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Philosophy Response Paper

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Maxime Medina


PHIL 201-D62

May 13, 2012

Philosophy Response Paper

Many people question the existence of God. We as Christians base our whole belief and religion off the fact that God does exist and He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The atheist, H.J. McCloskey, wrote the article "On Being an Atheist" to argue against the existence of God and make an attempt to give reasons as to why atheism is more comforting then theism. In this paper I will give responses to some of the ideas that were brought up in the article that McCloskey presented.

I would first like to address that McCloskey refers to theist's arguments against atheism as "proofs" that can not give definitive evidence to establish God's existence, so therefore, we should disregard them. Since theist do not try to definitely prove God exists, this is not a justified argument. There are some different views used to approach the existence of God: The best explanation approach, the cumulative case approach and the minimalist concept of God. These three approaches give the theists evidence for the arguments that God exists. Theist do not claim that any one argument or approach is absolutely correct, but rather an cumulative concurrence of all cases gives a good answer to the question to how things are.

McCloskey identifies three arguments as the reason for the theist to believe in God, the first being the Cosmological Argument. "This approach attempts to infer the existence of God from the existence of the cosmos or universe." (Evans 67) He attempts to take apart this argument saying that if the universe came from a cause, then one could say they required a cause for God. Since theist believe that God has no beginning, you would be contradicting yourself. McCloskey states that "if we use the causal argument at all, all we are entitles to infer is the existence of a cause commensurate with the effect to be explained, the universe, and this does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect uncaused cause." (McCloskey) The problem would be that you would have an infinite regress. To solve this problem McCloskey says that God would have to exist out of necessity. He says that just because the world merely exists is not enough to believe in the existence of a being that is necessary. Consider the the "non-temporal" form of the argument, which is based on the case that the universe is contingent upon something to exist, rather than the fact the universe just is. So if the universe is contingent, we would have to explain the existence of a necessary being, because it is non-contingent.

McCloskey claims that the cosmological argument "does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause."(McCloskey) But we must remember that this argument is part of the cumulative case. Every quality of God is not explained by one specific approach. Other arguments show different aspects of a necessary being that would be considered attributes of God.

The Teleological Argument is another approach that McCloskey attempts to attack. Often referred to as the argument of design, the teleological argument no only deals with the existence of the universe but also the characteristics of it being in order. (Evans 77) He states that since there is no conclusive examples to prove design or purpose, there is no proof of it. McCloskey's weak attempt to deny this is his suggestion of biological evolution. His other attempt to void this argument is to bring up suffering



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