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The class I both hated the most, and was most intrigued by in college was the Philosophy of Logic.
And the segment of that class that triggered a migraine was one using various stages and methods of “sequential calculus” to explore logic-based arguments for and against the existence of God.
On one day, I left feeling resigned and in something of a panic when the equations on the professor’s whiteboard seemed to “prove” God did not exist. The next day, the professor smirked as he added other layers of assumptions and sundry philosopher’s formulas to strongly suggest God did exist.
The lesson was there could be no proof, since each answer could be undone by introduction of new “facts,” new dimensions or formulas that were in turn ultimately doomed by the inability of finite minds to grasp the entirety of the Infinite.
In other words, we believe because, well, we want to believe. There may indeed be convincing arguments to do so, but the leap from “probably so” to “I believe it is so” is . . . intuitive.
Or, as a recent article in the Journal of Experimental Psychology finds, faith comes down to a “gut feeling” that out there, somewhere, there is a Higher Power, a Person who is good incarnate, eternal and loves us.
Researchers also found that gut feeling is more often found in people who lean toward intuitive thought processes than those to tend to dissect their decision-making processes.
While cynics likely will twitch the intellectual knee to quickly dismiss intuition as inferior to rumination, the researchers — who also plan to explore how genetics and schooling affect thinking choices — insist one approach is not provably better than the other.
Harvard researcher David Rand put it this way: “Intuitions are important and reflection is important, and you want some balance of the two. Where you are on that spectrum affects how you come out in terms of belief in God.”