McCloskey attempts to make an argument for the non-existence of God and to give reasons why atheism is more comforting than theism. This paper is a response to that article which will address certain ideas raised by Mr. McCloskey. This author is a theist and will present arguments to show the reasoning for the existence and necessity of God. To begin with, McCloskey suggests in his article that the theist’s arguments are “proofs” which do not provide definitive evidence for the existence of God, so therefore, they should be discarded. This is not a justified argument due to the fact that theists do not try to definitely prove the existence of God.
The relationship between a theistic God (considering there is one) and morality cannot be explained in simply a few sentences. One may immediately come to the conclusion that God decides what is moral and immoral. This is known as Divine Command Theory which says that morality is dependent on God’s commands. However, this gives rise to the other side that says an action is moral because God approves of it. This is known as the Autonomy thesis which says that morality is not dependent on God’s commands.
Just like a religious believer who states “god loves us” but can’t explain the contradiction of evil in the world, believers qualify their statements by explaining god’s love is not like humans love he calls this “death by a thousand qualifications”. Therefore religious language is meaningless. However religion has responded to the falsification principle. R.B Braithwaite argued that the falsification principle explains religious language as cognitive when it if in fact non cognitive and therefore cannot be falsified, religious language is therefore still meaningful. Hare also responds to the falsification principle, showing that religious statements are meaningful even though they cannot be falsified because they have a significant impact for the people using the statement.
Since we know evil and suffering is a necessary bi-product of human life, we must acknowledge that evil does exist. This proves problematic as it then brings into question the traditional theist’s view of God. However, no traditional theist would accept Hume’s conclusions because it denies God of His perfection. There are ways of sidestepping this issue such as, atheism, deism and polytheism, but none are accepted by traditional theists, and are therefore not a true solution to the problem. A theodicy is seen as a true solution as it defends God’s nature in the face of evil and suffering.
Thus, he believes there is no reason why should you live a moral life rather than for one's self. Fidley asks Seltzer one last question, “what motivation for adopting the moral point of view can you possibly offer without a belief in God and immorality?” which leads us to this quote, “When religion tells us that there is nothing more we can say about morality than that we can’t see the reasons for it, but do it if you know what’s good for you, then I do condemn it. We can do better than that. We can become moral grown-ups. And if there were a God, surely he would approve”.
Descartes declares he has to determine if there is a God and if he does exist, whether he can be a deceiver. The reason he has to determine the existence of God and what he is, rests in his theories of ideas. This is because we do not know if there is an outside world and we can almost imagine everything, so all depends on God’s existence and if he is a deceiver. “To prove that this non-deceiving God exists, Descartes finds in his mind a few principles he regards as necessary truths which are evident by the “natural light” which is the power or cognitive faculty for clear and distinct perception.” If arguments is presented in logical trains of thought, people could not help but to be swayed and to understand those arguments. Natural light
To what extent is via negative the only way to talk about God? Via negative, or the apophatic way, is a theory that suggests it is only possible to talk about God in ‘negative’ terms, as opposed to talking about him in a positive light calling him things such as all loving or a good god, as talking about God in a positive way, statements can be misconstrued and misleading as to what we actually mean by a good God for example. To talk about God as a creator or a holy father and describing his good actions and love, only showcases our own ideas about what these things actually are, which can put the wrong idea across. It is better to try and get our limited human minds around the concept of a mysterious God, without characteristics as such, that may be inaccurate. Via negative features often in Buddhism’s religious language.
McCloskey contended against the three mystical verifications, which are the cosmological argument, the argument from design and the teleological argument. He called attention to the presence of evil on the planet that God made. He likewise called attention to that it is irrational to live by trust or faith. As indicated by McCloskey, confirmations do not essentially assume a fundamental part in the conviction of God. Page 62 of the article expresses that "most theists do not come to have faith in God as a premise for religious conviction, however come to religion as a consequence of different reasons and variables."
He based his argument on the statement “Does God will something because it is good or is something good because it is willed by God?” There are two ‘horns’ to this argument which stem from the statement; these both critiques of the link between religion and morality. Horn one questions “Does God command x because it is good.” This argument suggests that God is inferior to good, or perhaps good could even be temporally prior to God. In addition both God’s omnipotence and omniscience are damaged; he cannot claim full responsibility for creating the world and therefore cannot possibly have full control as it is not his creation. He also may not have the knowledge of right and wrong if it is independent of him. An independent good takes away from religious motivation to do good, we can be good for the sake of being good as opposed to seeking eschatological reward, for example going to heaven in the afterlife.
Furthermore, if God had said the opposite to what He did say then the things that would have been good is now bad. This makes the moral codes seem subjective. For some philosophers, morality cannot depend on authority alone. However, there are also clear problems. If humans obey God’s moral commands simply because they fear punishment, they are acting in a moral fashion purely to serve God rather than morally.