Saturday, January 05, 2019

The Metaphysics of Wishing

If religious apologists deny that their worldview finds its basis in the metaphysics of wishing makes it so, it is incumbent upon them to articulate what a worldview that is based on the metaphysics of wishing would look like and how their religious beliefs can be reliably differentiated from such a worldview.

This would be particularly difficult (I would say impossible) for those who believe that a supernatural consciousness created the universe by an act of consciousness –  an entity available to us only by means of imagination which essentially wished the universe into being. 

While any thinking adult can certainly imagine a conscious agent with superhuman powers (cf. Superman, Harry Potter, Samara Morgan, etc.), we find nothing in reality that comes even close to corresponding to such a phenomenon, no evidence that any concrete object we encounter in the world was essentially wished into being, and no credible accounts which objectively suggest that such a phenomenon is even possible.

In fact, the very concept of objectivity, itself seated squarely on a metaphysical basis which explicitly recognizes that wishing does not make it so (i.e., the primacy of existence), soberly informs us that such a phenomenon is simply not possible to begin with.

And yet, apologists for religious worldviews insist not only that their dogma is true, they even rail at non-believers for not accepting their religious claims on their say so. And still they fail to explain how their worldview differentiates from one which ultimately rests on the metaphysics of wishing makes it so.

It’s not that the criticism here is that the religious worldview in question is based on the apologist’s own wishing (though I admit that it’s difficult to rule out the role of the apologist’s own capacity for wishing and imagination as a factor in his devotion to his religious views), but that the religious worldview in question itself grants legitimacy to the metaphysics of wishing makes it so in its doctrines and teachings (cf. the doctrines of creation, miracles, divine providence, faith, prayer, etc.).

I’ve not encountered any apologist willing to take up this challenge. Perhaps in 2019 a courageous defender of the faith will take this up?

Readers are invited to comment.

by Dawson Bethrick


Ydemoc said...


Here are a few questions that popped into my mind while reading your latest. Perhaps they can be employed as useful retorts to all the apologists, "testifiers," "witnesses," and whatnot lurking among us who are constantly trying to convince us that their make-believe is true:

• So, you'd like me to accept that wishing makes it so?

• Would you like me to lie to myself?

* Can you point to something in reality, anything at all, that was created by consciousness.

• If no, then on what basis would you say I should accept your belief system?

• If yes, then please provide detailed evidence which does not rely on your imagination.

Thanks again, Dawson!


Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Ydemoc,

Those are of course very poignant questions. The notion of squirm-causing comes to mind!

Another good question, which I’ve asked many times but to which I’ve seen no good answers, is: How can I reliably distinguish between what you call “God” and what you may merely be imagining?

The problem here is all the more compounded by the fact that no matter what answer the theist might give, I still find myself having no alternative but to make use of my imagination to contemplate the religious position that the theist wants to defend.

And there’s always the old “Why be born again when you can just grow up?”

I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks and more coming as well. But I have some more posts in the cooker and hope to get one posted soon, time allowing of course!