s Letters to a Christian Nation. But a particular handicap of such books, and of atheism in general, is that it is impossible to prove the non-existence of any being, in the universe as a whole. Realizing this, Richard Dawkins, to his credit, “hedges his bet,” admitting that his certainty about God’s nonexistence is only a 6 on a scale of 7.

The success of such would-be exposés indicates that a lot of people are interested in finding out more about the non-existence of this particular being. Considering this ongoing negative interest, how then are we to make sense of St. Paul’s assertion, when speaking against “those who suppress the truth,” that “What can be known about God is evident.… Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse.” “Evident,” says St. Paul! He speaks as if it should be straightforward for any rational and open-minded person to come to a belief in the existence and power of a divine Being. But, as a matter of fact, there was relatively little atheism in that era, compared to our own, although theism took on many forms, often idolatrous and superstitious, and even cruel.

What is it in our era that keeps us from making what St. Paul considered to be the obvious deductions about God, and then go on from there? If being surrounded by God’s creations—that is, natural things—is an important factor in recognizing the Creator, this seems to be lacking in the modern industrialized world. in ancient times,

1. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 51.

2. Rom 1:19–20. New American Bible, 1993–94, used for all biblical citations.

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