12 October 2012
Writing Assignment #1
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume is a philosophical piece concerning the existence of God. Arguments for and against the existence of God are portrayed in dialogue through three characters; Demea, Cleanthes, and Philo. All three agree that God exists, but they drastically differ in their opinions of God’s attributes or characteristics, and if man can understand God. The characters debate such topics as the design and whether there is more suffering or good in the world. It is a very common view among philosophers that Philo most represents Hume’s own views. Philo doesn’t go as far as denying the existence of God but attacks the others views and clearly has the most doubt or concerns of the three characters.
In part X of the dialogue Philo brings up “Epicurus’ old questions”. The questions concern God’s Omni attributes. The questions ask “Is He [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is he evil?” (Hume 198). As stated before, Philo is the character that most closely represents Hume himself. Clearly, Hume, represented through Philo, has deeply thought about, or at least pondered these “old questions” stated above. These questions hit me quite deeply as well and are very thought provoking. I believe they make a good deal of sense and should be considered carefully. The first question asks if God is willing to prevent evil, but if he is not able to do this? If this is the case, that would make God impotent, or in other words, not able to do everything he desires. As Christians, we would like to believe that God is able to do everything he desires, and if it is the case that he cannot do this, some of our major beliefs would break down. For example, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as many of his miracles, becomes much...