Essay: Proofs of God s Existence

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[. . .] As Evans and Manis show, theodicy explains why God allows evil to exist—but this is not an explanation that McCloskey will consent to because it places faith over empiricism. The only other option is to assert a “defense” as Evans and Manis call it—a line of argument that explains that God may have His reasons but that they may not be known to us. In either case, it requires faith in God, first and foremost, and if this is not admitted, the argument will be unsatisfactory for McCloskey. The allowance of evil for the greater good cannot be empirically proven but can be accepted as a matter of faith—which is what McCloskey requires.

Free will that is “programmed” to always choose virtue is not necessarily free. Moreover, the will must be trained and educated and that is part of the struggle upwards towards the good. As Plantinga points out, according to Evans and Manis, God is essentially like a libertarian: God gives freedom to everyone and will not prevent a person from exercising his or her free will, even if that person intends evil—that is the amount of respect that God has for freedom of choice. If one chooses evil, God will allow it, but God will always give a way for a greater good to be realized. God will not allow the whole world to be overrun by evil because God does love the world and will intervene to save it. But of course those who wish to be saved must be willing to humble themselves so that they can be saved.

As Craig points out, without God, mankind and the world are doomed. Being doomed to die contains no comfort whatsoever and the atheist who says it does is lying to himself or ignoring the voice of his soul which tells him that it has immortal life. The atheist is comforted by a belief that God does not exist because it means that Hell does not exist, and since the atheist will not humble himself sufficiently to ask to be saved by God, he is on a path to Hell. To alleviate this cognitive dissonance, the atheist alters his perception so as to convince himself that there is no Hell because God does not exist and therefore there is no need to comform oneself to the laws of the Church or the laws of God or to be humble and ask for God’s assistance. One can be prideful and live a self-centered existence and be comforted by the idea that when one dies that is the end of it all. However, that is not the end of it all, and if it were, life would have a hopeless, fatalistic quality to it—but it does not, for the soul speaks to us and we must listen to it: it tells us that it is our eternal side and that in order for us to go to a good place after death, we must conform ourselves to the teachings of God so that we might be in union with Him. This belief is what comforts the theist, for it gives the theist the hope that life is not simply all for nothing—that it is all for something—all for the greater good.

References

Evans, C. S. & Manis, R. Z. (2009). Philosophy of religion. Downers Grove, IL:

InterVarsity Press.

Craig, W. L. (n.d.). The absurdity of life without God.

Foreman, M. & Martin, E. (n.d.). The problem of evil.

Holmes, A. (2007). Approaching moral decisions. Downers Grove, IL. InterVarsity

Press.

McCloskey, H. J. (1968). On being an atheist. [END OF PREVIEW]

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