RESPONSE/ Q&A 1
Atheism, popularly known to mean the lack of belief or disbelief inthe existence of any deity, remains an incredibly misconstruedsubject. Both theists and atheists have some degree of fallacy abouteach other. The fascinating bit about the two worldviews is that theyhold extreme belvederes concerning the belief in a deity. In his textentitled, “On Being an Atheist” McCloskey implied onseveral instances that the conventional arguments applied as “proofs”for God’s existence can never establish definitely and without adoubt that He actually exists. According to McCloskey, the only wayto determine whether God exists or not is by way of proofs.Therefore, in his examination, the proof that the theists offer insupport of their claim for the actuality of God is not conclusive andthus, has to be abandoned. A commentary on McCloskey’s claims andimplications in light of Dr. Foreman’s presentation offers acontrary opinion concerning God’s existence. In his presentationentitled, “Approaching the Question of God’s Existence,”Dr. Mark Foreman suggests that arguments do not usually intend tooffer absolute proof regarding God’s existence. Instead, they seekto provide the most appropriate explanation for the occurrences seenin the universe as a substitute clarification. These sentimentsprovide a response to the implications suggested by McCloskey and arefocused on ignoring the notion that arguments regarding God’sexistence are “proofs.” A further overview of Dr. Foreman’spresentation reveals an understanding of the term proof as carryinginevitability like the case of a math equation, and God’s existencecan never be proved in a similar manner. Furthermore, Foreman’spresentation is also founded on the argument that God’s existenceforms an excellent explanation for a number of things on earth. FromDr. Foreman’s perspective, one can understand several objections tothe implications made by McCloskey. While the arguments submitted bythe theists in support of God’s existence may be open to credibleobjections, the possibility of the existence of an error and amisapprehension of the arguments is inevitable. In light of Dr.Foreman’s presentation, a single argument by itself can never besufficient proof to justify God’s existence. In any case, acombination of several arguments has the potential to increase thefirmness of the case.
Responseto the Cosmological Argument
Concerning the cosmological argument, it is important to note thatthis forms the attempt by the individuals who believe in a deity toconfirm His existence via the presence of the cosmos. Evans and Manis(2009) suggest that the cosmological argument is founded on threeprincipal elements. These are that some contingent creatures exist,and if this is so, then a necessary being must be real. Consequently,there exist an essential being who is the definitive cause of thecontingent beings presence (Evans & Manis, 2009). In hissentiments, McCloskey says, “mere existence of the worldconstitutes no reason for believing in such a being (McCloskey, 1968,p.51).” From Evans and Manis’ explanation of the cosmologicalargument, it is evident that the phrase “Such a being” used byMcCloskey in his text implies the necessary being or the one thatexists and does not depend on anything to be actual. ReadingMcCloskey’s text, one notices that he advocates for evolution asthe acceptable way of elucidating the presence of the cosmos.Applying Evans and Manis’ conversation about the non-temporalsystem of argument, the cause of the cosmos need to be essentialbecause of a number of reasons. The general point projected by thecosmological argument is that God is an obligatory cause of theexistence of the cosmos at present and will remain so as long as itcontinues to exist. The individuals who profess this temporal form ofargument hold the belief that there exists a cause behind theactuality of the cosmos. According to Evans and Manis (2009), anecessary being can never fail to be real and is the cause of all thecontingent beings. The latter (contingent being) is the one who isreal but might as well not have existed. Questions, such as why thereexists something instead of nothing, and the reason why objectsexist, as well as the cause underlying the existence of something,become of much significance when alluding to Evan and Manis’temporal and non-temporal forms of the argument. However, most of thethings that people perceive around them do not seem to exist on theirown. They are mostly contingent on a separate cause for theirexistence.
Another claim that McCloskey makes in his text on cosmologicaldispute regards the quote, “does not entitle us to postulate anall-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause (McCloskey, 1968, p. 51).”From Evans and Manis’ perspective, the claim appears authenticbecause it is inconclusive and thus can never provide a sufficientresponse to the inquiry on God’s character. The mere fact that theargument does not identify the necessary being raises the question ofhow many they might be. Therefore, this implies the need for anindispensable being (Evans and Manis, 2009).
Responseto the Teleological Argument
Evans and Manis (2009) have provided a version of the teleologicalargument, which has been propelled by a number of philosophers.According to these authors, teleological argument regards studyingthe features of an orderly cosmos. The argument suggests that thedesign and order present in the cosmos implies that its cause must bea smart designer. Based on these sentiments, nature has instances ofdesign, and since these entities need a designer, the work of natureis perhaps that of a smart designer. McCloskey forms a part of thephilosophers who question this argument. In his assertion that, “toget the proof going, genuine indisputable examples of design andpurpose are needed,” McCloskey (1968, p. 64) appear to suggest thatthe indisputable design examples, as well as purpose, arenon-existent. He has very high indisputability standards of claim andis not convinced by the order of the universe implying the presenceof a designer. McCloskey is not reasonable in his claim because it isnot possible to offer indisputable proof for or against unseeninstances or things.
From reading Evans and Manis (2009) text, an instance of design thatmay not be essentially irrefutable regards the animal kingdom and thecharacteristics of the living organisms, such as reproduction andgrowth. From simple biology, animals have the capacity to reproduce.From a simple cell that is tiny and invisible to the eye, a hugeorganism develops following the process of reproduction therebyallowing for the sustenance of that species. Once born, the animalgoes through the process of competition for resources, such as food,and fighting against diseases and predators to reach the reproductiveage. While the atheists may suggest evolution as a possibleexplanation to dispute this example, it remains as a perfectdemonstration of design on the universe.
The argument by McCloskey implies that the process of evolution hasdisplaced the necessity for a designer. Taking the assumption thatthis was true and alluding to the sentiments of Evans and Manis(2009), I would respond to McCloskey in three different ways. Thefirst one would be to challenge the principle by suggesting that anykind of divine creation usually provides a greater explanation fromthe start. Secondly, I would concur with the theory but insist that asmart designer is in control of the entire process. The thirdresponse would be to ask for a decisive explanation for the orderobserved in the cosmos while at the same time being in agreement withthe evolution theory. Amidst all these choices, the most appealingand reasonable, especially given that one has already agreed with theDarwin theory, would be to ask for an elaborate and decisiveexplanation for the order evident in the cosmos.
An obvious truth from the limitations of the conclusion as suggestedby Evans and Manis is that the teleological argument has never endedwith the actuality of a smart designer. The argument closes with thesuggestion that while a smart designer may perhaps be real, theproofs are insufficient. Therefore, an appropriate response would bethat while the cosmological argument has limitations, a considerationof the smart designer and the order in the cosmos remainssignificant. However, in light of the claim that the presence of evilshows the imperfect design, one can respond that the limitations ofthe teleological as well as cosmological arguments make theminsufficient to elucidate God’s character.
Responseto the Problem of Evil
McCloskey equally raises questions regarding the problem of evil inan attempt to argue that God does not exist. In his text, McCloskeysays, “No being who was perfect could have created a world in whichthere was avoidable suffering or in which his creatures would (and infact could have been created so as not to) engage in morally evilacts, acts which very often result in injury to innocent persons(McCloskey, 1968, p. 65).” The argument is regarded as arepresentation of the logical form of the evil problem because thepresence of God as well as the occurrence of evil is presumed tocontradict each other, and this cannot exist. Given that thecharacter of God has been described by the theists as good,omnipotent, and loving, it is unreasonable to consider that evil canequally exist with such deity. However, Evans and Manis (2009) offerthe free will and soul-making argument as the probable reason for Godallowing evil to happen. The proponents of the soul-makingperspective hold the thought that the universe has been crafted insuch a way that it is initially an environment that works tofacilitate the spiritual and moral development of every individual.On the other hand, the free will proponents suggest that evil happensbecause of the misuse of freedom by humans. Therefore, God isabsolved from all the blame. In response to McCloskey, no oneessentially knows with an absolute guarantee the reason why God andevil exist in the cosmos. However, the claim by McCloskey that theexistence of God and evil contradict each other thereby suggestingthe nonexistence of God may not be practical. In order tosubstantiate this assertion, McCloskey needs to provide proof thatevil and God is logically contradictory.
From the lessons obtained in the readings, McCloskey’s question onGod efficiently arranging the flora and fauna and the prejudiced manto virtue that he liberally chooses the right thing is handled partlyby Mackie and Alvin. In his sentiments, Mackie suggests that it islogically probable that God could and would choose to make a freebeing that would have the capacity to freely choose the right thingat all times. According to Mackie, this possibility coupled with thefact that evil is rampant in the world suggest that a perfect Godcannot exist. On the other hand, Alvin Plantinga suggests that whilesuch a logically probable universe exists, individuals have no reasonto believe that the world is within God’s authority to create.According to Plantinga, the possibility of God creating a specificworld is founded on the choices that the free creatures in it make(Evans & Manis, 2009). The response to McCloskey’s questionwould be that it is a contradiction of the free will concept if anindividual is created to make a choice of what is right at all times.
Responseto Atheism as Comforting
In his article entitled, “The Absurdity of Life without God,”William Lane Craig (2008) suggests that if God did not truly exist,there would be no significance or meaning to life, no reason to theexistence of mankind or the universe, and no value in the actions ofan individual. Therefore, in response to the subject of atheism beingmore comforting than theism, thinking that the pain of an individualor a grieving person is aimed at helping another person has neverbeen of benefit to anyone.
Craig, W. L. (2008). Reasonablefaith: Christian truth and apologetics. Wheaton,IL: Crossway Books.
Evans, C. S., & Manis, R. Z.(2009). Philosophy ofreligion: Thinking about faith (2nd ed.).Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN: 9780830838769.
Foreman, M. Approachingthe question of God’s existence.
McCloskey, H. J. (1968). “Onbeing an atheist”.Retrieved attachment