Arguments for Theism, Misc

Edited by Daniel Von Wachter (International Academy of Philosophy In The Principality of Liechtenstein)
About this topic
Summary Theism is generally taken to be the view that there is a person who is bodiless, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, perfectly good, perfectly free, and who is the creator and sustainer of the universe. There are of course  different ways to spell out these attributes, for example some spell out ‘eternal‘ as ‘being outside of time‘, others as ‘everlasting‘. However, those who present arguments for or against the ‘existence of God‘ use the term ‘God’ similarly enough to be discussing the same question. Philosophers rather say that there is no God than using ‘God’ in a very different sense, for example in the sense of something other than a person. This category contains arguments for the existence of God that do not fit into any of the sibling leaf categories.
Key works The most thorough defense of the existence of God is Swinburne 2004, who gives probabilistic, inductive instead of deductive arguments and who rejects the ontological as well as the moral argument from the existence of values or duties. Plantinga 1974 defends the ontological argument, Adams 1979 the moral argument. Mackie 1982 is still a much quoted defense of atheism. Rowe 2010 presents an atheistic position.
Introductions Most anthologies with the title ‘philosophy of religion’ contain articles that give the various arguments, for example Craig 2002 or Davies 2000, and also Meister & Copan 2007, Taliaferro & Meister 2009, and Copan & Moser 2003. A simplified defense of theism with various arguments is Swinburne 1996, Le Poidevin 1996 is an introductory defense atheism.
Related categories

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  1. Approche Contemporaine d'Une Affirmation de Dieu. [REVIEW]B. D. A. - 1964 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (4):633-633.
  2. Sceptical Theism and Evidential Arguments From Evil.Michael J. Almeida & Graham Oppy - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):496 – 516.
    Sceptical theists--e.g., William Alston and Michael Bergmann--have claimed that considerations concerning human cognitive limitations are alone sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil. We argue that, if the considerations deployed by sceptical theists are sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil, then those considerations are also sufficient to undermine inferences that play a crucial role in ordinary moral reasoning. If cogent, our argument suffices to discredit sceptical theist responses to evidential arguments from evil.
  3. An American Argument for Belief in the Reality of God.Douglas R. Anderson - 1989 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 26 (2):109 - 118.
    This article borrows from the american tradition of emerson, james, and peirce to argue that religious belief may properly originate in feeling, willing, or reasoning. i also maintain that such belief is not consummated until all three aspects of one's being--feeling, willing, and thinking--have been addressed. this approach both democratizes the possibility of religious belief and requires of full belief that it be applicable to all aspects of one's life.
  4. The Lord of Noncontradiction: An Argument for God From Logic.James N. Anderson & Greg Welty - 2011 - Philosophia Christi 13 (2):321 - 338.
    In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take (...)
  5. Arguments for the Existence of God: The Continental European Debate.Maria Rosa Antognazza - 2006 - In The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press.
    This chapter argues that the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation undermined the Christian consensus that unaided human reason could prove God’s existence. As a consequence the issue of the provability of God in principle gained new prominence and had to be addressed in the first instance before entering the discussion of specific proofs of His existence. On the basis of the answers given to the preliminary question of the provability of God’s existence, the chapter discusses eighteenth-century reformulations of a priori (...)
  6. God and Nature: Is the Divorce Final?Leslie Armour - 2007 - Maritain Studies/Etudes Maritainiennes 23:3 - 24.
    The thesis that enquiries into the nature and existence of God and enquiries into nature itself should be kept separate has gained new life from disputes about biology, but the development of physics and its relation to mathematics gives force to the idea that nature is more like a book to be read than it is like a collection of objects with no intrinsic meaning. The more one sees nature as a book to be read the more one sees it (...)
  7. Divine Ideas and Berkeley's Proofs of God's Existence.M. R. Ayers - 1987 - In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel.
  8. Natural Science and Existential Intelligibility.Garrett Barden - 2006 - Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society 2006:31 - 39.
    This paper deals with the contention, coming from two main sources in scientific theory (theory of evolution and string theory), that the conclusions of these theories demonstrate the nonexistence of God. In response to this, the author seeks to show that neither of these arguments is sound; he is not particularly concerned here with proving the existence of God. In the course of the paper, a certain amount of confusion concerning the requirements which these two scientific theories would make of (...)
  9. The Reality of Forms: On a Leibnizian Argument for the Existence of God in Whitehead's Metaphysics.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2007 - In Chromatikon: Annales de la Philosophie En Procès / Yearbook of Philosophy in Process. Presses Univ de Louvain. pp. 27-43.
  10. Reason and Faith: Themes From Swinburne.Michael Bergmann & Jeffrey E. Brower (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    The past fifty years have been an enormously fruitful period in the field of philosophy of religion, and few have done more to advance its development during this time than Richard Swinburne. His pioneering work has systematically developed a comprehensive set of positions within this field, and made major contributions to fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. This volume presents a collection of ten new essays in philosophy of religion that develop and critically engage themes from Swinburne's (...)
  11. The God of Eth and the God of Earth.Michael Bergmann & Jeffrey E. Brower - 2007 - Think 5 (14):33-38.
    Stephen Law has recently argued (Think 9), using a dialogue set on the fictional planet Eth, that traditional belief in God is . Bergmann and Brower argue that theists on Earth should not be convinced.
  12. An Evidential Argument for Theism From the Cognitive Science of Religion.Matthew Braddock - 2018 - In Hans Van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert van den Brink (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion: The Rationality of Religious Belief. Springer. pp. 171-198.
    What are the epistemological implications of the cognitive science of religion (CSR)? The lion’s share of discussion fixates on whether CSR undermines (or debunks or explains away) theistic belief. But could the field offer positive support for theism? If so, how? That is our question. Our answer takes the form of an evidential argument for theism from standard models and research in the field. According to CSR, we are naturally disposed to believe in supernatural agents and these beliefs are constrained (...)
  13. Free Will and the Problem of Evil.James Cain - 2004 - Religious Studies 40 (4):437-456.
    According to the free-will defence, the exercise of free will by creatures is of such value that God is willing to allow the existence of evil which comes from the misuse of free will. A well-known objection holds that the exercise of free will is compatible with determinism and thus, if God exists, God could have predetermined exactly how the will would be exercised; God could even have predetermined that free will would be exercised sinlessly. Thus, it is held, the (...)
  14. Augustine's Argument for the Existence of God.Hugh Chandler - manuscript
    Roughly speaking, Augustine claims that ‘Immutable Truth’ is superior to the human mind and, consequently a legitimate candidate for the role of God. Clearly there is such a thing as Immutable Truth. So either that is God, or there is something superior to Immutable Truth, and that superior thing is God. I spell out this argument, and offer some objections to it.
  15. Paley's 'Proof' of the Existence of God.Hugh Chandler - manuscript
    Paley’s ‘proof’ of the existence of God, or some supposed version of it, is well known. In this paper I offer the real thing and two objections to it. One objection is my own, and the other is provided by Darwin.
  16. The Structure of C. S. Peirce's Neglected Argument for the Reality of God: A Critical Assessment. Clanton - 2014 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 50 (2):175.
    C. S. Peirce develops a novel argument for belief in God in a 1908 paper he entitled “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God.”1 That essay has received a fair amount of attention in recent years,2 but Peirce’s overall argument remains somewhat obscure. There is still more work to be done in explicating its basic structure and determining whether the argument can withstand criticism. The purpose of this essay is to reconstruct Peirce’s argument in a way that reveals the (...)
  17. Philosophical Arguments for God.Bowman L. Clarke - 1964 - Sophia 3 (3):3-14.
  18. A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God and Other Writings.Samuel Clarke - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together with (...)
  19. Religions, Reasons and Gods.John Clayton - 1987 - Religious Studies 23 (1):1 - 17.
    Philosophers have tended to discuss theistic proofs largely in abstraction from their specific roles within the religious traditions in which those proofs were cultivated and in which, until modern times, they flourished. As a result, the traditional theistic proofs of the West are generally presented in the philosophical literature as no more than attempts to demonstrate or within tolerable limits to establish the probability of the existence of at least one god. Whatever the history of philosophy may suggest, the history (...)
  20. The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, Edited by Graham Oppy. [REVIEW]Richard Colledge - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):839-840.
  21. Concerning Infinite Chains, Infinite Trains, and Borrowing a Typewriter.David A. Conway - 1983 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (2):71 - 86.
  22. Arguing Successfully About God: A Review Essay of Graham Oppy’s Arguing About Gods.William Craig - 2008 - Philosophia Christi 10 (2):435-442.
  23. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.) - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  24. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.) - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  25. A Secular Age? Reflections on Taylor and Panikkar.Fred Dallmayr - 2012 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71 (3):189-204.
    During the last few years two major volumes have been published, both greatly revised versions of earlier Gifford Lectures: Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age ( 2007 ) and Raimon Panikkar’s The Rhythm of Being ( 2010 ). The two volumes are similar in some respects and very dissimilar in others. Both thinkers complain about the glaring blemishes of the modern, especially the contemporary age; both deplore above all a certain deficit of religiosity. The two authors differ, however, both in the (...)
  26. Gottes notwendige Existenz stiftet Sinn. Versuch eines transzendental-modallogischen Beweises.Gregor Damschen - 2014 - In Martina Bär & Maximilian Paulin (eds.), Macht Glück Sinn? Theologische und philosophische Erkundungen. Ostfildern, Germany: Matthias Grünewald Verlag. pp. 96-111.
    God's necessary existence makes sense. Attempt at a transcendental modal proof. - In this essay I outline a novel three-stage proof of God's necessary existence using transcendental and deductive methods. In the first step of the proof, by retorsion, it is proved that there is at least one sentence that is necessary and inescapable. In the second step, the inescapability of the modal logic supposed in the proof is shown. This step also contains a new argument in favour of epistemic (...)
  27. What Place, Then, for Rational Apologetics?Richard Brian Davis & W. Paul Franks - 2014 - In Paul Gould & Richard Brian Davis (eds.), Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J. P. Moreland. Chicago: Moody Publishers. pp. 127–140.
    In this chapter, we attempt to show that J.P. Moreland's understanding of apologetics is beautifully positioned to counter resistance to a rationally defensible Christianity—resistance arising from the mistaken idea that any rational defense will fail to support or even undermine relationship. We look first at Paul Moser's complaint that since rational apologetics doesn’t prove the God of Christianity, it falls short of delivering what matters most—a personal agent worthy of worship and relationship. We then consider John Wilkinson's charge that the (...)
  28. The Enduring Appeal of Natural Theological Arguments.Helen De Cruz - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (2):145-153.
    Natural theology is the branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to gain knowledge of God through non-revealed sources. In a narrower sense, natural theology is the discipline that presents rational arguments for the existence of God. Given that these arguments rarely directly persuade those who are not convinced by their conclusions, why do they enjoy an enduring appeal? This article examines two reasons for the continuing popularity of natural theological arguments: (i) they appeal to intuitions that humans robustly hold (...)
  29. Why the Five Ways? Aquinas’s Avicennian Insight Into the Problem of Unity in the Aristotelian Metaphysics and Sacra Doctrina.Daniel D. De Haan - 2012 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 86:141-158.
    This paper will argue that the order and the unity of St. Thomas Aquinas’s five ways can be elucidated through a consideration of St. Thomas’s appropriation of an Avicennian insight that he used to order and unify the wisdom of the Aristotelian and Abrahamic philosophical traditions towards the existence of God. I will begin with a central aporia from Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle says that the science of first philosophy has three different theoretical vectors: ontology, aitiology, and theology. But how can (...)
  30. Natural Theology and the Uses of Argument.John M. DePoe & Timothy J. McGrew - 2013 - Philosophia Christi 15 (2):299-309.
    Arguments in natural theology have recently increased in their number and level of sophistication. However, there has not been much analysis of the ways in which these arguments should be evaluated as good, taken collectively or individually. After providing an overview of some proposed goals and good-making criteria for arguments in natural theology, we provide an analysis that stands as a corrective to some of the ill-formed standards that are currently in circulation. Specifically, our analysis focuses on the relation between (...)
  31. Fool-Proof Proofs of God?Frank B. Dilley - 1977 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (1):18 - 35.
    Two claims have been explored, the first, that fool-proof proofs of the sort that there could be if there were a God like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not to be expected, on good religious grounds (a claim I found wanting); and second, that there cannot be philosophical proofs of God which work beyond reasonable doubt.The argument that there cannot be philosophical proofs beyond a reasonable doubt is supported by an examination of some of the fundamental issues (...)
  32. The Argument From the Bible (1996).Theodore M. Drange - manuscript
    Almost all evangelical Christians believe that the writing of the Bible was divinely inspired and represents God's main revelation to humanity. They also believe that the Bible contains special features which constitute evidence of its divine inspiration. This would be a use of the Bible to prove God's existence within natural theology rather than within revealed theology, since the book's features are supposed to be evident even to (open-minded) skeptics. Furthermore, since a divinely inspired work must be true, those features (...)
  33. Kant's Pre-Critical Proof for God's Existence.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In his Beweisgrund (1762), Kant presents a sketch of "the only possible basis" for a proof of God's existence. In this essay, I attempt to present that proof as a valid and sound argument for the existence of God.
  34. Cumulative Arguments in Theology.Michael Durrant - 1976 - Sophia 15 (3):1-6.
  35. Two 'Proofs' of God's Existence.A. C. Ewing - 1965 - Religious Studies 1 (1):29 - 45.
    I do not think that the existence of God can be proved or even that the main justification for the belief can be found in argument in the ordinary sense of that term, but I think two of the three which have, since Kant at least, been classified as the traditional arguments of natural theology have some force and are worthy of serious consideration. This consideration I shall now proceed to give. I cannot say this of the remaining one of (...)
  36. Two ‘Proofs’ of God's Existence.A. C. Ewing - 1965 - Religious Studies 1 (1):29.
  37. The Problem of God.Clarence Finlayson - 1948 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 9 (3):423-432.
  38. Causality and Personal Causality in the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri.Thomas B. Fowler - 2008 - The Xavier Zubiri Review 10:91 - 112.
    Causality has been a key concept throughout the history of philosophy. One of its main uses has been in securing proofs of the existence of God. A review of the history of causality discloses five distinct phases, with major changes to the uses and understanding of causality, with the last ending in a very confused idea of causality. Zubiri pointed out that there are really three elements conflated in the common idea of causality: real production of effects, functionality, and power (...)
  39. The Atheistic Argument From Outrageousness.Bryan Frances - 2018 - Think 17 (48):107-116.
    When pressed, many atheists offer three reasons why they reject theism: there is strong evidence against theism, there is no strong evidence for theism, and theism is so outrageous that it needs a great deal of support in order for us to believe it in a reasonable manner. I examine the third reason, arguing that it fails.
  40. The Mad, Bad, or God Argument Explained.Matthew Frise - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (4):581-589.
    According to Stephen Davis's Mad, Bad, or God (MBG) argument, Jesus must be divine since all other leading explanations of his alleged claim to be divine can be ruled out. I criticize Davis's argument and then sketch an ‘inference to best explanation’ MBG argument. I argue that proponents and critics of MBG arguments should focus on mine since it avoids common pitfalls at no cost and it best respects (for better or worse) a massive but too easily ignored body of (...)
  41. Einfachheit und Wahrscheinlichkeit: Swinburnes c-induktive Argumente für die Existenz Gottes.Sebastian Gab - 2010 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 39 (95):85-110.
  42. The Existence of God.Richard M. Gale & Alexander R. Pruss (eds.) - 2003
  43. The Miracle of Theism.J. C. A. Gaskin - 1984 - Philosophical Books 25 (1):43-45.
  44. Et hoc dicimus Deum.Paul Gilbert - 2009 - Giornale di Metafisica 31 (3):465 - 480.
    The five ways to God or the so-called proofs of God’s existence according to St. Thomas require the study of numerous conditions of intelligibility. In principle ’Doctor communis’ excludes the possibility of an intuition of God. Thus, the existence of God is not seen as an object of intuition, unlike what exists in our common experience. Hence, the article attempts to specify the meaning of different terms like ’esse, essentia, existentia, esse actus, esse in actu’ and so forth. In conclusion (...)
  45. An Analytic Theologian's Stance on the Existence of God.Benedikt Paul Göcke - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (2):129--146.
    The existence of God is once again the focus of vivid philosophical discussion. From the point of view of analytic theology, however, people often talk past each other when they debate about the putative existence or nonexistence of God. In the worst case, for instance, atheists deny the existence of a God, which no theists ever claimed to exist. In order to avoid confusions like this we need to be clear about the function of the term 'God' in its different (...)
  46. The Extravagant Creator of Junk DNA.James Goetz - 2006 - International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design Archive.
    Denton proposes a hypothesis of frontloaded teleological evolution while Denton suggests that a vast amount of junk DNA is incompatible with his model of teleology and perhaps any model of teleology. This paper outlines a hypothesis for a vast amount of junk DNA with no selective constraints, and proposes that the junk DNA is compatible with teleological evolution that included occasional intervention during the history of adaptive evolution. And this paper introduces a hypothesis for the necessity of intervention in the (...)
  47. The God of Consciousness: A Review Essay on Recent Work by J. P. Moreland.Stewart Goetz - 2010 - Philosophia Christi 12 (1):189 - 200.
    In his two first-rate books, ’Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument’ and ’The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism’, J. P. Moreland argues that our existence as conscious beings presents insurmountable problems for naturalism and evidence for theism. In this review, I summarize Moreland’s treatment of three issues in scientific theory acceptance, which he claims are relevant to determining which worldview, theism or naturalism, is better able to explain the existence of conscious mental (...)
  48. The Rainbow of Experiences, Critical Trust and God: A Defense of Holistic Empiricism. By Kai-Man Kwan. [REVIEW]Tyron Goldschmidt - 2012 - Faith and Philosophy 29 (4):472-478.
  49. Engaging Philosophy: A Brief Introduction.Mitchell S. Green - 2006 - Hackett.
    This brief book introduces students and general readers to philosophy through core questions and topics -- particularly those involving ethics, the existence of God, free will, the relation of mind and body, and what it is to be a person. It also features a chapter on reasoning, both theoretical and practical, that develops an account of both cogent logical reasoning and rational decision-making. Throughout, the emphasis is on initiating newcomers to philosophy through rigorous yet lively consideration of some of the (...)
  50. Richard Swinburne, 'The Existence of God'.Jeremy Gwiazda - 2009 - Sophia 48 (4):393 - 398.
    Swinburne relies on principle P in ’The Existence of God’ to argue that God is simple and thus likely to exist. In this paper, I argue that Swinburne does not support P. In particular, his arguments from mathematical simplicity and scientists’ preferences both fail. Given the central role P plays in Swinburne’s overall argument in ’The Existence of God’, I conclude that Swinburne should further support P if his argument that God likely exists is to be persuasive.
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