July 2, 2018
H.J. McCloskey is a largely influential atheist in the world, and with his article, “on being an Atheist” He points out his views and explains them while trying to refute different arguments and view points made and held by theists. While he does bring up a mish mash of different points that could be valid, but these points can be argued and countered with the readings of philosophy of Religion: think about faith and Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions by Evans and Manis. These points that are argued are against the view of the existence of God and that the earth was created by an intelligent designer. While there are other views in the article these are the main points concerning the creation of the world.
In the article the first points that McCloskey tries to break down would be tearing down the thought of theists and views of an all-powerful, true, all-knowing God. During the class, we have learned about different views when someone is questioning the existence of God. These would be the cumulative case, all arguments are defeasible, and best explanation, and the minimalistic. Taking these different approaches can help with the question of God and whether He exists. When looking at the cumulative approach, we look at several different truths or evidences to show Gods existence. Another approach called best explanation shows that Gods existence is the best explanation (hence the name) that we as humans have for the things human beings cant explain. The view that life and truth and no person can prove beyond the shadow of doubt that an argument or theory is proven right or wrong, this would be the all arguments are defeasible. The minimalist approach is basically that God is personal, moral and intelligent as a creator. We should not run from difficult arguments regarding religion especially when someone like McCloskey threatens our views. Those approaches are some knowledge on defending the views of theists and can argue against his claims. No one person can without a shadow of doubt prove to someone else the existence of God or not really because the main premise of this view is regarding faith. Faith is derived from someone’s soul and is encountered differently through everyone, faith in a God or faith that there is no God.
When reading on in the article, McCloskey brings up one of the biggest arguments regarding atheism and that there is no reason that there is a higher being that created all of the world around us. During the reading of Evans and Mans, they can counter even this argument on the view of the contingency of the universe. Evans and Manis state; “If we look around us at the universe, each object we see appears to be the kind of thing which does exist but might easily have not existed” (Evans and Mans, 2009, p. 69). It shows that when McCloskey views the world and that things that we view could not really be there at all. As theists go, they view the world as created by an all powerful being, God. The entire article was on the premise that atheism was a more reasonable and comfortable belief. Using the arguments against cosmological, teleological and argument from design which are the three proofs of theists. McCloskey chooses to bring up that using faith to live by is irrational and that in the world as we stand, there is still the existence of evil. When looking at the three different proofs McCloskey tries to state that proofs are not a big role in the belief in God. McCloskey makes a few contradictions on this argument and others throughout the article. One viewed would be the statement he makes; “Most theists do not come to believe in God as a basis for religious belief, but come to religion as a result of other reasons and factors.” When looking at a theist and what they believe its hard to see why an atheist like McCloskey would try to disprove the three proofs that theists hold to if they try to move to the belief of God without those three proofs in the first place.
Diving into the argument of causation and causality in regards to the universe and world as we know it, theists believe in the uncaused first cause in which case is God. McCloskey in his article tries to disprove such existence and point out that looking around the universe that there really isn’t a reason for people to think this. He points out when people use rationality to understand why things exist it comes in and out of existence. This is where theists differ, because if God were to be put into effect and placed as the rational causation, then God himself would have been made by or formed by a cause before him. One cannot continue a causation effect because at some point the line has to start somewhere, as dominos fall, there needs to be an initial push to start the domino effect. Looking at God as the first cause, it would be out of necessity and therefore be the reason for the world and universe as it stands. More of McCloskey’s contradictions show up with this argument, in the article he writes “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.” (p.63) As the statement lies, it does echo true and with an atheist, it does not really suggest that God exists as the first cause, but even stating that there is a power at force that one cannot explain. This statement that McCloskey explains does not deny the existence of God either. On the other hand, McCloskey tries to pin the other two arguments in one, the teleological and design. Most of what he was truing to put together in the argument was denying both. McCloskey brings up the theory of evolution and uses this as the main for of creation. McCloskey rejected the arguments mainly because as humans don’t have great understanding or proof of creation, and in saying that God created humans is a step too far. The arguments do not justify indisputable proofs for the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution like the causality but for beings, and the main problem with evolution can be that no proof or the first actual organism and one cannot prove that evolution from that same being or organism can continue to present day.