Dr. Clayton Crockett
Modern Religious Thought
September 25 2011
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by Davis Hume is a pretty heavy text full of many arguments each one with multiple sub arguments and countless premises. While reading I often found my self asking “what the hell does this mean” or “where does this even connect with the previous statement”. To be honest if it was not for spark notes I would be even more lost for words than I am now. However as I wade through the literary labyrinth which is Hume I discovered multiple themes that have lead me to one final thesis. Since it is impossible to determine true design through a priori argument alone, the only way to be comfortable with your faith (if you chose to have faith) is to basis it on undeterminable introspection, but one should rely more on skepticism than on faith alone. If we philosophize on God we soon realize no end can be accomplished through reason or observance of the empirical world so the only way to reach revelation is to accept our limited capacity of reason and evidence, to accomplish this we must become skeptics. Just because you are a skeptic doesn’t mean you have to be atheist, Philo argues for skepticism through the whole dialogue by questioning everything Cleanthes and Demea have to say and by making speculative analogical arguments in defiance against those that Cleanthes or Demea make. So in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion I believe Philo makes the best argument against natural religion.
To explain the persuasiveness of his arguments against natural religion you must first understand what natural religion is; it is the process of obtaining religious belief through gathering evidence and reasoning from that evidence. Any believer would immediately say you can look around and see that God exists but anyone who really cares about deriving a truth from real evidence would disagree. It is obviously impossible to presuppose anything about a God...
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