God?If God exists (here I am referring to a monotheistic God) then God would necessarily be in a wholly different category from every created, materialistic thing we see and study around us. Thus, God couldn't be studied in the same way as we study rocks, or trees, or calculus. What kind of "God" could be comprehended merely by using the same methods used to study everyday objects we can hold in our hand or under our microscope? No "God" that anyone has every believed in for very long, that's for sure. Of course, science and philosophy and critical inquiry have an important place in the discussion of religion. But perhaps in addition to those there is more to it.

Brian McLaren put it this way:

But what if … [a certain viewpoint]'s preferred type of knowledge is not the appropriate medium of experience? … What if all forms of knowledge, which are appropriate for every single other entity in the universe, are in this one case inappropriate for "knowing" God – since an uncreated God would, by definition, be in a separate category from every created thing? What if, simply because God is in a category apart from every other thing or force or entity in the universe, another medium of experience is required, and what if this medium of experience requires faith of some sort? And what if this sort of faith is not an example of "bad faith" (i.e., make-believe, self-hypnosis, and so forth) and not an unwarranted claim of certainty, but rather an honest kind of good faith, worth of the self-investment of intelligent people, an act of integrity and humility, not escape and self-deception? (McLaren, Finding Faith, p.103)

Again, this isn't to belittle at all the role of rational, philosophical, historical and scientific inquiry. Those methods are all important as far as they go. But instead I am suggesting that rigidly applying the same methodology used for studying mundane things would be in some sense deficient when considering divine things.

Further reading: