Sunday, November 22, 2009

50 blogs on disbelief - Various Arguments

50 Blogs on Disbelief
My thoughts on the book, 50 Voices of Disbelief, Why We Are Athiests, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. Written as I read them in no particular order. The page number of the essay is provided at the top of each entry.
p. 129 Stephen Law “Could It Be Pretty Obvious There’s No God?

Stephen covers some of the logical forms of arguments against God in a more playful way than A. C. Grayling did. In all cases, he starts with “If God exists and is all-powerful and maximally good…” The arguments then hold up pretty well against that assumption. The trouble is, the idea of an all-powerful God comes from Greek traditions that got mixed in with the Bible in the early centuries of the common era.

He then lists how theists might respond to the problem of evil with theodices – theistic explanations for the amount of evil that exists. He also includes something he calls playing the mystery card. That is basically what I did in the first paragraph. I argued that his premise was not correct, that God is more mysterious than that. I might have gone on to say something about how we as mere humans could not understand God’s infinite wisdom or why he allows evil in the world.

I enjoyed this essay because I could remember being in discussions where the things he was identifying were said. But what he calls playing the mystery card, I call knowing your history. Understanding the cultures of my ancestors is important to me. I know history is not everyone’s favorite subject, but then there is that old saying, the one about “repeating” and “doom”.

Then he does something that was not effective for me. He says what if instead of maximally good, God is maximally evil. What would happen if you applied the logical arguments, switching good and evil. He concludes that because the arguments could work in reverse and prove God is maximally evil, that demonstrates that God pretty obviously doesn’t exist.


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