Heythrop College Publications

Baxter, Anthony (1997) Can One be Cognitively Conscious of God? The Heythrop Journal, 38 (1), pp. 15-34. [Journal Article]

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/1468-2265.00034
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    How do humans ‘register’ God: attain knowledge or revelation of God? Analysis is familiar in terms of explanatory hypothesis, necessity, authority and commitment. However individuals speak also of ‘experience’ or ‘consciousness’ of God/Christ/grace – received widely, not just by an esoteric few. But may we properly hold that people can be cognitively aware of God? Undoubtedly such speech has problematic aspects. Not only do psychosis, self-deception, gullibility recur. Commentators are liable to enlist what may be termed the A-conceptual Lucidity picture, which critically fails. Various positions urged by thinkers rule out by definition the very possibility of cognitive awareness of God. Some analysts assert: a person’s experiencing x is constituted throughout by the person’s use of concepts in toto reached previously and independently. But, why adopt any a priori dismissiveness? We should favour a portrayal of people’s epistemic situation respecting God called the Consciousness Portrayal. Phrases therein include: ‘God’s gracious, guiding activity’; ‘a person’s access to God’; ‘attentive consciousness/conceptualization/knowledge of God’; ‘diverse levels or modes of consciousness’; ‘God’s guidance in a person’s creatively picking out concepts’; and ‘“cognition” which, as regards meaning, is not just a function of calculative reasoning’. Alertness to usage in non-religious contexts aids our finding the religious phrasing intelligible. The Portrayal is approachable from an internal and external angle. Opponents’ challenges to the Portrayal invoke some broad epistemological theses, often pronounced intrinsic to ‘rationality’. But we fittingly espouse certain contrasting epistemological views. And these prove to fortify the Consciousness Portrayal.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: The Heythrop Journal
    Department: Theology
    Depositing User: Dr Anthony Baxter
    Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2010 14:56
    Last Modified: 03 Feb 2012 09:53
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/47

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