Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not

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Launonen , L & Mullins , R T 2021 , ' Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not ' , Religions , vol. 12 , no. 11 , 956 . https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110956

Title: Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not
Author: Launonen, Lari; Mullins, R. T.
Contributor organization: Faculty of Theology
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2021-11
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Religions
ISSN: 2077-1444
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110956
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/337410
Abstract: The cognitive science of religion (CSR) indicates that belief in supernatural agents, or “gods”, is underpinned by maturationally natural cognitive biases and systems (Natural Religion). It is unclear, however, whether theism is natural. Does the god concept that our cognitive biases and systems give rise to approximate theism? In other words, is Natural Religion “theism-tracking”? As Christian theologians have different views of what God is like, we argue that the answer depends partly on one’s model of God. We discuss two models: classical theism and open theism. We argue that classical theism is far from being natural. The classical divine attributes are very hard to comprehend. Moreover, people naturally conceptualize God as a special sort of person, but the classical God strongly deviates from our cognitive expectations about persons. Open theism is much more natural. However, recent findings in CSR challenge the suggestion that Natural Religion tracks open theism. The possibility that we are “born idolaters” rather than “born believers” might undermine the Christian doctrine of general revelation and attempts to make CSR compatible with theology.
Subject: 611 Philosophy
515 Psychology
Cognitive Science of Religion
natural religion
maturational naturalness
614 Theology
Open Theism
Classical Theism
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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