The faculty of belief
This is something I wanted to answer, which is too long for a comment box, and significant enough to allow a violation of my rule against weekday postings.
Someone who rejoices in the moniker Surly One comments: "If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God exists, and wants me to believe in him, it should be easy for him to make this happen."
Oddly enough, back when I was an atheist, this was my exact conclusion as well. My reasoning forced me to the next logical step, which I hope you can deduce.
Before we answer the question, let me point out that God (if he is as described) does not want your mere belief. The fallen angels (if they are as described) obviously "believe" that God Almighty exists, but they rebel against his authority and do not love him. So something more than mere belief seems to be indicated here. What it is?
Another question would be--what is the nature of the belief God (if He has the sense God gave a duck) is said to want?
I suppose the maker of a robot could program the robot with an Asimovian Three Laws of Theology or somesuch rot, but in that case the robot's "belief" would then of course be nothing of the kind. It would be a mechanical repetition, like listening to your own voice on a phonograph, not the belief of another moral agent. Nothing in our experience suggest that human can be "programmed" like machines into believing anything, not even by God Almighty. As an author I can assure you that even fictional characters I invent in my own head cannot be made to believe what I want them to believe, or do what I want them to do, if their nature goes against it (and here we are only talking about a fictional and make-believe nature, not a real nature). So, when we speak of 'making' us believe in him, God (if he is as described) would not have recourse to mind-control. He wants belief freely given, because otherwise it is not really 'belief' at all, but parrot-noises.
Next question: what would be necessary for making this easy in just the way you (and I) deduced it must be?
In other words, if logic suggests that an omniscient and benevolent God who wants us to believe in him would arrange provisions as necessary to make us believe in him, what would those provisions be? If we can deduce what they would be, and if we then see such provision in evidence around us, while this does not prove God exists necessarily, it would defeat the argument that the lack of such provision indicates no such God exists.
What is the provision of making us believe?
If the act of making one believe were dependent, let us say, on empirical evidence, sense-impression evidence, then those people not in a position to see Christ with their eyeballs, and those people not in a position to assess the credibility of surviving documents could not be made to believe. Paradoxically, this means that if Omnipotence wants you to believe in him, He would have to use a means more obvious than empirical sense impressions, not less.
If the act of making one believe were dependent, let us say, on a philosophical argument, on logic and reason, then those people not inclined by nature nor trained by education in logical reasoning would be in a position to be made to believe. Paradoxically, this means that if Omnipotence wants you to believe in him, he would have to use a means more obvious than philosophical argument (which is the type of argument you are asking me to produce), not less.
This would seem to imply, if the Omnipotent God is a logical and elegant creator of Man, that there must be something in man, some provision, or faculty or innate knowledge or readily-available means, a means available even to the blind and to the unlettered, to come to know God.( Collapse )