• God is not fair; thus not omnibenevolent

    Some time back I posted an argument on mentalizing deficits with regard to God being unfair. This broadly stated that certain autistic type people who have an inability to empathise are less likely to believe in God, presumably because the intersubjectivity of empathy allows an agent to see the,selves from somebody else’s point of view. This means that they are less able to suppose what God would think about them whilst doing any given moral action, and such like. The abstract, to the paper looked at in the post, reads:

    Religious believers intuitively conceptualize deities as intentional agents with mental states who anticipate and respond to human beliefs, desires and concerns. It follows that mentalizing deficits, associated with the autistic spectrum and also commonly found in men more than in women, may undermine this intuitive support and reduce belief in a personal God. Autistic adolescents expressed less belief in God than did matched neuro-typical controls (Study 1). In a Canadian student sample (Study 2), and two American national samples that controlled for demographic characteristics and other correlates of autism and religiosity (Study 3 and 4), the autism spectrum predicted reduced belief in God, and mentalizing mediated this relationship. Systemizing (Studies 2 and 3) and two personality dimensions related to religious belief, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness (Study 3), failed as mediators. Mentalizing also explained the robust and well-known, but theoretically debated, gender gap in religious belief wherein men show reduced religious belief (Studies 2–4).

    Anyway, the evidence from the papers on such phenomena provoked me to create a syllogism:

    • 1) God is omnibenevolent and being such will have fairness as a benevolent attribute
    • 2) God wants humans to enter into a loving relationship with him
    • 3) God has designed people (or the system that designs people) to not have equal fairness and opportunity to access a loving relationship with him
    • 4) God also has the power to level the playing field ex post facto but appears not to do so
    • C) God is not fair, and thus not omnibenevolent

    What ?I want to do is refine this and make it as tight as possible. One thing I would like to add is some sub-premises:

    • a) compensation is not moral justification
    • b) therefore, an eternity in heaven does not morally justify such unfairness

    This would head off the old heaven defence at the pass.

    Anyway, thoughts?


    Category: AtheismFeaturedGod's CharacteristicsPhilosophical Argument Against GodPhilosophyPhilosophy of Religion


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce