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Article

Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not

1
Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
2
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Piotr Roszak, Sasa Horvat and Stephen Dawson
Religions 2021, 12(11), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110956
Received: 31 August 2021 / Revised: 15 October 2021 / Accepted: 28 October 2021 / Published: 2 November 2021
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognitive science of religion; classical theism; open theism; Natural Religion; general revelation; natural knowledge of god; divine attributes cognitive science of religion; classical theism; open theism; Natural Religion; general revelation; natural knowledge of god; divine attributes
MDPI and ACS Style

Launonen, L.; Mullins, R.T. Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not. Religions 2021, 12, 956. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110956

AMA Style

Launonen L, Mullins RT. Why Open Theism Is Natural and Classical Theism Is Not. Religions. 2021; 12(11):956. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110956

Chicago/Turabian Style

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

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