The current issue of Philosophy Now (UK) is on the relationship between philosophy and God, from the perspective of both humanists and theists, and includes this thought-provoking essay on the rationality of believing in a god who may not share your values:
"While ‘faith’ is commonly defined by atheists as ‘belief without evidence’, in practice, someone having faith in someone or something implies more than mere intellectual assent, either with or without evidence. Few Christians, Muslims, or Jews would claim to ‘have faith in’ Satan, despite many believing that something called Satan exists. So ‘having faith (in)’ suggests an endorsement of and commitment to a person, idea, or institution. Similarly, the act of ‘trusting’ goes beyond simple affirmation of existence. The entrustor chooses to live as if the entrusted will not betray them. For the theist, ‘faith’ and ‘trust’ are virtual synonyms. ... Having faith in an untrustworthy person or thing is not so uncommon: people often choose to put their faith in romantic partners who repeatedly let them down. Nor is it unheard of for voters to have faith in politicians commonly acknowledged to be corrupt, even by them. However, in both cases, the morality and rationality of maintaining these faith positions are easily criticised. Religious faith, on the other hand, is often given a free pass. Critiquing the claims made by religions and objecting to portrayals of God are common; but questioning the rationality of having faith in an untrustworthy God even if that God turns out to be real is less common: 'My God might look like a monster – a violent bully who once demanded racial cleansing and who allows great suffering in the world; but if he or she is real, you had better follow him or her' – or so the argument goes. ... Setting aside the fact that many competing groups claim their God punishes those who are not loyal to their specific religion, a person who decides to follow one particular frightening and morally incomprehensible deity still has little reason to trust that this God would not deceive them about, for instance, their salvation. Why would a God, whose values and ambitions are so different from one’s own, be beyond deception? More generally, an untrustworthy God provides no basis for assuming any level of divine protection. Just as some theists believe life’s hardships could be blessings in disguise, seemingly good events (even salvation experiences) may in fact be part of an evil God’s plan to inflict meaningless suffering, by giving false hope. And thus the betrayer adds emotional manipulation to an already bad situation. Evaluating the behaviour and personality of others is essential for making reasonable decisions about whom to trust. So having faith in a violent, uncaring or dishonest deity while refusing to tolerate these characteristics in politicians, friends, or romantic partners, involves an unreasonable double standard. Of course, few people have faith in deities who they think lie to them or pointlessly punish them. Nevertheless, many trust in a God who could. When considering the reasonableness of particular faith commitments, we should not simply consider their scientific or logical feasibility: a strong correlation between one’s personal moral values and the divine’s is essential to having a rational theistic commitment."
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