Saturday 19 August 2017

Assuming before knowing - You (probably) cannot know the reality of God until you have assumed the nature of that reality

People are often, and correctly, advised to seek direct knowledge of the reality of God by direct revelation.

But the process of direct revelation is 'cognitively' very simple - I mean that it can be considered to be something like a binary or yes-no kind of answer.

That is, in general, for most people (and perhaps especially the kind of spiritual 'beginners' who would be seeking knowledge concerning the reality of God) - direct knowing of fundamental matters is only solid when we are seeking an answer to a question that can be framed in a form more-or-less like: Is This True?

This matter of making assumptions concerning the nature and motivations of God before seeking knowledge by revelation/ direct knowing is therefore crucially important. If we want to know whether 'God' is real, then we need to become clear in our minds as to what kind of God we are enquiring about.

In other words: There can be no satisfactory answer to the very general question of: Is there a God? - because it depends what we mean by God.

It would be perfectly reasonable and expected to seek of knowledge of the reality of God and be convinced that No, there is no 'God'.

Assuming there is a God; then if we were actually enquiring about a false conception of God, or if we are so unclear/ confused/ imprecise what we mean by God - then it may well be more true to say: No, there is no God (if that is what you mean by God); or, more likely, no knowledge at all will be forthcoming: no answer.

This was certainly my own experience through decades of being an atheist. Advise from Christians (and others) to pray for an answer was useless or even counter-productive; because people seemed unwilling or unable to be precise enough about what they meant by God (perhaps because they were unwilling to 'limit' the concept of God); perhaps because they themselves lacked genuine knowledge of God - and/ or perhaps because they themselves had a false or contradictory idea of God.

At any rate, once I had a reasonably clear and correct idea of the nature and motivations of actual God, then I rapidly received revelation and knowledge of its (overall) correctness; and then I was gradually able to become clearer and clearer about such matters by subsequent more precise questioning.

Thus faith was established, strengthened and developed.

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