Re: atheism vs theism

From: Steve Petermann (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 09:50:15 EDT

  • Next message: Moorad Alexanian: "Re: atheism vs theism"

    Hello Adrian,

    This raises an interesting question about why we adhere to the
    presuppositions that we have and not others. If it is a matter of faith,
    then what is it that makes a person choose one set of presuppositions over
    another? I even wonder if we really make conscious decisions over the
    presuppositions that we have, or were these so subtly instilled in us
    through our upbringing that we (in general) are not aware of the influences
    that led to where we are today?

    This is a complex question because it strikes at the heart of the free will
    issue. As one who does not believe in free will, I believe we adopt various
    positions because of the enormous complex of factors: genetic,
    environmental, life experience, chance, and through God's freedom. When I
    say that belief in God is through faith, I include it as being effected by
    these other determinative factors. Faith as a psychological function is
    effected by our genetic makeup and personal history. This type of faith is
    an epistemological function of determining the reliability of something in
    our belief framework. Faith as a metaphysical principal relates to our
    unity in being part of the divine life. It is a relational term that leads
    to epistemology but is not knowledge, per se. I would stipulate that both
    atheists and theists adopt their positions primarily because of prior
    conditions related to personality archetype, psychological development, etc.
    As an example, if a person is an introverted, thinking archetype as Jung
    describes, they may have difficulty relating to other people. Their
    individuation may overwhelm any sense of participation with others. Because
    this type of person has difficulty with subject-subject dynamics, they may
    also have difficulty relating to a personal God concept. They just flat
    don't get it. This is not a volitional failing on their part but a feature
    of their makeup. I suspect that many atheists also have problems relating
    to other people. Then there are developmental aspects where a person may
    have had a very bad experience in their youth with religious concepts either
    from a parent or a militant believer. A factor of that sort could also
    create a resistance to any form of religion. What I am trying to stress is
    that the adoption of a belief system is not volitional, it is the creation
    of many factors that even today continue to modify that position. While we
    may critique an atheist's position, it should not be done from a condemning
    framework but one of agape. Agape not only loves unconditionally, it also
    desires the best for the other. This seeking of change, however, should be
    done in all humility. After all in the final analysis, *we* may be the ones
    in need of change.

    All the Best,
    Steve Petermann

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