Category Philosophical Argument Against God

A reply to Rauser on Loftus, God or Godless?, and evidence for God (pt 1)

The other day, I posted my first take on John Loftus’ and Randal Rauser’s debate book God Or Godless? recently. Randal Rauser has now posted two responses to the post:

Part 1


Part 2

In this return fire, I will be inter-paragraphically (that might be a new word) commenting on his claims and views. Thanks to Randal for engaging in this debate. For those who don’t know, we have some history in debating the Nativity on radio. Please comment below on what you think.

Is this the Best Possible World and does God have Free Will?

I wrote this some time ago at Debunking Christianity

Let us assume the triple properties of the classical approach to God: that he is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. In terms of the classic Problem of Evil argument, if there is too much evil in the world, God knows what to do about it, is powerful enough to do it, and is loving enough to want to do something about it.

The Little Book Of Unholy Questions

I know self-promoting has an air of conceit, and I know it’s all ‘blah blah blah’, but for someone in my position, it is a necessary evil. One of my books has just received another great review. Apart from my internet stalker, the ordained father whom I have banned, and who has not read the book, I have unanimous 5 star reviews for The Little Book Of Unholy Questions. Here they are so far:

The Outsider Test For Faith

So John Loftus, of Debunking Christianity, and who wrote what is still the finest book deconstructing the Christian position (Why I Became An Atheist whose second edition is now out) has a few books due out soon. I am excited about both, but particularly The Outsider Test For Faith (OTF), based on an argument which he has made his own. The OTF can be summed up as: The only way to rationally test one’s culturally adopted religious faith is from the perspective of an outsider, with the same level of reasonable skepticism believers already use when examining the other religious faiths they reject.

The incompatibilities of God’s perfect nature. Or, he ain’t all that and a bag of chips.

Here is a really useful little paper by Theodore M. Drange on the contradictory aspects of God. Drange is Professor of Philosophy at West Virginia University. This article can be found here, at Philo online. This gives a neat little summary of many of the arguments against God based on his characteristics being incompatible with each other. The classic one, as touted by Dan Barker (and myself, often) is that God cannot be perfectly merciful and perfectly just at the same time. See what you think.

Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God – why it is unfair that autistic people, men and scientists are less likely to believe in God

Here are some extracts from a fascinating paper – “Mentalizing Deficits Constrain Belief in a Personal God” by Ara Norenzayan, Will M. Gervais and Kali H. Trzesniewski. Gervais is certainly a name which keeps popping up in conversations about the cognitive functioning of people with regards to their beliefs and so on.

The basic conclusion to be made form this work is that people on the autistic spectrum (think particularly Asperger’s Syndrome) have, due to their cognitive functioning, a much higher disposition not to believe in a personal God. The is largely due, it appears, to a lack of empathy. Empathy seems to underscore our beliefs in a personal God. This can be seen in believers needing to put themselves ‘in God’s shoes’, so to speak. In other words, in all your words and deeds as a believer, what would God think of you? This intersubjectivity, placing yourself out of your body and imagining ‘you’ from another point of view, is something that particular groups of autistic people struggle with. And this, it seems, is why they have less propensity to believe.

Can we choose what we believe?

Isn´t it interesting how the same argument can be very powerful and persuasive for some people while being completely uninteresting for others? The problem of evil is one of the most powerful arguments against the existence of an all-loving God for many Atheists, but I never cared much about it. I´m not sure why, maybe because I never believed in a God anyway, for other reasons, so speculations about what an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God would or would not do always seemed kind of moot to me. But nevertheless, I recently thought about the problem of evil when I had a discussion with our local young earth creationist JohnM.

Stephen Law vs William Lane Craig Part 3

So, on to the rebuttals. Craig pointed out in several of his rebuttals that Law has not, and did not seem to want to, critique the cosmological argument. Craig does have some beef here as Law seemed to want to debate Craig’s version of God rather than the more fundamental argument over A God’s existence. Thus in true debate point-scoring, Law would take a hit here. However, as Law plainly stated, and I think this was a wise move, this would have broadened the scope too far and wasn’t important for discussing the moral character of Craig’s version of God (thus allowing Law to wedge in his evil God thesis).

What was one of my favourite moments, and it met with a good round of applause from the secularists in the audience (a clear minority), was when Law, whilst talking about his non-answering of Craig’s first (cosmological) argument, declared himself not to be an expert, and to say something like, “I don’t know, I mean I don’t know the answer to the question why the universe exist.”

Stephen Law vs William Lane Craig Part 2

So, on to Law’s opening statements. It’s probably better to get this from the horse’s mouth - However, I will duly sum up. Law, much to his credit, claimed he was only interested in defending his position using only one argument, based on the Evidential Problem of Evil. That being, if God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, then he is able, knows how and is loving enough to want to do something about all the evil in the world. Law went on to talk about some of this evil by pointing out the sheer quantity:

1) all the animal deaths resulting from carnivorousness from the beginning of animal history

2) all the human death, particularly the frequency of child death before the age of five – somewhere between 40% and 60%, historically, of all children born.