Skeptical theism

Philosophy Compass 5 (7):611-623 (2010)
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Most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God take the following form: (1) If God exists, the world would not be like this (where 'this' picks out some feature of the world like the existence of evil, etc.) (2) But the world is like this . (3) Therefore, God does not exist. Skeptical theists are theists who are skeptical of our ability to make judgments of the sort expressed by premise (1). According to skeptical theism, if there were a God, it is likely that he would have reasons for acting that are beyond our ken, and thus we are not justified in making all-things-considered judgments about what the world would be like if there were a God. In particular, the fact that we don't see a good reason for X does not justify the conclusion that there is no good reason for X. 1 Thus, skeptical theism purports to undercut most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God. What follows is an account of the nature of skeptical theism, an application of skeptical theism to both the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, and a review of the cases for and against skeptical theism.



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Justin McBrayer
Fort Lewis College

Citations of this work

The Father of Lies?Hud Hudson - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 5:147-166.
The moral skepticism objection to skeptical theism.Stephen Maitzen - 2013 - In Justin McBrayer & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 444--457.
On Preferring God's Non-Existence.Klaas J. Kraay & Chris Dragos - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):157-178.

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References found in this work

Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Providence and the Problem of Evil.Richard Swinburne - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.William L. Rowe - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4):335 - 341.
The Problem of Evil.Peter van Inwagen - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):696-698.

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