It seems to me that across the spectrum of Christianity most believers admit that God is not a readily identifiable reality. In other words, my Christian friends can’t simply walk me to heaven’s gates and introduce me to Jesus. It just doesn’t work like that, right?
Now, since God is understood by both believers and skeptics as not being a readily identifiable reality, then what should we make of this? What should be concluded in this regard?
The Christian view concludes that God has some unknown reason for not being readily identifiable. Perhaps it is human sin, perhaps it is the mystery of God’s sovereign decree, perhaps it is some kind of concern over God potentially overriding the free-will of his creatures. Bear in mind that this did not appear to be this God’s concern within every Bible story from Genesis to Revelation.
The expectation of the Christian view is that just enough has been revealed about God in the world in order for present humanity to make a safe and informed choice. We must question this basic assumption to see if it passes muster. This is necessary regardless of whether or not the divine claims of Christianity turn out to be indisputably true in the end.
You admit there is a veil, I admit there is a veil. Since there is a veil or a wedge between faith and knowledge what must be admitted in order to move forward and be painstakingly honest in one’s position? It is the admission that nothing would appear to presently substantiate the Christian view from any other religious view ever held! This is big, this is really substantial! There exists no known bridge for you to walk me over to the house of Jesus to simply settle this dispute.
We are both at the end of our knowledge quest. That is unless this assumed God would like to start doing some more extraordinary feats as has been alleged in the past? So what does this present crisis in our knowledge do? It justifies us to doubt in the present. There is no bridge within sight and therefore it is far more honest to not play favorites. It is far more level minded to simply admit uncertainty. When one says, “I don’t know,” then they have the right to suspend all judgment in the present. A Biblical understanding of God may be a possibility, but it just as likely may not be one at all!
So where does our present reality seem to tip the scales? Here are some very relevant things to consider:
1) Mass variation = No compass
Variation of religion and thousands, perhaps millions of conceptions of a God or gods that equally lack a bridge to heaven’s door means that there exists no compass for anyone to make an informed choice. When one does choose a religion it is far more likely to stem from tradition or personal attraction to a set of beliefs.
2) Undetectability = Blindness (intellectually)
Since there is no way to detect such immaterial beings by their own definition then this attempts to erect a transcending philosophical principle by which people claim the right to believe in spite of any evidence to the contrary. This is simply unhelpful! Also, it is clearly detrimental to anyone that does not believe in the correct set of divine claims. This provides no way to identify which God to believe or even justify whether any kind of immaterial realm exists!
3) No present justifying principle = Lack of relevant knowledge
Since there is no justifying principle or bridge to fill the gap between faith and knowledge then it is most honest to admit a lack of knowledge and not draw any further conclusions from what is clearly unknown.
4) Possibility of the unknown= Possibility of a better explanation on different grounds (i.e. the neutral endeavor of science)
The Theistic picture of God = an infinite causal regress (it is a claim of immense power, knowledge, and fixed attributes without a source). Does this not sound at least a little bit fishy? The neutrality of science does not claim to definitively know the source of our origins. Science also very effectively postulates that a universe starts from simplicity, not unaccounted for complexity. A God that has no source for said immense power and knowledge requires an equally immense amount of justification to complete the loop. So far, universes that begin with a big bang require no gods as of yet. Not unless and until we can cross that bridge. Plain and simple. Based upon present knowledge belief in a God appears to be a shot into the dark. It is also problematic in that immense complexity, power, and knowledge remains unaccounted for. It’s like a dog chasing its tail forever. I rest my case. Decide for yourself my friend!