Response Paper McCloskey Article
Dr. Tyler Veak
October 6, 2013
“On Being an Atheist” Response Paper
In this article McCloskey writes what he believes as truth in the world we live in. He states that theists believe in a God and that they have “proofs” that this God exists. In the article he addresses these “proofs” and in a very academic and respectful way tears them down. He attempts to eliminate all possibilities of the existence of God, through what he calls “reasons why I believe that atheism is a much more comfortable belief than theism, and why theist should be miserable just because they are theists.”
The first issue that McCloskey references to is the “proofs” that Christians hold to prove that God exist, but as we learned in one of our PointeCast presentations, the reasons Christians believe in God are not exactly proofs, because they cannot scientifically or in any way prove to a point that God does in fact exist. These reasons are arguments, theories and carefully thought out propositions that try their hardest to justify what we believe in. Because of this McCloskey argues that humans should give up on the notion that God exists, yet since there also no way to prove that God does not exist, McCloskey is defeated by his own logic. So if humans are to give up on both the notion that there is or is not a God, then that leaves us with nothing whatsoever to believe in. There is no way to prove that God does or does not exist, what I might believe to be a strong argument for the existence of God, and atheist such as McCloskey might deem nonsense. These “proofs” are simply and objective argument for the existence of God, thus have to be taken as valid argument, propositions, and theory and not as tangible proof.
McCloskey dissects three major arguments being the cosmological proof, the theological proof, and the argument from design. He takes all these arguments and picks them apart for both atheist and theist to see what he is trying to prove. In all honesty in some cases in these arguments of his I can see what he is trying to prove, yet in the end I have no sense of what he has accomplished with his arguments if he himself cannot prove that God does not exist.
The first argument that McCloskey addresses is the Cosmological proof. He states that we cannot possibly assume without proof on an “an all-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause” and to this notion I somewhat agree. The reason being is that this argument does not specify the qualities of a god that could create the universe as it is. Thus the argument simply states that there must have been a first cause or there would have been infinite regress, or in other words gods and that is what the argument is trying to avoid.
The next argument that McCloskey addresses is the Theological proof. He states that there cannot be indisputable proofs and examples of design that the whole argument becomes invalid. In this case he is again defeated by his own logic; because once again there is no way that any arguments attempting to prove that God does not exist are indisputable as well. In the world we live we must believe in what we as individuals take to as truth, since there is no possible way that a person can prove or disprove that God does or does not exist. McCloskey is attempting to support his arguments so hard that in the essence of itself he is defeating himself without realizing it.
I believe that a perfect example of intelligent design is the human body. There is no possible way that such a complex and amazing creation came from a bunch of cells meshing together. Our bodies are built to live on the earth in a way that is amazingly thought out. The body is functioning, living organism in and of itself with thousands of different parts and pieces all working together to accomplish one goal: to live. The human body is the perfect example to show that intelligent design was indeed included...
References: Craig, William L. Reasonable faith: Christian truth and apologetics. 3rd Ed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008. 71-90.
Evans, C. S., Manis, R. Z. Philosophy of religion: Thinking about faith. 2nd Ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009.
McCloskey, H. J. Question 1: On being an atheist. 1968. 51-54.
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