In the article “On being an Atheist”, by H.J. McCloskey, the author first says that these arguments for theism are only “proofs” and cannot be truly proven. However, there are certain things that cannot be explained and therefore an individual can use “the best explanation approach”. This approach suggests that since there are certain situations that cannot be explained, that situation can be said that it could possibly be caused by God. These things that cannot be explained such as the emergence of language in civilizations or the idea of an atom that we cannot neither see nor touch.
H.J McCloskey’s article, “On Being an Atheist,” is an attempt to show atheism as a more practical alternative to the Christian belief. McCloskey reasons against the theistic beliefs of the cosmological argument, the teleological argument and design. He references the presence of evil in a world created by God and the absurdity of living by faith. This article is an attempt to reason that God does not exist because He is perfect and the world is not perfect; evil exists therefore God cannot exist. McCloskey’s article labels these arguments as “proofs” and concludes none of these arguments would be evidence of God’s existence.
In the essay, McCloskey refers to arguments like the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and arguments from design as proofs. He argues that since there is no evidence to prove these arguments to be true, therefore they aren’t and for that reason the idea of the mere existence of God should be removed from our thinking. McCloskey’s argument is an age-old ploy used by atheists to use logic and emotion to conform individuals to their beliefs, definition of God, and why God should be all-in-all forgotten about. These proofs may be considered sound by individuals who share their ideas and they can confirm beliefs of a doubting believer, but they are not the origin from which religious belief flourishes. The development of such beliefs like the belief in the existence of God stems from various factors and reasons.
Berkeley`s states that everything is an idea and that there has to be a supreme spirit (god) out there that has the ability to put ideas in our mind. Thus, being the one who controls everything that we are able think. The way that I understood Berkeley`s argument is that he believes that the existence of “God” is essential in order to know anything from the external world. Comprehending Berkeley`s argument wasn’t an easy task, but I have come to my personal conclusion that this so called; “Supreme spirit” is not necessary for me to have knowledge about the things that I can observe. Therefore in this paper, I will argue that Berkeley`s response to skepticism is not successful because he thinks that god is the base of knowledge.
When discussing McCloskey’s position on God’s existence, he views the arguments for God’s existence as proofs. He goes on to explain further in his article that the proofs of God’s existence fail to do just that. He states that the proof fail to prove anything about God’s existence and none of them can absolutely provide a solid case. There are three different arguments that McCloskey discusses in his article are: the cosmological argument, the argument from design, and the teleological argument. All three of them are similar in some way, because they are all trying to arrive at the same conclusion: there is no God.
When you go through McCloskey’s argument it shows many flaws in his reasoning as he wanted to show that it is impossible that there is a God. Throughout McCloskey’s article he refers to that theist do not a proofs that there is a God, thus they should not be used. The problem with this is that atheist and theist would have to purge of most of their arguments for the reason that most everything does not prove the argument. McCloskey is correct that the “proofs” do not completely establish that there is a God, but they do give us a better understanding about the world and if there is a God. The cosmological and the teleological arguments are only argument, thus they do not completely prove that there is a God as Dr. Foreman says, “that these argument give us a best explanation” (Foreman).
While McCloskey’s article may resonate with some atheists and seem to be a valid attack on the theist’s belief, it fails to strike any real blows and instead shows the disparity that comes with atheistic beliefs. In his article, McCloskey uses the term “proofs” rather than arguments when discussing the three ideas that he finds to be the most motivating forces for theist’s to theistic beliefs. In the article, he states that “move ordinary theist to their theism”(3). He believes that these “proofs” do not offer definitive evidence that proves God exists without even the slightest room for doubt; therefore, the belief in God should be completely abandoned. For an individual who claims to believe in a worldview based on self-reliance and science, this is completely contradictory.
For many, the idea of existence as a predicate causes issues for the ontological argument. In the argument Anselm states that God is a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and using logic he comes to the conclusion that God must exist by definition. This can be seen as strength to the argument as if it is a valid deduction it proves God’s existence to an atheist as well as a believer. However, Kant counters this argument by saying that existence could not be a predicate of anything. This is because a predicate should be something that enriches our concept of what the thing is like.
Philosophers, whether they are atheists, or believers have always been eager to discuss the existence of God. Some philosophers, such as St Thomas Aquinas, and St Anselm, believe that we have proven that God exists through our senses, logic, and experience. Others such as Soren Kierkegaard, and Holbach, feel that we will never have the answer to this question due to our human limitations, and reason. The believer tends to rely on faith for his belief, and claim they do not need proof in order to believe in the God's existence. The atheist however, tends to lean more towards common sense and reason, such as science, or the theory of evolution for an answer.
The paradox of the stone is an odd thing, if god wanted to keep his omnipotence he could just not create the stone therefore not be challenged. If we look at the scenario in a logical way if a being with all power was faced with this scenario and wanted to keep being all powerful it could just not create the stone. Which I believe is an error in the paradox’s thinking that this would either take gods omnipotence or create an illogical answer. This should help prove that the argument isn’t