The soul-making theodicy seeks to explain how belief in the existence of God is compatible with the evil, pain and suffering we experience in our world. It purports to meet the problem of evil posed by non-theists by articulating a divine plan in which the occurrence of evil is necessary for enabling the greater good of character building of free moral agents. Many philosophers of religion have levelled strong objections against this theodicy. In this essay, Leslie Allan considers the effectiveness (...) of the counterarguments advanced by theist philosopher, Clement Dore, to two key objections to the soul-making theodicy. (shrink)
The existence of evil, pain and suffering is considered by many philosophers to be the most vexed question concerning the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect deity. Why would a loving God permit wanton acts of cruelty and misery on the scale witnessed throughout human history? In this essay, Leslie Allan evaluates four common theistic responses to this problem, highlighting the benefits and challenges faced by each approach. He concludes with a critical examination of a theistic defence designed (...) to show that the problem of evil is not a problem at all. (shrink)
This paper deals with the theme of Atonement. It is a rudimentary paper which has been prepared in a hurry in these trying times; especially for the use of students all over the world during the ongoing pandemic of COVID 19. It deals with the title of Atonement. The article should be cited properly if referred to by anyone. It is made open access since the author believes any knowledge worth sharing should be freely available to all.
Descartes argues that, apart from the existence of a veracious God, we can have no reason to believe that we possess reliable cognitive faculties, with the result that, if atheism is true, not even our seemingly most certain beliefs can count as knowledge for us. Since the atheist denies the existence of God, he or she will be precisely in this position. I argue that Descartes' argument is sound, and that atheism is therefore self-refuting.
Atheists sometimes use Bertrand Russell's teapot argument, and its variants with other objects in place of the teapot, to argue for the rationality of atheism. In this paper I show that this use of the teapot argument and its variants is unacceptably circular. The circularity arises because there is indirect evidence against the objects invoked in the arguments.
William James wrote about varieties of religious experience (See http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/JamVari.html) but I don't know of anyone who has documented the varieties of atheism. Unlike James I don't here attempt to collect data about what atheists say and do, and how they came by their atheism. This is, instead, an analytical paper describing how various sorts of atheistic position can arise in opposition to various sorts of theistic position. Clarity about this could help to make debates about atheism and theism more (...) fruitful. -/- This document attempts to make clear that there are several forms of atheism, of varying ’strength’ in their opposition to theism, and that there are several types of theism to which each type of atheism can be opposed. This means that instead of atheism being just a single viewpoint it covers a multitude of cases, each definable by a type of theism and a type of objection to that form of theism. -/- The document is freely available online here: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/misc/varieties-of-atheism.html. (shrink)
This paper is a critique of Richard Dawkins’ “argument from improbability” against the existence of God. This argument, which forms the core of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, provides an interesting example of the use of scientific ideas in arguments about religion. Here I raise three objections: (1) The argument is inapplicable to philosophical conceptions of God that reduce most of God’s complexity to that of the physical universe. (2) The argument depends on a way of estimating probabilities that fails (...) for the probability of an entity that creates natural laws. (3) The argument supposes that complexity arises from past physical causes; however, some forms of complexity known to mathematics and logic do not arise in this way. After stating these three criticisms, I show that some of these same considerations undermine Dawkins’ critique of agnosticism. I close the paper with some remarks on Dawkins’ conception of God. (shrink)
Joshua Matthan Brown contrasts the concept of God assumed by most analytic philosophers, what he refers to as theistic personalism, with that of the apophatic conception of God endorsed by Eastern Christian thinkers. He maintains that the most powerful and economical response to contemporary arguments for atheism is to reject theistic personalism and adopt apophatic theism. Apophatic theists believe there is a lot we cannot say about God, taking the divine nature to be completely ineffable. Brown develops a coherent account (...) of divine ineffability and provides reasons for adopting this oft misunderstood view. Importantly, he draws upon apophatic theology, and its commitment to divine ineffability, to proffer an undercutting defeater for virtually every contemporary argument for the nonexistence of God. Along the way he anticipates and responds to several significant objections. (shrink)
(in lieu of abstract, first paragraphs here) For philosophers, reading Richard Dawkins is often a frustrating experience. Many of Dawkins’ writings treat important philosophical topics, such as the existence of God, the meaning of life, the relationship of randomness to order. Dawkins has original ideas, but he lacks the philosophical training and vocabulary to articulate these ideas properly and to develop them coherently. In Believing in Dawkins, Eric Steinhart sets himself an ambitious task: to use the writings of Dawkins to (...) present a coherent, naturalistic alternative to religious metaphysics, specifically to Christian theism. Using an architectural metaphor, he summarizes the project of Believing in Dawkins as follows -/- It is helpful to think of the Dawkinsian texts in architectural terms. His fragmentary sketches for spiritual naturalism are like architectural drawings. Sometimes they depict little windows, while other times they portray enormous spires reaching towards the stars. The edifice is vast. But these architectural diagrams are often unclear, incomplete, and inconsistent. I want to clarify them, fill in their missing parts, and resolve their conflicts. So I’m using his writings to construct a novel building. … To fit his fragmentary plans into a coherent and self-supporting structure, I will add some large-scale frameworks (10). -/- Steinhart’s wide-ranging book covers many topics: complexity, ontology, possibility, humanity, spirituality, among many others. He does not sneak theism into Dawkins’ writings. In fact, Steinhart argues that many practices and ideas that he uses to construct the edifice of Dawkins’ spiritual naturalism have been hijacked by theism, such as the notion of an afterlife, sacredness, holiness, and even the notion of gratitude. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that sceptical theists have too narrow a focus: they consider only God’s axiological reasons, ignoring any non-axiological reasons he may have. But this is a mistake: predicting how God will act requires knowing about his reasons in general, and this requires knowing about both God’s axiological and non-axiological reasons. In light of this, I construct and defend a kind of sceptical theism—Deontological Sceptical Theism—that encompasses all of God’s reasons, and briefly illustrate how it renders irrelevant (...) certain charges of excessive sceptical and how it evaporates equiprobability objections. Furthermore, I put forth a simple argument in favor of Deontological Sceptical Theism, which shows that everyone (at least currently) ought to endorse it. (shrink)
This article presents an argument for atheism that contains a premise stated from the first-person perspective and that is intended to rationally persuade people who satisfy certain conditions. The argument also contains a premise about what God would do, if God existed, that is acceptable to theists and is affirmed in some major monotheistic religious traditions. This article explains how the argument differs from some other familiar arguments for atheism and then discusses some critical responses to it.
The article analyses libertine themes and authors of 17th century in articles, critical notes and reviews of three major Italian journals of the 20th century – Rivista di filosofia, Giornale critico della filosofia italiana and Rivista critica di storia della filosofia (since 1984 titled Rivista di storia della filosofia). The category of ‘libertinism’ refers to various disciplinary fields: philosophy, politics, literature, modern history or religious history. This ambiguity influences the analyses of libertinism in the Italian historic-philosophical debate. The last two (...) decades of the 20th century show a renewed interest of the three journals on libertine themes and on the relationship between libertinism and philosophy. Research on libertine thought focuses mainly on French libertinism (i.e. libertinage érudit) and on the philosophical clandestine literature: the journals discuss or review clandestine texts, as the Theophrastus redivivus (1659), whose critical edition was published in Italy in 1981–1982. (shrink)
Sam Harris (2010) argues that, given our neurology, we can experience well-being, and that seeking to maximize this state lets us distinguish the good from the bad. He takes our ability to compare degrees of well-being as his starting point, but I think that the analysis can be pushed further, since there is a (non-religious) reason why well-being is desirable, namely the finite life of an individual organism. It is because death is a constant possibility that things can be assessed (...) as “for” or “against” one (Champagne 2011a; Smith 2000). Such an account lets us objectively adjudicate moral questions, as Harris desires. However, by anchoring itself in the mortal body as a whole and not just the brain, such an account dampens the claim that neuroscience would have all the answers. Moreover, it pivots on an affirmation of one’s life that can seem mysterious by regular scientific standards. This chapter thus explains why the trade-off is worthwhile. (shrink)
In this book, Roberto Di Ceglie offers an historical, theological, and epistemological investigation exploring how commitments to God and/or the good generate the optimum condition to achieve knowledge. Di Ceglie criticizes the common belief that to attain knowledge, one must always be ready to replace one's convictions with beliefs that appear to be proven. He defends a more comprehensive view, historically exemplified by outstanding Christian thinkers, whereby believers are expected to commit themselves to God and to related beliefs no matter (...) how convincing the evidence contradicting such beliefs appear to be. He also argues that both believers and unbelievers can commit themselves to God and the good, respectively, thereby creating a spiritual turn in epistemology that enables them to generate the best possible condition for conducting rational enquiries and discussion. (shrink)
Zarathustra initially describes churches as the stale caves of world-denying priests. However, following his encounter with the eternal return of the same, Zarathustra overcomes this resentful atheism. The pure sky that Zarathustra desires above all else, a sky emptied of the gods, is not visible again through the holes in ruined church roofs, but really thanks to these holes. The pure sky is an image of the world liberated from the teleological time of theistic providence, indeed even from the divine (...) necessity that pantheism attributes to the world. Yet for all that it is god-less, the pure sky is acknowledged to be a gift of the same metaphysical-Christian history of God that it only seems to negate: the sky’s pure eye peers through holes in church roofs. Zarathustra, though an “old atheist,” can now love “even churches.” I call this Zarathustra’s affirmative atheism. I also link affirmative atheism to the conception of eternal recurrence as a self-abolishing anti-teaching. In the eternal return, Zarathustra’s atheism is finally indistinguishable from a history of churches and therefore negates itself. But although it is not a new teaching, affirmative atheism points to something novel. This is an atheism that can no longer be taught in doctrines but must be lived as fate. (shrink)
Prior research found correlations between reflection test performance and philosophical tendencies among laypeople. In two large studies (total N = 1299)—one pre-registered—many of these correlations were replicated in a sample that included both laypeople and philosophers. For example, reflection test performance predicted preferring atheism over theism and instrumental harm over harm avoidance on the trolley problem. However, most reflection-philosophy correlations were undetected when controlling for other factors such as numeracy, preferences for open-minded thinking, personality, philosophical training, age, and gender. Nonetheless, (...) some correlations between reflection and philosophical views survived this multivariate analysis and were only partially confounded with either education or self-reported reasoning preferences. Unreflective thinking still predicted believing in God whereas reflective thinking still predicted believing that (a) proper names like ‘Santa’ do not necessarily refer to entities that actually exist and (b) science does reveal the fundamental nature of the world. So some robust relationships between reflection and philosophical tendencies were detected even among philosophers, and yet there was clearly more to the link between reflection and philosophy. To this end, demographic and metaphilosophical hypotheses are considered. (shrink)
This book deals with the intricate issue of approaching atheism—methodologically as well as conceptually—from the perspective of cultural pluralism. What does ‘atheism’ mean in different cultural contexts? Can this term be applied appropriately to different religious discourses which conceptualize God/gods/Goddess/goddesses (and also godlessness) in hugely divergent ways? Is my ‘God’ the same as yours? If not, then how can your atheism be the same as mine? In other words, this volume raises the question: Is it not high time that we (...) proposed a comparative study of atheism(s) alongside that of religions, rather than believing that atheism is centered in the ‘Western’ experience? Apart from answering these questions, the book highlights the much-needed focus on the philosophical negotiations between atheism, theism and agnosticism. The fine chapters collected here present pluralist negotiations with the notion of atheism and its ethical, theological, literary and scientific corollaries. (shrink)
This article examines the death of God theme in the work of Jacques Lacan and indicates some convergences with Christian theology. It distinguishes the ‘atheism’ of Lacan from the atheism of Freud. And it demonstrates that if Lacan does not believe in the God equated with Being, the God of the philosophers, the later Lacan’s argument for what he calls the ‘eksistence’ of God beyond language, the God of the mystics, makes for a highly nuanced atheism.
Thirty years after the publication of Dominique Janicaud’s criticism of what he termed the “theological turn” of phenomenology in France, what is the state of the debate? This paper addresses that question, by examining the phenomenology of revelation in Marion, Lacoste, and others, in turn replying to various arguments that have been advanced against the theological turn and on behalf of methodological atheism. Not only is revelation a viable topic of phenomenological analysis, the attempts to formulate a methodologically atheist phenomenology (...) fail. (shrink)
Nagasawa has argued that the suffering associated with evolution presents a greater challenge to atheism than to theism because that evil is incompatible with ‘existential optimism’ about the world – with seeing the world as an overall good place, and being thankful that we exist. I argue that even if atheism was incompatible with existential optimism in this way, this presents no threat to atheism. Moreover, it is unclear how the suffering associated with evolution could on its own undermine existential (...) optimism. Links between Nagasawa's argument and the current debate about the axiology of theism are also explored. (shrink)
There is hardly any theme in Karl Marx’s theoretical corpus that has garnered as much traction as his theory of fetishism. Ever since Marx introduced the term into his critique of political economy in Capital, fetishism became a field of theoretical force, creating its own gravitational center toward which the interest of later generations of historians, social theorists, and political activists has been pulled. While much ink has been spilled on the specific content and theoretical scope of fetishism in Capital (...) for over one and a half centuries, young Marx’s initial exploration of the term rarely enjoyed critical attention. This is especially true in regard to the period from his early journalism in the Rheinische Zeitung (1842–43) to his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. (shrink)
An emerging body of research suggests that psychedelic experiences can change users’ religious or metaphysical beliefs. Here I explore issues concerning psychedelic-induced belief change via a critique of some recent arguments by Wayne Glausser. Two scientific studies seem to show that psychedelic experiences can convert atheists to belief in God, but Glausser holds that academic and popular discussions of these studies are misleading. I offer a different analysis of the relevant findings, attempting to preserve the insights of Glausser’s critique while (...) setting the record straight on some important points. For one thing, the studies provide stronger evidence for atheist deconversion than Glausser allows. For another, Glausser’s arguments against the “Metaphysical Belief Theory” of psychedelic therapy involve scientifically dubious claims and inferences. Finally, in evaluating this theory, we ought to focus on its strongest version, which posits belief shifts from metaphysical naturalism to non-naturalism, rather than from atheism to classical monotheism. (shrink)
Platonic religiosity is the first of two volumes devoted to the analysis of religiosity or religious feeling (pathos) in Plato. -/- (Back cover) Platonic Religiosity is a hermeneutical attempt to read Platonic works from the perspective of their religiosity. The aspects examined in the book are limited for the moment to the most basic, perhaps even the simplest, dimensions of religious feeling, those involving the representation of a relationship between man and divinity, Earth and Heaven, "low" and "high". Low and (...) high are spatial metaphors constitutive of our thinking. Although, in this case, they indicate the link between man and the super-sensible world, they also presuppose, at all times, the devout feeling (and the risk) of an insurmountable distance and remoteness that divides men from the numen. The need to affirm the relationship partly overcomes the presence of this feeling of distance, but never manages to neutralise it completely. -/- Religious feeling as such always oscillates between two terms: the need to establish a relationship with the divinity, and thus to guarantee its proximity to man, and the affirmation of its transcendence, namely the distance that divides us from the numen, up to the point, eventually, where the danger becomes the greatest: the denial of the god by man (atheism) or the human feeling of being abandoned by the god. The presence of these oscillations in the Platonic texts is analysed in several chapters of the book, devoted to different themes, such as the representations of reciprocity (do ut des), the images of the friendly god and the hostile god, the feeling of the threshold, prayers and invocations, verecundia and nostalgia, the feeling of dependence, the notion of prescience, assimilation to the god, the different types of ineffability, the role of atheism and incredulity, and lastly the notion of conversion, which substantiates Platonic religiosity by characterising it in the sense of a redemption-belief. (shrink)
It is sometimes thought that the Problem of Evil entails the inexistence of God. However, this is not the case: it only entails the inexistence of an omnipotent-benevolent god, of which the God of Classical Theism is an example. As for ‘limited’ deities such as that of process theology, or malevolent deities such as that of dystheism, the problem of evil is not a problem at all.
James Sterba has recently argued that the free will defense fails to explain the compossibility of a perfect God and the amount and degree of moral evil that we see. I think he is mistaken about this. I thus find myself in the awkward and unexpected position, as a non-theist myself, of defending the free will defense. In this paper, I will try to show that once we take care to focus on what the free will defense is trying to (...) accomplish, and by what means it tries to do so, we will see that Sterba’s criticism of it misses the mark. (shrink)
This paper discusses a wide range of anti-naturalistic argument from reason due to Balfour, Haldane, Joad, Lewis, Taylor, Moreland, Plantinga, Reppert, and Hasker. I argue that none of these arguments poses a serious challenge to naturalists who are identity theorists. Further, I argue that some of these arguments do not even pose prima facie plausible challenges to naturalism. In the concluding part of my discussion, I draw attention to some distinctive differences between Hasker’s anti-naturalistic arguments and the other anti-naturalistic arguments (...) mentioned above. (shrink)
Skeptical theism is a family of responses to arguments from evil. One important member of that family is Stephen Wykstra’s CORNEA-based criticism of William Rowe’s arguments from evil. A cornerstone of Wykstra’s approach is his CORNEA principle. However, a number of authors have criticized CORNEA on various grounds, including that it has odd results, it cannot do the work it was meant to, and it problematically conflicts with the so-called common sense epistemology. In this paper, I explicate and defend a (...) CORNEA principle. After sketching a brief argument for it, I show how it can be acquitted of these recent charges. (shrink)
Argument z ukrytości Johna L. Schellenberga jest współcześnie jednym z najżywiej dyskutowanych argumentów za ateizmem. Rozumowanie kanadyjskiego filozofa wskazuje na problematyczność zjawiska niezawinionej niewiary w istnienie Boga przy założeniu, że doskonale kochający Bóg istnieje. W książce Ukrytość i wcielenie. Teistyczna odpowiedź na argument Johna L. Schellenberga za nieistnieniem Boga, Marek Dobrzeniecki zaproponował nowatorską obronę przed tym argumentem, wykorzystującą chrześcijańską doktrynę o wcieleniu Syna Bożego. W artykule wykazuję, że obrona z Wcielenia nie odnosi sukcesu. Błędna jest bowiem jej kluczowa teza, iż (...) Bóg wcielony musi być ukryty dla człowieka. W świetle tego rezultatu problematyczne staje się istnienie niezawinionej niewiary we Wcielenie. Ten problem ukrytości wcielonego Boga zawiera w sobie jako część składową problem ukrytości Boga w sformułowaniu Schellenberga. -/- The argument from hiddenness developed by John L. Schellenberg is one of the most discussed philosophical arguments for atheism. It assumes that there is a conflict between the existence of a perfectly loving God and the existence of nonresistant nonbelief. In his recent book titled Hiddenness and the Incarnation. A Theistic Response to John L. Schellenberg’s Argument for Divine Nonexistence (2020), Marek Dobrzeniecki presents a novel defence against the hiddenness argument, employing the Christian doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God. In my paper, I argue that this defence fails. It is based on an incorrect claim that the Incarnation makes God necessarily hidden to humans. This allows one to formulate a new problem of hiddenness, related to the fact that there are nonresistant human beings who do not accept the divinity of Christ. The problem of hiddenness as described by Schellenberg forms an essential part of this new problem . (shrink)
Cognitive science of religion is sometimes portrayed as having no bearing on the theological doctrines of particular religious traditions, such as Christianity. In this paper, I argue that the naturalistic account of the etiology of religious beliefs offered by the cognitive science of religion undermines the important Christian doctrine of the grace of faith, which teaches that the special gift of divine grace is a necessary precondition for coming to faith. This has some far-reaching ramifications for Christian theology. -/- .
In his article, ‘What's Wrong with Tooley's Argument from Evil?’, Calum Miller's goal was to show that the evidential argument from evil that I have advanced is unsound, and in support of that claim, Miller set out three main objections. First, he argued that I had failed to recognize that the actual occurrence of an event can by itself, at least in principle, constitute good evidence that it was not morally wrong for God to allow events of the kind in (...) question. Miller's second objection was then that, in attempting to show that it is unlikely that God exists, I had failed to consider either positive arguments in support of the existence of God or possible theodicies, and thus that I was unjustified in drawing any conclusions concerning the probability that theism is true in the light of the total evidence available. Miller's third and final objection was that one of the approaches to logical probability that I employed – namely, that based upon a structure-description equiprobability principle, rather than a state-description equiprobability principle – was unsound since it has clearly unacceptable implications. In response, I argue that all three of Miller's objections are unsound. The third objection, however, is nevertheless important since it shows that my type of argument from evil cannot be based merely on the evils found in the world. One must also consider good states of affairs, and their relations to bad ones. I show, however, that that deficiency can be addressed in a completely satisfactory manner. (shrink)
Explicit atheism is a philosophical position according to which belief in God is irrational, and thus it should be rejected. In this paper, I revisit, extend, and defend against the most telling counter arguments the Kalām Cosmological Argument in order to show that explicit atheism must be deemed as a positively irrational position.
The two-volume Cambridge History of Atheism offers an authoritative and up to date account of a subject of contemporary interest. Comprised of sixty essays by an international team of scholars, this History is comprehensive in scope. The essays are written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including religious studies, philosophy, sociology, and classics. Offering a global overview of the subject, from antiquity to the present, the volumes examine the phenomenon of unbelief in the context of Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, and (...) Jewish societies. They explore atheism and the early modern Scientific Revolution, as well as the development of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and its continuing implications. The History also includes general survey essays on the impact of scepticism, agnosticism and atheism, as well as contemporary assessments of thinking. Providing essential information on the nature and history of atheism, The Cambridge History of Atheism will be indispensable for both scholarship and teaching, at all levels. (shrink)
Godsends is William Desmond's newest addition to his masterwork on the borderlines between philosophy and theology. For many years, William Desmond has been patiently constructing a philosophical project-replete with its own terminology, idiom, grammar, dialectic, and its metaxological transformation-in an attempt to reopen certain boundaries: between metaphysics and phenomenology, between philosophy of religion and philosophical theology, between the apocalyptic and the speculative, and between religious passion and systematic reasoning. In Godsends, Desmond's newest addition to his ambitious masterwork, he presents an (...) original reflection on what he calls the "companioning" of philosophy and religion. Throughout the book, he follows an itinerary that has something of an Augustinian likeness: from the exterior to the interior, from the inferior to the superior. The stations along the way include: a grappling with the default atheism prevalent in contemporary intellectual culture; an exploration of the middle space, the metaxu between the finite and the infinite; a dwelling with solitudes as thresholds between selving and the sacred; a meditation on idiot wisdom and transcendence in an East-West perspective; an exploration of the different stresses in the mysticisms of Aurobindo and the Arnhem Sermons; dream monologue of autonomy, a suite of Kantian and post-Kantian variations on the story of the prodigal son; a meditation on the beatitudes as exceeding virtue, in light of Aquinas's understanding; culminating in an exploration of Godsends as telling us something significant about the surprise of revelation, in word, idea, and story. Godsends is written for thoughtful persons and scholars perplexed about the place of religion in our time and hopeful for some illuminating companionship from relevant philosophers. It will also interest students of philosophy and religion, especially philosophical theology and philosophical metaphysics. (shrink)
Critics of skeptical theism often claim that if it (skeptical theism) is true, then we are in the dark about whether (or for all we know) there is a morally justifying for God to radically deceive us. From here, it is argued that radical skepticism follows: if we are truly in the dark about whether there is a morally justifying reason for God to radically deceive us, then we cannot know anything. In this article, I show that skeptical theism does (...) not entail that we are in the dark about whether (or for all we know) there is a morally justifying reason for God to deceive us. And hence arguments against skeptical theism that make use of this assumption fail. (shrink)
Religious and atheistic belief are presented anew in a volume of essays from leading phenomenologists in both France and the UK. Atheism, often presented as the negation of religious belief, is here engaged with from a phenomenologically informed notion of experience. The focus on experience, sparks new debates in readings of belief, faith and atheism as they relate to and complicate each other. What unites the contributors is their relationship to phenomenology as it has developed in France in the wake (...) of Heidegger and Husserl. Leading French intellectuals from this context, Jean-Luc Nancy, Quentin Meillassoux, and Catherine Malabou, amongst others, contribute arresting ideas on atheistic faith, the death of God, and anarchic faith, opening up new areas of understanding in a field whose parameters and core concepts are ever shifting. Revealing the extent to which religious and atheistic belief must be seen to influence, and on a fundamental level, to co-create one another, the pluralistic society in which religious belief is counted as one option amongst many is given primacy. The fact that religious faith has become not only optional but also, in many contexts, strangely alienated from society, deeply modifies the experience of the believer as much as that of the non-believer. A focus on 'experience', over and above 'belief', moves us towards a mode of experiential knowledge which refuses to privilege the atheistic believer and deride the reality of religious belief. (shrink)
Atheism is the deviation from integrity and the denial of the existence of God Almighty, monotheism and Islam. Even though that man has been created with the pure nature of Islam, he might incline to atheism because of some reasons and motives. However, the phenomenon of atheism was available at the time of the Ahlul-Bayt, but its general characteristics, at that time, were sensualism and naturalism, and that knowledge was limited to senses, imagination, and rationality tainted by illusion and imagination, (...) emphasizing man’s physical aspects. Heretics and atheists denied the existence of the Creator, after denying the creation of the possible world, making use of imaginary and illusory reason. The Ahlul-Bayt, as being the scientific reference then, responded to atheism at their time in many ways, in order to undertake their duty of guiding humanity toward perfection. In this task, the Infallible Imams followed ethical and rational methods. By ethical methods, we mean giving the chance to atheists to ask questions and offer their suspicions, without criticizing an atheist’s personality, but his arguments. Rational methods, both conceptual and contextual, can be summarized into the provocative approach, avoiding of possible harm, making use of rational and logical rules, with emphasizing the principle of causality, and reasoning according to the self arguments, quoting the proofs the human self, referring to it and establishing clear evidence by making use of empirical sciences to prove the existence of the Creator and refute atheism. (shrink)
Many atheists argue that because gratuitous evil exists, God (probably) doesn’t. But doesn’t this commit atheists to wishing that God did exist, and to the pro-theist view that the world would have been better had God existed? This doesn’t follow. I argue that if all that evil still remains but is just no longer gratuitous, then, from an atheist perspective, that wouldn’t have been better. And while a counterfactual from which that evil is literally absent would have been impersonally better, (...) it wouldn’t have been better for anyone, not even for those who suffered such evils. (shrink)
The theism-atheism debate is foreign to many Mahāyāna Buddhist thinkers such as the Japanese Zen Master Dōgen. Nevertheless, his philosophy of ‘expression’ is able to shine a new light on the various incarnations of this debate throughout history. This paper will explore a/theism from Dōgen’s philosophical standpoint. Dōgen introduces the notion of ‘expression’ to describe the concomitant vertical and horizontal relationships of the religious project, namely the relationship between the individual and the divine as well as the relationship among a (...) multiplicity of individuals, each of which Dōgen conceives of as an expression of the divine and/or the oneness of the cosmos. Dōgen’s philosophy presupposes the ‘way of emptiness’ and Chengguan’s ‘four dharma worlds’. To Dōgen, the former indicates the conventional nature of predication and signification, while the latter denotes the existential interwovenness of numerous individuals and the divine oneness of the cosmos. Such a philosophy implies that all truth claims and philosophical positions are mere intellectual and discursive constructions that are formulated against a perceived other. Therefore, Dōgen observes laconically that ‘when one side is expressed, the other is obscured’ or, as Dōgen says elsewhere, ‘when expression is expressed, non-expression is not expressed.’ Dōgen’s philosophical framework provides some interesting insights about one or more discourses on atheism: Again, the basic assumption is that all philosophical paradigms, systems, and positions are devoid of an absolute truth value, framed in a specific cultural and historical context which they express, and formulated vis-à-vis a perceived other. In this paper, I will look at Friedrich Nietzsche’s atheism from the perspective of Dōgen’s philosophical standpoint. Concretely, I will present Nietzsche’s position on his own terms, translate his philosophy into Dōgen’s terminology, interpret his philosophy from the standpoint of Dōgen’s philosophical approach, and assess the utility of such an exercise. I believe that such a project enables us to read theism through the eyes of atheism, atheism through the eyes of theism, both through the eyes of Dōgen, and Dōgen through the eyes of the a/theism debate. In this last section, I will introduce the language of Nishida Kitarō who attempted a similar project in his The Logic of Basho and the Religious Worldview. The goal of this project is to determine what atheism denies, what atheism contributes, and why a multi-faceted and multi-cultural engagement of atheism is important today. (shrink)
This paper investigates Denys Turner’s article, “On Denying the Right God: Aquinas on Atheism and Idolatry.” According to the author, Denys Turner’s account contributes to theist and atheist debates by treating the issue of whether God can be intelligibly comprehended with great emphasis.