On Being an Atheist by H J McCloskey Essay

On Being an Atheist by H J McCloskey Essay

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H J McCloskey intelligently put his thoughts together and shared his beliefs in his article called “On Being an Athiest” addressing some key arguments discussed in atheism and theism from an atheistic point of view. He makes no apologies for bringing up a difficult topic and for trying to argue persuasively for his views. He makes a great point when he states, “…I make no apology for doing so, as it is useful for us to remind ourselves of the reasons for and virtues of our beliefs (50).” Whether a theist or an atheist we should know what we believe and why we believe what we believe. This paper will use the material recently studied in Philosophy to respond to “proofs” and ideas put forth by McCloskey in his article.
McCloskey dives right into the meat of his article by addressing what he refers to as “proofs” he claims were put forth by theists. I think that it is imperative to know the difference between a “proof” and an argument. A proof contains a note of certainty. It suggests that something can be known to be 100% truth. In one of the recent PointCast presentations, Dr. Foreman insists that we cannot know any with a complete certainty that we have absolute truth about the existence of God. Therefore these ideas should be put forth as arguments and not as proofs. In fact, if looking at it the other way, he cannot know for certain that his ideas are correct. If he uses his rebuttals to the theist’s arguments, they seem contradictory several times. As we have no absolute certainty for either side, we are left then to find the best possible explanation. This is widely used in cases where things simply cannot be known for certain such as the example of the black hole that Dr. Foreman used. Science can’t fully expl...


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...have had to adopt a way to avoid living pointless, meaningless lives. Craig calls it the Noble Lie that they live under. Ultimately, McCloskey, were he to win his arguments would have to face the conclusion that there is no point to this universe that we are in, no point to life. Fighting for the self-reliance and the self-respect he finds in this fight gives him some sort of short term purpose to the life that he lives here on earth.



Works Cited

Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd Ed.,
Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008.
Evans, C. Stephen and R. Zachary Manis. Philosophy of Religion, 2nd Ed. Downers
Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.
McCloskey, H.J. “On Being an Atheist,” Question 1 (February 1968): 51-54

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