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McCloskey - Atheist Response

H.J. McCloskey's article "On Being an Atheist" raises a number of issues with respect to a philosophical perspective on evaluating the evidences concerning God's existence and the relative comfort provided to the person who believes in God. McCloskey suggests, for example that the "proofs" of God's existence cannot definitively establish the case for God so should be abandoned and that the cosmological argument implying that one can know God exists by looking at the universe has no foundation.[1] With reference to the teleological argument, McCloskey argues that no one has provided examples of design and purpose that are above dispute. On the problem of evil, he argues that God cannot exist because in God's perfection, He would not create a world that included evil. He even asserts that atheism is more comforting than theism. This paper will address each of these issues and point out the fallacies in McCloskey's arguments.

McCloskey's first assertion-that what he terms the "proofs" of God's existence do not prove it and should be abandoned-is in itself a non sequitur. If something or someone exists, it exists whether anyone can prove it or not. Moreover, what one individual accepts as proof may be inadequate for another, so merely because one person feels that a proof is insufficient is not a reason to toss out the proving concept. Richard Swinburne notes that both Hume and Kant developed philosophical concepts showing that "reason could not reach a justified conclusion about the existence of God" because people can only know what is in their immediate experience.[2] If this is true from McCloskey's perspective, then regardless of what argument is presented to him concerning the existence of God, it will never be enough to convince him.

The cosmological argument creates a number of problems for McCloskey in terms of proving the existence of God. He states, for one thing, that the mere fact of the w...

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McCloskey - Atheist Response. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:37, May 20, 2019, from