Response Paper

Topics: Atheism, God, Deism Pages: 7 (1586 words) Published: March 2, 2015


Response Paper
Jostin Holmes
PHIL 201
February 2015

In 1968, a article was published by a man named H.J. McCloskey called “On Being an Atheist”, in which an attempt to present arguments against the existence of God is made. In his work, McCloskey attempts to provide readers with the argument that atheism is more “reasonable and comfortable (McCloskey,1968)” compared to the alternative theistic view. In his article, McCloskey attempts to make arguments against the three typical theistic proofs of God which includes the cosmological and teleological arguments, along with the argument from design. McCloskey uses the existence of evil and the irrationalness off faith against the theistic view of God. At the beginning of the article it seems that an intriguing argument will be made regarding the theistic view point of God, yet as McCloskey continues the argument becomes more biased in attacking spiritual beliefs which questions his validity.

In regards to how McCloskey presents his argument, the word “proof” is uniquely placed in an attempt to guide the reader through biased language. The argument that atheism is more reasonable and comfortable than theism is strictly opinionated. Many may view this stand in an opposite light using theistic theories to establish points. McCloskey does not present his arguments as theories, yet as fact; though there is no proof provided. Theistic theories accept that the argument cannot be proven one hundred percent for either side. McCloskey uses the belief in irrational faith to argue against a theists belief in God stating “ 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 (McCloskey, 1968).” A common view of this belief in today’s society is that individuals use religious beliefs as a crutch in difficult circumstances. It is important to recognize that there are some individuals that will fall into this category, yet the argument is invalid in that it has no proof.

The first argument that McCloskey attempts to argue against is the cosmological argument; which uses the “first-cause argument” to point toward the existence of God. The first-case argument states simply that such a complex unique universe must have an ultimate beginning; which points to the existence of a higher being. One argument that McCloskey makes against the cosmological argument is that there is no need to believe in a first cause for the universe. In this argument the premise is made that if one needs a beginning for the universe, then there must be a beginning for God. McCloskey then takes the argument a step further stating that even if one would imagine a creator to the universe, there is no reason to believe that God would be omniscient, omnipotent and all that makes God a higher being. According to McCloskey the universe “does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause (McCloskey, 1968).” The view McCloskey holds believes that a powerful event caused the universe and Earth to exist, but that event was not manipulated by an infinitude being. “all we can infer from the causal argument is the existence of a cause commensurate with the effect to be explained, the universe (McCloskey, 1968).” The problem McCloskey makes in his argument is an alternative is not provided. So even though the argument made can be intriguing, there is no logical alternative offered.

While making his arguments against the theistic teleological theory attempts to claim that indisputable examples are needed to prove such a theory. McCloskey then uses the theory of evolution as an alternative and more relevant example of creation than the teleological theory of God. The example of evolution is a popular theory amongst atheistic believers, so there is no surprise that McCloskey would use the theory as his primary source against the teleological theory. Yet the indisputable...
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