For context and to be open and fair for this post, I do not identify as any kind of theist, although I was rendered in a "non-denominationalist" environment.

I'm trying to progress through the following book (however, I've basically given up on it besides throwing it a life-line via this post): "God is Dead" and I Don't Feel So Good Myself:...(David, Andrew)

I'm attempting to read this because I like to at least try to approach "things" with a fair, developed perspective. I'm a non-theist and typically want to understand things from a Scientific point-of-view (i.e. is it reproducible, quantifiable, ...).

I've read the following parts and now have discontinued reading the book because of them. I'll present some here and implore someone to better explain or justify the words provided herein. As a side-note: I don't want this post being seen as a "taken out of context" situation. So, I implore readers to see the before/after, if need be.

Excerpt 1:

That is to say, the believer responds to our cognitive limitations with an inward turn, whereas the nonbeliever redoubles his calculative ambitions. It is almost as if the believer is more skeptical than the skeptic in that he is skeptical of concepts themselves.

Excerpt 2:

Yet in this abandonment, the contemplative has access to values that the contemporary atheist tends to forget, underestimate, and ignore. These values include a healthy skepticism towards abstract reductionism and scientism, sympathy for paradoxical nature of truth and its existential expression, and appreciation for the literary and figurative nature of mind.

There's a lot going on here, but I completely disagree with these words and am troubled to continue reading this book.

Can someone please offer an explanation for these words or some salvageable reason to continue reading?

  • 4
    I don't see anything Christian about this question.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 8 at 20:12
  • 1
    I respectively disagree. Moreover, there's not another suitable channel to post on. The Philosophy monitors told me to come here.
    – nate
    Apr 9 at 10:13
  • 1
    To consider Deity from a philosophical approach is impossible for us mortal creatures. Deity is Spirit and cannot be accessed by our senses. God revealed himself to such as Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Job, Elihu, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, King David and the prophets. Then, God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to reveal Himself as Father. This is the Christian Gospel. And that is what we examine here, comparatively. We do not study "metaphysics" (for want of a better term).
    – Nigel J
    Apr 9 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


Ugh. I recently finished reading "The Devil's Delusion" (David Berlinski). What a mess. I don't think I disagreed with it, but David's presentation was such that it's almost impossible to understand what he's trying to tell you. The quotes you gave above remind me of that.

If you're looking for evidence of God, you might actually find something like Behe's "The Edge of Evolution" more useful, even though it barely talks about God. You said "I'm a non-theist and typically want to understand things from a Scientific point-of-view". Good! I happen to believe that a faith firmly grounded in reason (1 Peter 3:15) is the best kind.

The first and critical step is to be open to the idea that the secular-humanist propaganda line is just that; propaganda. All those people telling you that "science proves" evolution, or deep time, are promoting a belief system. Dig a little deeper and you'll start to see that a lot of these beliefs are held in spite of the actual evidence, and that challenges abound.

Keep digging, and what you'll find is that atheistic world views are generally held not because they make the most sense of things, but because alternatives have been rejected a priori.

Keep digging, and you'll find tons of scientists that look at things differently, and believe that the evidence is actually a very good fit for Christian Scripture... not just that there is plenty of historical and archaeological evidence for the New Testament and later Old Testament, but that what we see actually fits very well with Creation circa 4,000 B.C., Noah's Flood, and so forth.

There are tons of resources out there to help you explore science from a Christian viewpoint. (There are also, unfortunately, a lot of "Christian" appeasers that try to warp Scripture to fit "scientific" claims.) Personally, I tend to point seekers at the Intelligent Design camp first, because, while those folks may uncritically accept some claims that are contrary to Scripture and to a Creationist understanding of science (and therefore, I would argue, wrong), I think they're a good starting point for learning to look past the rhetoric and make an honest assessment whether the secular-humanist claims really match up with reality. Much of their literature also doesn't try to beat you over the head with theism, allowing you rather to come to that conclusion on your own.

On closer inspection, I think I can understand what D&A are trying to say, but it's a very philosophical approach, and maybe that doesn't work for you. (It also looks like a fairly confrontational approach, which may not be ideal for someone that isn't already favorably disposed to their argument.) It's actually in a similar line to what I've presented above. Nevertheless, I think you have two options. First, if you're finding a particular book difficult, to try something else. Second, if you find yourself disagreeing, try to imagine yourself in the authors' position. Why do they believe what they claim? What external factors might be responsible for their beliefs? Why do you disagree with them? It's possible, of course, that the authors are actually wrong. Is it possible that you are wrong? Disagreement is an opportunity to examine why you believe the things you believe, and to either reaffirm or renounce those beliefs.

We have a chat room for such topics if you're interested! (I'd also be happy to discuss what you quoted in more detail, but chat would be a better venue for that.)

  • I really appreciate your thoughtful response here. It's useful, and what I was looking for. I'll follow-up with additional comments/questions via the chat you posted. Cheers.
    – nate
    Apr 9 at 16:41

Your book quotes are a long winded way of saying:

"No one is smart enough to logically deduce the nature of reality with any confidence.

The Christian acknowledges the limitations of his (and everyone else's) intelligence and learns to live well within those limits.

The atheist self deludes and tells himself that he is smart enough to rationally deduce the ultimate nature of everything, even though he should obviously know better, which is intellectual hubris and the opposite of true skepticism. "

I think it's a great argument, and it was one of the key factors that led me away from atheism.

I realised I had had to overhaul my worldview several times before, each time thinking the new iteration was perfect.

I realised that I - and all other people - are not cognitively equipped to deal with concepts like infinity, let alone causality, determinism, etc.

Finally, I realised that science has nothing to say about what happens outside of what we can observe. Making assumptions about natural laws outside of our universe is purely belief based.

  • I think your first argument is reasonable on its own, but I'm not sure (granted, I haven't read the book) it's point the authors were trying to make. Your last sentence, however, is spot on; +1 for that.
    – Matthew
    Apr 12 at 14:44
  • @Matthew What's in the quotes is an attempted loose paraphrase of the general argument of the quoted OP passages. All three things after the quotes are specific, personally experienced manifestations or corollaries of the general argument from my life, not the argument itself. Apr 12 at 22:39

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