Indeed, what kind of Thinker believes in God… and how?

I received an article today that began asking:

“A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

 Your answer to this question will help me guess whether you believe in God.”

The article (read the whole article here: goes on to share that according to studies belief in a god is a natural instinct, just as the natural instinct is to answer the above question by saying 10 cents.

The answer to the above question however is not 10 cents, its five cents.

The article’s claim is that it takes a critical and reflective (analytical) moment to override instinct and give the right answer.  According to studies people who do not do this (critical analysis) tend to believe in God (they are following pre-programmed instincts… blindly), and people who do think critically (and accurately) tend… well I guess not to believe in God.

I think the article is right.

I also knew that the answer was 5 cents.  I’m a pretty logical (and analytical thinker) who is a former math major and philosophy major.  I shouldn’t get any credit to getting that right, I’ve been wired (re-wired?) that way and it has more to do with people around me than any talent of my own.

I also believe in God.  Am I defying the test results?  No.  I think I am confirming them, and a whole lot of other people do as well.

Because I do not believe in God the way I did as a child, the way instinct first led me to belief.  I have radically altered my understanding of God, faith, and belief.  (Or I should say that has been radically altered in me – I didn’t do it all myself.)

I think the test says as much about different approaches to belief (frankly I think it says more about that) than it does about belief versus non-belief.  One of my favorite thinkers is Peter Rollins (an advocate of pyro-theology who has a lot to say about not believing in God and his book Insurrection is must read as well as How (Not) to Speak of God and his newest book The Idolatry of God though in the interest of time just Insurrection will do) and he is fond of reminding us that Christ doubted God on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Doubt is a natural part of faith.  Doubt is as much a part of our spiritual inclination to God as belief in a god is instinctual to human life.  The question is: what do we do with that doubt?  A certain type of believer sees it as weakness and shoves it away.  Another type of faith embraces it, lives with it, loves it, wants to see where it will take us because doubt is part of us and to deny it is to deny not only who we are, but who God is. Doubt calls us to faithfulness because it causes us to question our conceptions (pre-conceptions and post-conceptions) of God, theology, belief, morality, ways and means…. It calls us to question these and find our own instinctual answers lacking, and then to question our analytical responses, and to question the questions… doubt calls us to question and find a sort of peace in a world with more questions than answers, more doubt than certainty, and not find that a threat to God – but to find that is where God is.  Thanks be to Doubt.  Amen.

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on February 26, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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