God and Wonder

By Daniel Tippens

Throughout western history, some of the greatest minds in intellectual thought have believed in the existence of a God. Newton, John Locke, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, for example, all shared this conviction, believing that there is something magnificent which exists and has some relationship with the universe, though it also stands outside of it in one way or another.

A notable exception to this is the formidable mind of one David Hume, the 17th century Scottish philosopher whose Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion still are taught today. But what is interesting about Hume is that he is well known for being an empiricist. He does not believe that there are any self-evident truths, nor does he believe that reason is what makes us confident in our beliefs. For Hume, all knowledge is acquired and justified by experience — observation of the world — and reason is a slave to the passions. We undergo sentiment which instills our belief, and reason justifies these passions. Not the other way around. In his Dialogues, Hume uses his empiricism to undermine his readers’ confidence in the existence of God. 

To illustrate the distinction between reason giving us confidence in our beliefs and experience, consider Zeno’s paradox. Reason has it that in order to traverse the distance between any two points A and B, there is always a halfway point C between them. If there is always such a halfway point — which reason has it that there is — one could never traverse a room. However, experience tells us that one can traverse a room — just do it right now wherever you are. This is a paradox precisely because the epistemic force of reason and experience come to clash. For Hume, experience would win out, and we’d modify reason in light of it. Perhaps we would deny that there is always a halfway between two points.

When I say experience wins out, I just mean that we act in line with it — our confidence comes from experience, here, because I act in line with the belief that I can traverse a room. If a particularly annoying philosopher told me I could never cross a room and exit the door because of the infallible reasoning found in Zeno’s paradox, that wouldn’t stop me from leaving the room and telling him that he and his reason can go fuck themselves.

I don’t want to take a firm stand on the rationalism vs. empiricism debate, here. I note it only by way of introducing the important claim for this essay: that there are times when the experience of a passion alone gives us overriding confidence in a belief. A passion, here, is a sentiment of some form or another — fear, hope, guilt, anger, rage, joy, etc. If I feel fear toward something, that fear alone can provide me with defeasible confidence in the belief that a threat exists. But what I want to suggest is the stronger claim that there are times when a passion by itself can legitimately ground confidence in our belief, regardless of how that belief conflicts with reason.

Before looking at how this stronger claim might hold true, first let’s consider cases in which we don’t think experience of a passion grounds confidence in one’s belief, insofar as we would criticize the individual who has confidence on the basis of it. Suppose, for example, you ask someone why they refuse to leave their house and survive by making Amazon orders bi-weekly, and they say, “because I’m afraid of everything outside of my house. People, cars, and even the neighbor’s dog.” You’d likely say, “okay, good luck with your life,” and walk away.

There are five conditions under which, I think, we legitimately reject someone’s passion as grounding confidence in their belief. The first is to say that it is because they hold it irrationally, in the sense that the individual seems to be willfully ignoring all evidence to the contrary. In the case of our house-dweller, there is plenty of evidence available — e.g crime statistics and numbers of dog-killings, and even the testimony of others — to be confident that the world is no more scary than the inside of their home. In this way, the individual exhibits an epistemic vice — he chooses to ignore things that would sway his passion. 

Another condition is that the passion was brought about in the wrong way — the subject’s sentiment was caused and not elicited by something in the world. This sort of undermining condition is most easily illustrated through an analogy with perception. If I take a hallucinogenic drug and see an apple, then when I tell my friend that I see an apple, he would be right to criticize my confidence. Similarly, if your friend burns down a fat joint and feels crippling fear toward everything around him, you would describe him as paranoid. If a particular sentiment wasn’t brought about in the right way, we don’t take it to ground confidence in a belief. 

The third condition is related to the previous one — someone has a faulty capacity. If a person’s amygdala has been injured — or any other emotionally relevant neural bases for emotion — we don’t take them to be a reliable source when it comes to their sentimental sense of the world. Like with the hallucinogenic drug, this is because the person’s passions are being caused by a faulty capacity, and not elicited by something in the world.

Fourth, we reject someone’s sentiment when it is directed toward an inappropriate target. I can’t feel gratitude toward a rock, for rocks aren’t the kinds of things that are appropriate recipients of sincere appreciation. Only agents are. The same goes for anger toward a hurricane or a tree.

The fifth condition is speculative, but I want to throw it in anyway, which is to say that we reject someone’s sentiments as grounding confidence when they reflect a vice. Consider the house-dweller again. Even if the world is scary, he chooses to stay inside instead of facing those things that are scary. His fear dominates his actions, and one can only describe such an individual as a coward. You might think that we reject someone’s passion as a legitimate reason when it shows something vicious about the individual, either epistemically — they willfully ignore evidence — or morally — it exhibits cowardice. 

But there are times when these conditions don’t apply, and experience of a passion alone can give one confidence in believing something exists on the basis of it. Again, suppose that you were to ask someone why they believe that another person is a threat, and they say with composure, “because I have crippling fear when I am around her,” or “I sense danger in him.” Such an answer would not be strange, you need not meet any of the conditions outlined above. Such fear can ground confidence that a threat exists. 

But in this case of feeling fear around another person, you might think that your passion is still defeasible by reason (on a personal note, I don’t think it necessarily is, but you might..). You could learn more about this person — through conversation with others or research about him online — to undermine the confidence derived from your fear. After reasoning about things some more, you might think, you won’t act on the basis of your passion alone. Your passion grounds confidence, but can be defeated by reason, later.

So here’s a better example: suppose that someone is diagnosed with liver cancer and given a slim but still uncertain prognosis. She’s looked up her chances, read all the statistics, and learned of the number of people with her diagnosis who tend to make it through. Yet, she still believes she will live. If asked why, she says, because I have hope.” Despite reason dictating that she won’t make it out, wouldn’t her passion of hope be good enough in such a circumstance of rational uncertainty? Certainly, I wouldn’t criticize her for it, and this is not just because doing so would make me a real asshole.

There are times when passion alone gives us overriding confidence in our beliefs — e.g with the hopeful cancer patient. But there are also cases in which it does not. Could there be an experience of passion which would ground overriding confidence in the existence of God?


I Believe Because I Wonder

The Heart of Night

When all the stars are sown

Across the night-blue space,

With the immense unknown,

In silence face to face.

We stand in speechless awe

While Beauty marches by,

And wonder at the Law

Which wears such majesty.

How small a thing is man

In all that world-sown vast,

That he should hope or plan

Or dream his dream could last!

O doubter of the light,

Confused by fear and wrong,

Lean on the heart of night

And let love make thee strong!

The Good that is the True

Is clothed with Beauty still.

Lo, in their tent of blue,

The stars above the hill!

The poet Bliss Carman eloquently captures the character and attitude of the wondrous individual. Such an individual, first, has a sense for the majestic, feeling awe when she looks at up at the cosmos. “We stand in speechless awe, as beauty marches by. And wonder at the Law, which wears such majesty.” To feel fear is to sense what is dangerous. To feel wonder is to sense what is majestic. 

But to feel wonder also has a particular domain, according to Carman’s understanding of the passion, who says “across the night-blue space, with the immense unknown.” Anger only makes sense when directed toward agents, and wonder only makes sense when directed toward the unknown. One way to understand this is to consider how what we ascribe majesty to is precisely those things which are somewhat beyond us. Individuals of royalty are majestic, and they are those things which have an air of mystery to them. To feel wonder, then, is to sense majesty in the unknown.

Of course, in order to sense majesty in the unknown, such an individual must recognize that there is an unknown. She must recognize that there are things which lie beyond the limits of reason, which we do not and possible cannot understand completely, and can only strive toward. In this way, the wondrous individual exhibits the virtue of epistemic humility.

God, throughout western history, has been considered that thing in the unknown which instills wonder in us. It is the thing which is beautiful, epistemically beyond us, and awesome. If we agree that the experience of a passion alone can provide overriding confidence in a belief, then when one feels wonder when he looks into the unknown, I see no reason why this couldn’t be such a case. Why isn’t that passion alone sufficient to ground overriding confidence in the existence of something majestic in the mysteries of the cosmos?

Given that the nature of the belief in God (as Hume himself noted) is of a very special kind that has an air of mystery about it, to believe in a God because one feels wonder does not reflect a sense of being naive and need not be the result of willful ignorance about the evidence for or against his existence. Indeed, many of the most brilliant minds in history have been convicted that a God exists, and surely if anyone knew of the evidence for or against existence of God, it would be them. Newton, for example, criticized Descartes’ picture of the physical world because it didn’t make room for the existence of God. To believe in the existence of God because of one feels wonder need not reflect naivety or irrationality, but rather can manifest the virtue of epistemic humility — a healthy recognition of “how small a thing is man.” Belief in God from wonder also does not reflect any moral vice, surely need not be the result of a faulty capacity, and to feel wonder at the unknown isn’t inapt like feeling anger at a rock. The undermining conditions for a passion which we mentioned earlier just don’t have to apply when one looks up at the stars and is struck by wonder.

If someone were to ask me why I believe in God, then, I could legitimately and confidently tell them that it is because I wonder when I look into the unknown of the cosmos, and I don’t know of any reasons they could provide me with that could override this wondrous confidence, so long as I have done my due diligence in understanding contemporary physics. I sense something majestic in the mysterious, and that is enough.

What I particularly like about this reason for confidence in the existence of God is that it is deeply motivational. Human beings are attracted to things of beauty and awe. If you see a beautiful person, you want to know her. You want to understand more about her, and strive to get to know her more intimately. To sense beauty in the unknown, then, motivates someone who studies the natural world to understand as much as possible about it, even though he recognizes that he will never understand it fully. I said at the beginning of the essay that what it means to have confidence in a belief is that one acts in accordance with it. To have confidence in the existence of this God from wonder is to act in such a manner, which means striving to get closer to that majestic thing in the unknown.

None of this commits the wondrous individual to believing that his God must be an agent or person, for there is no reason to think that we can’t sense majesty in non-agential things. It also isn’t to believe in a heaven, hell, or even an afterlife. The wondrous individual’s God is that majestic thing which he senses when looking into the unknown, and that’s it. There is something which lies beyond reason, which we have access to through overriding passion, and that thing is awesome. In this way, what the wondrous individual believes in from his passion is something thinner, so to speak, than what people of religious conviction believe in. 

Einstein, Newton, John Locke, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz — just to name a few — were some of the greatest minds we know of who tried to understand the unknown, and they all believed in a God. Their understanding of this entity was different — some took it to be agential, and others didn’t — and I suspect that this is because they simply felt the pull of wonder when they looked at mystery, acting in accordance with it, and giving us the different products of their explorations toward the majestic.

Many individuals of deep piety and conviction show a concern for a society that becomes Godless — when its population stops believing in something majestic beyond the limits of inquiry. The ruminations above suggest an answer as to why. Failure to believe in something like a God may reflect a society that does not have a sense of wonder. They do not look up, may be “confused by fear and wrong,” and will not explore “the stars beyond the hill.”

20 thoughts on “God and Wonder

  1. This is an outstanding essay. You quoted a most beautiful poem. I especially liked these lines, which I think are the heart of the poem

    And let love make thee strong!
    The Good that is the True
    Is clothed with Beauty still.

    Like

  2. Do you know this hymn composed by William Cowper in 1773:

    God moves in a mysterious way,
        His wonders to perform;
    He plants his footsteps in the sea,
        And rides upon the storm.

    Deep in unfathomable mines
        Of never failing skill;
    He treasures up his bright designs,
        And works His sovereign will.

    Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
        The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy, and shall break
        In blessings on your head.

    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
        But trust him for his grace;
    Behind a frowning providence,
        He hides a smiling face.

    His purposes will ripen fast,
        Unfolding ev’ry hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
        But sweet will be the flow’r.

    Blind unbelief is sure to err,
        And scan his work in vain;
    God is his own interpreter,
        And he will make it plain.

    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||\
    Being wonder-struck is very fine yet most people encounter God through a plea for help and the recognition that they are powerless before an addiction or character flaw. These Woodie Guthrie heroics are a false teaching, a snare and a delusion:

    You gotta walk that lonesome valley,
    You gotta walk it by yourself,
    Nobody here can walk it for you,
    You gotta walk it by yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan,
    you published a lovely essay (From Passion to Belief) on TEA. The cavalier comments that followed made no effort to understand your argument. They were shallow, pedestrian and ant-like. None of this is surprising. But it is disappointing that no one perceived the depth of your argument.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Peter.

    I did find that none of the comments actually addressed the argument made in the essay, which was disappointing. But I did like EJ’s comment simply because it revealed his personal and intimate opinions on questioning God’s existence. Other than that, again, thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

    Ombh,

    No I didn’t know that hymn, thanks for sending it along.

    “Being wonder-struck is very fine yet most people encounter God through a plea for help and the recognition that they are powerless before an addiction or character flaw. These Woodie Guthrie heroics are a false teaching, a snare and a delusion:”

    I’m unsure if I like the reason of powerlessness before an addition or character flaw as the one motivating coming to belief in a God, though I can understand it being the reason for an encounter with God, broadly construed.

    Like

  5. But I did like EJ’s comment simply because it revealed his personal and intimate opinions on questioning God’s existence.

    I did sense it was an ironic like. But even so, I struggled to charitably interpret his comment, which lacked any kind of depth or insight. All he has done is find another pretext to restate his prejudices. We all have settled opinions and are entitled to defend them, but only after having actively considered the opposing point of view. But when they are so fixed that the bearer fails utterly to consider counterveiling points of view these settled opinions become unalterable prejudices.

    And that has no place in philosophy.

    Like

  6. Also, Peter you had mentioned wanting to read the essay I wrote for the APA blog, and it has recently been published.

    Terrific, I am hurrying over there to read it.

    Like

  7. “I did sense it was an ironic like.”

    Yeah only somewhat ironic, as I tried to remain charitable. Perhaps too charitable, if you’re right that EJ “fail[ed] utterly to consider counterveiling points of view these settled opinions bec[ame] unalterable prejudices.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Peter, I can tell you don’t like what EA has become — a prejudiced outlet that doesn’t substantively engage with arguments that are made, and perhaps a politicized venue as well.

    Just to let you know, that is partially why I dissociated myself from the site as well. It just isn’t the same outlet that I started with Dan K, some 5 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, your Gaslighting essay is outstanding. Please republish it here or on TEA.

    After a quick first read I can say you have expanded my concept of gaslighting with two new categories:

    1) the employer gaslighting his employee in preparation for dismissal proceedings. This really struck home at me because this is exactly what I have done. I prepared the stage for the dismissal proceedings with a carefully constructed e-mail trail. I considered this necessary to demonstrate all the evidence that would justify dismissal. But now I realize that, given the great power at my disposal, the other person never had a chance. He could never challenge my carefully constructed version of the events. I look back on this with shame even though at the time I sincerely considered that this was a necessary course to rid the company of an unsatisfactory performer. In this instance I was a gaslighter.

    2) the authority figure, let’s call him a prominent professor. He uses the power, status and prestige of his position to squash people and opinions he does not like. A sniff, a rolling of the eyes or a sneer is often all it takes. I see this being done in online discussions when the , er, tenured, peremptorily dismiss the opinions of others with all the hauteur they can summon.

    Your examples of de Beauvoir and CS Lewis show how very damaging this can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “the employer gaslighting his employee in preparation for dismissal proceedings. This really struck home at me because this is exactly what I have done.”

    I think this is part of what it means for a society to be litigious. There is no choice but to gaslight people with an eye tailored toward a court, given the prevalence of lawsuits and counter-lawsuits for almost every event that could warrant them.

    Like

  11. Just to let you know, that is partially why I dissociated myself from the site as well. It just isn’t the same outlet that I started with Dan K, some 5 years ago.

    Yes, and I am very sad about that. I miss the stimulating involvement but am relieved to distance myself.

    Like

  12. Just to let you know, that is partially why I dissociated myself from the site as well. It just isn’t the same outlet that I started with Dan K, some 5 years ago.

    There is an underlying process that I think helps to explain what has been happening.

    Disagreements on every possible subject are endemic to our species. And these disagreements are often vehement, positions are passionately held and pursued to the bitter end. More often than not the outcomes were decided by the exercise of power. And if you did not have enough power you allied yourself with those who possessed the power.

    But slowly we moved away from physical resolution of disagreements by adopting an adverserial process of symbolic conflict in a virtual arena before an impartial arbiter. The result was transformative for our species.

    Implicit in this system is the recognition of the right of the other to hold a point of view that challenged our own. Truth in societal matters was not absolute and could not be known with certainty. Thus in civil law a case could be decided merely on the balance of probabilities.

    But the advent of science challenged this outlook. That was because in science truth could be known with a great deal of certainty. But this came with a corollary. Untruths could not be permitted in science because they jeopardized the very nature of scientific endeavour. Untruths were not merely revealed but were also suppressed. It was not permitted to cling to or propagate untruths. And there were good reasons for this.

    With the success of science and the growth of scientism the absolutism of truth has invaded the social sphere. This has the result that it is increasingly being held that there are absolute truths governing social behaviour. The problem with this point of view is that it has a necessary corollary, that untruths must be identified and suppressed. Once this mode of thinking takes hold in society, certain people with the appropriate emotional aptitudes appoint themselves as the gatekeepers of truth and take on themselves the ‘important’ job of suppressing untruths.

    And thus the Great Silencing has begun. We are shamed, outed and suppressed for holding the wrong opinions. This is happening in large ways and in small ways, everywhere. You have just become another of the victims when you put forward an argument for the existence of God. From their perspective this is an obvious untruth and must be suppressed. Thus you were subjected to sneering condescension that was intended to suppress your point of view by conveying that it was unworthy to hold such a view. Other readers would learn from this and keep quiet. Hopefully you would learn and not advocate such a view in the future.

    It is the growth of this mode of thinking and argument that has so appalled me that I chose to go away. I have in effect been silenced.

    Like

  13. I keep coming back to this subject because it resonates so deeply and yet I struggle to understand it. Dan has done a marvellous job of describing it and he illustrates it with a most beautiful poem. Poetry is the song of the soul. The pedestrian responses to his essay largely ignored his central argument and that has been disappointing.

    As I read his essay I noted the following:

    1) We all experience awe and wonder. We all perceive majesty and beauty. It is a universal experience that varies only in the degree to which it is experienced. It has been described, analytically, as the three great transcedentals, the True, the Good and the Beautiful.

    2) It is regarded as highly admirable, a noble state, a state of exaltation. It represents the best we can be and the best we can achieve.

    3) It brings us to the edge of things we consider to be sacred. To experience the sacred is to arrive at the pinnacle of wonder.

    4) In the many expressions of art we represent these feelings in a fixed, material form so that others may experience them. They too then become objects of wonder.

    5) We love the True, the Good and the Beautiful. This love represents the highest state of our being.

    6) It is a universally felt deep yearning for beauty that finds its strongest expression in awe and wonder.

    7) But why? Where does it come from? What does this mean?

    8) It is not a property of the material world and yet we perceive it immediately and strongly.

    9) It has no survival advantage and yet it dominates our lives.

    10) Science cannot detect or measure it and yet its existence is undeniable.

    11) This is a property unique to our species. No other species show evidence of awareness of beauty, awe or wonder. Truth is invisible to them.

    12) It is the source of our species’ religious experience. It underpins all religion.

    13) It is a strange and inexplicable experience. It lies outside the explanatory world of science and of cause and effect.

    14) In the material sense of the word it is not necessary to life and yet life without it would be unbearable.

    15) We cannot create a machine that can experience this. It is not possible, either in principle or practice.

    16) We cannot imagine how a random recombination of lifeless particles could ever create our powerful awareness of the True, the Good and the Beautiful. It just does not seem even remotely possible.

    17) The existence of the True, the Good and the Beautiful is a profound mystery, one of the two great mysteries that are impenetrable to the human mind.

    18)The other great mystery is the existence of the Laws of Nature and their strange compelling power that acts everywhere, all the time, over everything with complete mathematical exactitude. No particle can escape its power. We simply do not know why this is possible.

    19) In the face of these two inexplicable, impenetrable mysteries we can do one of several things:

    a) shrug our shoulder with indifference. Such a person has the soul of an ant.
    b) deny it all, Such a person has the soul of a dishonest ant.
    c) cling to the illusion that science does really(or will) explain it. Such a person has the soul of a deluded ant. This is promissory materialism.
    d) gaze on awe and wonder, letting it possess one’s soul. Such a person is an enlightened ant.
    e) experience the revelation that these mysteries are the intimation of a greater and transcedental existence. Such a person is a spiritual ant.
    f) discover the meaning that Love, Truth, Goodness and Beauty give to life. Such a person is an inspired ant.
    g) embrace the purpose imparted by Love, Truth, Goodness and Beauty. Such a person is a purposeful ant.
    h) experience and embrace the sacredness of our existence by anchoring it in the transcedental. Such a person is a fully grounded ant who has realized his fullest and deepest potential by discovering and pursuing meaning in life inspired by a Love of the True, the Good and the Beautiful.

    20) One of the remarkable properties of our species is its capacity for emotional, intellectual and spritual growth. This growth follows the trajectory I have outlined above. The stages are:
    a) Indifference;
    b) Denial;
    c) Delusion;
    d) Enlightenment;
    e) Revelation;
    f) Meaning;
    g) Purpose;
    f) Sacralization.

    I congratulate Dan for a beautifully written, well reasoned and most stimulating essay.

    Like

  14. Daniel:
    The mysterium tremendum et fascinans and awe before the numinous, everything passing save His face are all part of the package. There is also the god of the foxhole . It has been said that the salient difference between those eras in which even scientists believed in God and ours is the metaphysical sense which is a feeling of contingency. Why anything rather than nothing is the motto of this sense of wonder. There was also a willingness to question physicalism and look at E.S.P. and uncanny phenomena which though commonplace are scoffed at.

    Like

  15. Phew, Dan-K has just posted something of an anti-religious rant on TEA (Some Stuff About God and Intelligibility).

    At first glance I was left with an impression of superficial plausibility. Then I read it again more carefully, discarding the obviously emotional claims and setting aside the question of his motivation. Slowly the flaws in his argument became apparent. And then it hit me how fundamentally defective his line of reasoning really was. I am going to have fun teasing out the errors in his reasoning, but first, Dan-T, I am interested in hearing your reaction to his post.

    Like

  16. Hey Peter,

    Sorry I haven’t been able to answer. A friend has been visiting and so I’ve been tied up, and will be for a couple more days :/ . I also don’t think I want to engage in EA’s comment thread. I guess I don’t think it’s worth it, but do you?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Dan, no problem at all. Friendship always takes priority. I was intrigued by that article because it was obviously hurriedly written and the ideas were just thrown together. Why would he do that so soon after your essay, a bare four days after you posted your essay?

    Now it happens that I know Dan-K is a committed atheist and that the expression of religious thought offends him. It occurred to me that your essay, with my strong supporting comment provoked him into hurried action.

    His basic thesis,
    – the world is not inherently intelligible;
    – there are no grounds for anything, material or moral;
    – religion depicts a violent, psychopathic God;
    – seeking unity is atavistic and a sign of immaturity;
    struck me as being poorly formulated and rather weak.

    Belief in a monotheistic God brings with it a commitment to four things
    – there is an underlying explanatory unity. God’s actions are consistent, coherent and lack contradiction;
    – there is a ground for existence and morality;
    – the world is intelligible;
    – God is the source not only of justice but also loving kindness.

    To attack the existence of God he desires to show that all four commitments are wrong.

    Now that is all fine. He is entitled to do that but he should openly declare his agenda and not disguise it as a philosophical quest.

    Where he goes badly wrong is his claim that religion depicts a violent, psychopathic God. He implicitly pretends that the New Testament was never written. He ignores that great many Old Testament references to God’s loving kindness. He fails to ask himself why there are these apparent contradictions. He is on dangerous ground here because this is a Jew talking about Jewish history.

    From his point of view God does not exist. Given that, how should he interpret the Old Testament? In that case a likely interpretation would be that the Old Testament is a quasi-historical document, written in a variety of narrative forms, by many kinds of author about the violent history of the Jewish people’s struggles. It would show how they interpret their violent history of struggle in a rough neighbourhood against a background of intense religious belief. Thus the turbulent events in their violent history are interpreted through the lens of religious belief which provides an explanatory, justificatory framework. And so they justify their violence(and suffering) by projecting it onto God.

    Or something along these lines. It is hard to reach any other conclusion if you take God out of the picture. But in that case he is not talking about a property of God but rather the struggles of the Jewish people in a rough neighbourhood as revealed in quasi-historical narratives. If he is honest about this he undercuts his argument against God. He can’t have it both ways. And he should not be cherry picking evidence.

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  18. I guess I don’t think it’s worth it, but do you?

    On reviewing the comments I feel overwhelmingly sad and fatigued. No, it is not worth it.

    Like

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