In recent times atheists and Secular Humanists have accused the monotheistic community—Muslims, Christians, and Judaists—of caricaturing their position about God. In short, atheists and Secular Humanists clarified that all what they say is that they “do not have an idea about God” and nowhere have they claimed that “God does not exist” as their monotheistic friends would want the world believe.
Unlike their recanted position, I find their clarified position, honestly speaking, greatly theistic. How so? The demystification of “have no idea” would most certainly give an answer as to how this is so.
So, what is it to “have an idea” or, in the alternative, to “have no idea”? I must admit, this is no simple question. However, experience should tell us that the difficulty of a question does not imply let alone entail the absence of an answer; it simply calls for one to think outside the box, that’s all there is!
Interestingly, it is stimulating to consider the question in the alternative to be in direct touch with the atheists and Secular Humanists for they too argue in the alternative. Now to the question. To “have no idea” presupposes two things, namely; to consider something ‘news’ and to be unconvinced of the narratives about the thing.
To Consider Something ‘News’
Sometimes we are asked about things we neither know nor ever imagined they exist. In such scenarios, the modest answer has mostly (or always?) been “I’ve no idea”. In this situation, to “have no idea” is to tell the other party that one considers ‘news’ the thing s/he is being asked about.
Thus, to “have no idea” in this case means to seriously have no knowledge of the thing or entity asked about. Or more precisely, it means to accept having no faint idea about the thing asked. Here one who “has no idea” would be expected to develop interest and do a little bit of research to dig information about the thing.
Applying the above to atheists and Secular Humanists, one would expect them to dig information about God. Judging by how they spot ‘grand inconsistencies’ in the Holy Books of the revealed religions, one would hardly be wrong to argue that they indeed dug information about God. The above leads us to reflect on the second understanding of “having no idea” which is to be unconvinced of the narratives about the thing.
To be Unconvinced of the Narratives about the Thing
As the heading itself suggests, to be unconvinced of the stories about the thing implies either the ‘gift of thinking’ or knowledge of the ‘gist of the thing’. By ‘gift of thinking’ I mean to be able to use ones rational and intellectual capacity to inform ones beliefs and ideologies about life. And to know the ‘gist of the thing’ is to know the essence of thing.
Accordingly, to argue that one “has no idea” about something on the basis that the narratives about the thing defy logic and/or that one’s knowledge about the nature of the thing contradicts the propagated narratives is acknowledging, implicitly or otherwise, the existence of the idea about the thing.
For atheists and Secular Humanists, the ‘gift of thinking’ more likely happens to bethe guiding philosophy in their have-no-idea-about-God assertion. Here, they contend that monotheists’ assertions that God is Almighty, Omnipresent, and Omniscient simply does not logically add up given the suffering on earth. Consequently, they have rushed to conclude that having an idea about God is ultimately a great insult to thinking. They thus have accused monotheists of suspending thinking and following instincts blindly.
And Now the Caveat…
In arguing that an Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient God cannot let the earth to suffer, the atheists and Secular humanists covertly affirm that a God of such attribute indeed exists. In so arguing, the atheists and Secular humanists do solemnly declare that such a God exists and proceed to posit that the suffering on earth should not be there given such attributes.
Thus, atheists and Secular Humanists have and intelligent understanding of God as a perfect being; one who cannot be associated with evil, suffering, wars etc. Hence, as can be seen from here, their position is that a perfect God cannot be associated with imperfections. To this end therefore, I find it tempting to conclude that when all is said and done, atheists and secular Humanists have a better understanding of God!
However,they appear to haveproblems openlyasserting about the perfectness ofGod as they fail to marry that perfection with the suffering on earth. For this reason, as a matter of hiding behind this supposed ‘unmarryability’, they have strongly accused Godof being indifferent to the suffering of humanity.
But is God really indifferent? Negative. A parent prescribes a destiny for his or her child and yet gives him or her free choice. And sometimes when the child goes astray the parent allows him or her to suffer not out of malice or indifferent but out of love. The parent does this to remind the child to use his or her free choice in such a way that such choices lead him/her to the destiny as the parent prescribed.
Similarly, the suffering on earth does not in any way defeat the ‘caringness’, the ‘lovingness’, or the omnipotence of God; perfection and suffering, as in the parent-child analogy, marry. God lets humanity to suffer to remind it that it has strayed from Him and that it has misused and abused the free will He gave them in order to search the destiny He carved for them.
Perhaps monotheists lack the word to convey the message to our atheist and Secular Humanist friends, but, most certainly, these our dear friends know God as a perfect Being, or maybe, better than that.