Skepticaltheism combines theism with skepticism about our capacity to discern God’s morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil. Proponents have claimed that skepticaltheism defeats the evidential argument from evil. Many opponents have objected that it implies untenable moral skepticism, induces appalling moral paralysis, and the like. Recently Daniel Howard-Snyder has tried to rebut this prevalent objection to skepticaltheism by rebutting it as an objection to the skeptical part of skeptical (...)theism, which part he labels “Agnosticism” (with an intentionally capital “A”). I argue that his rebuttal fails as a defense of Agnosticism against the objection and even more so as a defense of skepticaltheism. (shrink)
Recently there has been a good deal of interest in the relationship between common sense epistemology and SkepticalTheism. Much of the debate has focused on Phenomenal Conservatism and any tension that there might be between it and SkepticalTheism. In this paper I further defend the claim that there is no tension between Phenomenal Conservatism and SkepticalTheism. I show the compatibility of these two views by coupling them with an account of defeat (...) – one that is friendly to both Phenomenal Conservatism and SkepticalTheism. In addition, I argue that this account of defeat can give the Skeptical Theist what she wants – namely a response to the evidential argument from evil that can leave one of its premises unmotivated. In giving this account I also respond to several objections from Trent Dougherty (2011) and Chris Tucker (this volume) as well as to an additional worry coming from the epistemology of disagreement. (shrink)
The most common charge against sceptical theism is that it is too sceptical, i.e. it committed to some undesirable form of scepticism or another. I contend that Michael Bergmann’s sceptical theism isn’t sceptical enough. I argue that, if true, the sceptical theses secure a genuine victory: they prevent, for some people, a prominent argument from evil from providing any justification whatsoever to doubt the existence of God. On the other hand, even if true, the sceptical theses fail to (...) prevent even the atheist from justifiably accepting it. (shrink)
Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism being false: if evil is evidence against God, then seeing no justifying reason for some particular instance of evil must be evidence for it truly being pointless. I think this dialectic is mistaken. In this paper, after drawing a lesson about fallibility and induction from the preface paradox, I argue that the force of (...) the evidential problem of evil is compatible with sceptical theism being true. More exactly, I argue that the collection of apparently pointless evil in the world provides strong evidence for there being truly pointless evil, despite the fact that seeing no justifying reason for some particular instance of evil is no evidence whatsoever for it truly being pointless. I call this result the paradox of evil. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism is a popular response to arguments from evil. Many hold that it undermines a key inference often used by such arguments. However, the case for skepticaltheism is often kept at an intuitive level: no one has offered an explicit argument for the truth of skepticaltheism. In this article, I aim to remedy this situation: I construct an explicit, rigorous argument for the truth (of one version) of skepticaltheism.
This article is a response to Stephen Law's article ‘The evil-god challenge’. In his article, Law argues that if belief in evil-god is unreasonable, then belief in good-god is unreasonable; that the antecedent is true; and hence so is the consequent. In this article, I show that Law's affirmation of the antecedent is predicated on the problem of good (i.e. the problem of whether an all-evil, all-powerful, and all-knowing God would allow there to be as much good in the world (...) as there is), and argue that the problem of good fails. Thus, the antecedent is unmotivated, which renders the consequent unmotivated. Law's challenge for good-god theists is to show that good-god theism is not rendered unreasonable by the problem of evil in the same way that evil-god theism is rendered unreasonable by the problem of good. Insofar as the problem of good does not render belief in evil-god unreasonable, Law's challenge has been answered: since it is not unreasonable to believe in evil-god (at least for the reasons that Law gives) it is not unreasonable to believe in good-god. Finally, I show that – my criticism aside – the evil-god challenge turns out to be more complicated and controversial than it initially appears, for it relies on the (previously unacknowledged) contentious assumption that sceptical theism is false. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology has been used to respond to many debunking arguments against theistic belief. However, critics have claimed that Plantinga’s religious epistemology conflicts with skepticaltheism, a view often used in response to the problem of evil. If they are correct, then a common way of responding to debunking arguments conflicts with a common way of responding to the problem of evil. In this paper, I examine the critics’ claims and argue that they are right. I (...) then present two revised versions of Plantinga’s argument for his religious epistemology. I call the first a 'religion-based argument' and the second an 'intention-based argument'. Both are compatible with skepticaltheism, and both can be used to respond to debunking arguments. They apply only to theistic beliefs of actual persons who have what I call 'doxastically valuable relationships' with God – valuable relationships the goods of which entail the belief that God exists. (shrink)
Arguments from evil purport to show that some fact about evil makes it (at least) probable that God does not exist. Skepticaltheism is held to undermine many versions of the argument from evil: it is thought to undermine a crucial inference that such arguments often rely on. Skeptical objections to skepticaltheism claim that it (skepticaltheism) entails an excessive amount of skepticism, and therefore should be rejected. In this article, I show (...) that skeptical objections to skepticaltheism have a very limited scope: only those who reject certain (apparently) popular epistemological theories will be threatened by them. (shrink)
Natural disasters would seem to constitute evidence against the existence of God, for, on the face of things, it is mysterious why a completely good and all-powerful God would allow the sort of suffering we see from earthquakes, diseases, and the like. The skeptical theist replies that we should not expect to be able to understand God's ways, and thus we should not regard it as surprising or mysterious that God would allow natural evil. I argue that skeptical (...)theism leads to moral paralysis: accepting skepticaltheism would undermine our ability to make any moral judgments whatsoever. Second, and more briefly, I argue that skepticaltheism would undercut our ability to accept any form of the argument from design, including recent approaches based on fine-tuning. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either (a) sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or (b) the sceptical (...) theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of (a) is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding (a) unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism (ST) may undercut the key inference in the evidential argument from evil, but it does so at a cost. If ST is true, then we lose our ability to assess the all things considered (ATC) value of natural events and states of affairs. And if we lose that ability, a whole slew of undesirable consequences follow. So goes a common consequential critique of ST. In a recent article, Anderson has argued that this consequential critique is flawed. (...) Anderson claims that ST only has the consequence that we lack epistemic access to potentially God-justifying reasons for permitting a prima facie “bad” (or “evil”) event. But this is very different from lacking epistemic access to the ATC value of such events. God could have an (unknowable) reason for not intervening to prevent E and yet E could still be (knowably) ATC-bad. Ingenious though it is, this article argues that Anderson’s attempted defence of ST is flawed. This is for two reasons. First, and most importantly, the consequential critique does not rely on the questionable assumption he identifies. Indeed, the argument can be made quite easily by relying purely on Anderson’s distinction between God-justifying reasons for permitting E and the ATC value of E. And second, Anderson’s defence of his position, if correct, would serve to undermine the foundations of ST. (shrink)
Trent Dougherty has argued that commonsense epistemology and skepticaltheism are incompatible. In this paper, I explicate Dougherty’s argument, and show that (at least) one popular form of skepticaltheism is compatible with commonsense epistemology.
Skepticaltheism contends that, due to our cognitive limitations, we cannot expect to be able to determine whether there are reasons which justify God’s permission of apparently unjustified evils. Because this is so, the existence of these evils does not constituted evidence against God’s existence. A common criticism is that the skeptical theist is implicitly committed to other, less palatable forms of skepticism, especially moral skepticism. I examine a recent defense against this charge mounted by Michael Bergmann. (...) I point out that the Bergmannian skeptical theist is unable to determine concerning any event or feature of the world whether that feature or event is good or evil all-things-considered. Because of this the skeptical theist must abandon any attempt to act in such a way that the world becomes better rather than worse as a result. These, I claim, are seriously skeptical conclusions, and should cause us to be skeptical about skepticaltheism itself. (shrink)
One of the most prominent objections to skepticaltheism in recent literature is that the skeptical theist is forced to deny our competency in making judgments about the all-things-considered value of any natural event. Some skeptical theists accept that their view has this implication, but argue that it is not problematic. I think that there is reason to question the implication itself. I begin by explaining the objection to skepticaltheism and the standard response (...) to it. I then identify an assumption that is prevalent in much of the literature concerning the problem of evil, and show that it is a factor in motivating commitment to the implication I mean to question. I argue that the assumption is false, and that once it is rejected there is room to endorse the skeptical theist's strategy in responding to some arguments from evil without endorsing the putative implication that objectors find unacceptable. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism claims that the probability of a perfect God’s existence isn’t at all reduced by our failure to see how such a God could allow the horrific suffering that occurs in our world. Given our finite grasp of the realm of value, skeptical theists argue, it shouldn’t surprise us that we fail to see the reasons that justify God in allowing such suffering, and thus our failure to see those reasons is no evidence against God’s existence (...) or perfection. Critics object that skepticaltheism implies a degree of moral skepticism that even skeptical theists will find objectionable and that it undermines moral obligations that even skeptical theists will want to preserve. I discuss a version of the first objection and defend a version of the second. (shrink)
In the first section, I characterize skepticaltheism more fully. This is necessary in order to address some important misconceptions and mischaracterizations that appear in the essays by Maitzen, Wilks, and O’Connor. In the second section, I describe the most important objections they raise and group them into four “families” so as to facilitate an orderly series of responses. In the four sections that follow, I respond to the objections.
Skepticaltheism is a leading response to the evidential argument from evil against the existence of God. Skeptical theists attempt to block the inference from the existence of inscrutable evils to gratuitous evils by insisting that given our cognitive limitations, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were God-justifying reasons we can’t think of. A well-known objection to skepticaltheism is that it opens up a skeptical Pandora’s box, generating implausibly wide-ranging forms of skepticism, including (...) skepticism about the external world and past. This paper looks at several responses to this Pandora’s box objection, including a popular response devised by Beaudoin and Bergmann. I find that all of the examined responses fail. It appears the Pandora’s box objection to skepticaltheism still stands. (shrink)
Skeptical theists purport to undermine evidential arguments from evil by appealing to the fact that our knowledge of goods, evils, and their interconnections is significantly limited. Michael J. Almeida and Graham Oppy have recently argued that skepticaltheism is unacceptable because it results in a form of moral skepticism which rejects inferences that play an important role in our ordinary moral reasoning. In this reply to Almeida and Oppy's argument we offer some reasons for thinking that (...) class='Hi'>skepticaltheism need not lead to any such objectionable form of moral skepticism. (shrink)
I draw on the literature on skepticaltheism to develop an argument against Christian theism based on the widespread existence of suffering that appears to its sufferer to be gratuitous and is combined with the sense that God has abandoned one or never existed in the first place. While the core idea of the argument is hardly novel, key elements of the argument are importantly different from other influential arguments against Christian theism. After explaining that argument, (...) I make the case that the argument is untouched by traditional skepticaltheism. I then consider positive skepticaltheism, arguing that while DePoe’s view might provide a response to my argument, it entangles the theist in worries about divine deception. Because traditional skepticaltheism and DePoe’s positive skepticaltheism constitute the most promising extant strategies for answering my argument, the argument constitutes a serious challenge for the Christian theist. My overall aim, then, is to draw on various strands of the skepticaltheism literature to present a challenge for all Christian theists, not just those in the skeptical theist camp, while at the same time revealing some important limitations of skepticaltheism. (shrink)
Among the things that students of the problem of evil think about is whether explanatory versions of the evidential argument from evil are better than others, better than William Rowe’s famous versions of the evidential argument, for example. Some of these students claim that the former are better than the latter in no small part because the former, unlike the latter, avoid the sorts of worries raised by so-called “skeptical theists”. Indeed, Trent Dougherty claims to have constructed an explanatory (...) version that is “fundamentally immune to considerations pertaining to skepticaltheism”. I argue that he has done no such thing. (shrink)
Skeptical theists argue that no seemingly unjustified evil (SUE) could ever lower the probability of God's existence at all. Why? Because God might have justifying reasons for allowing such evils (JuffREs) that are undetectable. However, skeptical theists are unclear regarding whether or not God's existence is relevant to the existence of JuffREs, and whether or not God's existence is relevant to their detectability. But I will argue that, no matter how the skeptical theist answers these questions, it (...) is undeniable that the skeptical theist is wrong; SUEs lower the probability of God's existence. To establish this, I will consider the four scenarios regarding the relevance of God's existence to the existence and detectability of JuffREs, and show that in each—after we establish our initial probabilities, and then update them given the evidence of a SUE—the probability of God's existence drops. (shrink)
In recent years skepticaltheism has gained currency amongst theists as a way to escape the problem of evil by invoking putatively reasonable skepticism concerning our ability to know that instances of apparently gratuitous evil are unredeemed by morally sufficient reasons known to God alone. After explicating skepticaltheism through the work of Stephen Wykstra and William Alston, I present a cumulative-case argument designed to show that skepticaltheism cannot be accepted by theists insofar (...) as it crucially undermines epistemic license to the very theism it is invoked to defend. I also argue that attempts to defend a theism-friendly moderate version of skepticaltheism either fail to halt the spread of damaging skepticism, or lack philosophical validity. (shrink)
In a recent article, David Kyle Johnson has claimed to have provided a ‘refutation’ of skepticaltheism. Johnson’s refutation raises several interesting issues. But in this note, I focus on only one—an implicit principle Johnson uses in his refutation to update probabilities after receiving new evidence. I argue that this principle is false. Consequently, Johnson’s refutation, as it currently stands, is undermined.
Inductive arguments from evil claim that evil presents evidence against the existence of God. Skeptical theists hold that some such arguments from evil evince undue confidence in our familiarity with the sphere of possible goods and the entailments that obtain between that sphere and God’s permission of evil. I argue that the skeptical theist’s skepticism on this point is inconsistent with affirming the truth of a given theodicy. Since the skeptical theist’s skepticism is best understood dialogically, I’ll (...) begin by sketching the kind of argument against which the skeptical theist’s skepticism is pitched. I will then define ‘skeptical theistic skepticism’, offer a precise definition of ‘theodicy’, and proceed with my argument. (shrink)
Skeptical theists purport to undermine evidential arguments from evil by appealing to the fact that our knowledge of goods, evils, and their interconnections is significantly limited. Michael J. Almeida and Graham Oppy have recently argued that skepticaltheism is unacceptable because it results in a form of moral skepticism which rejects inferences that play an important role in our ordinary moral reasoning. In this reply to Almeida and Oppy’s argument we offer some reasons for thinking that (...) class='Hi'>skepticaltheism need not lead to any such objectionable form of moral skepticism. (shrink)
In this paper I articulate and defend a new anti-theodicy challenge to SkepticalTheism. More specifically, I defend the Threshold Problem according to which there is a threshold to the kinds of evils that are in principle justifiable for God to permit, and certain instances of evil are beyond that threshold. I further argue that SkepticalTheism does not have the resources to adequately rebut the Threshold Problem. I argue for this claim by drawing a distinction (...) between a weak and strong version of SkepticalTheism, such that the strong version must be defended in order to rebut the Threshold Problem. However, the skeptical theist’s appeal to our limited cognitive faculties only supports the weak version. (shrink)
Respondents to the argument from evil who follow Michael Bergmann’s development of skepticaltheism hold that our failure to determine God’s reasons for permitting evil does not disconfirm theism at all. They claim that such a thesis follows from the very plausible claim that we have no good reason to think our access to the realm of value is representative of the full realm of value. There are two interpretations of ST’s strength, the stronger of which leads (...)skeptical theists into moral skepticism and the weaker of which fails to rebut the argument from evil. As I demonstrate, skeptical theists avoid the charge of moral skepticism while also successfully rebutting the argument from evil only by embracing an equivocation between these two interpretations of ST. Thus, as I argue, skeptical theists are caught in a troubling dilemma: they must choose between moral skepticism and failure to adequately respond to the argument from evil. (shrink)
Skeptical theists have paid insufficient attention to non-evidential components of epistemic rationality. I address this lacuna by constructing an alternative perspectivalist understanding of epistemic rationality and defeat that, when applied to skepticaltheism, yields a more demanding standard for reasonably affirming the crucial premise of the evidential argument from suffering. The resulting perspectival skepticaltheism entails that someone can be justified in believing that gratuitous suffering exists only if they are not subject to closure-of-inquiry defeat; (...) that is, a type of defeat that prevents reasonable belief that p even if p is very probable on an agent’s evidence. (shrink)
Over the last twenty-five years skepticaltheism has become one of the leading contemporary responses to the atheological argument from evil. However, more recently, some critics of skepticaltheism have argued that the skeptical theists are in fact unwittingly committed to a malignant form of moral skepticism. Several skeptical theists have responded to this critique by appealing to divine commands as a bulwark against the alleged threat of moral skepticism. In this paper we argue (...) that the skeptical theists’ appeal to divine commands fails to rescue their position from the threat of a worrisome form of moral skepticism. (shrink)
Sceptical theists undermine the argument from evil by claiming that our ability to distinguish between justified and unjustified evil is weak enough that we must take seriously the possibility that all evil is justified. However, I argue that this claim leads to a dilemma: either our judgements regarding unjustified evil are reliable enough that the problem of evil remains a problem, or our judgements regarding unjustified evil are so unreliable that it would be misguided to use them in our decision-making. (...) The first horn undermines theism, while the second undermines our moral decision-making. Thus, sceptical theism is problematic. (shrink)
One way to rebut the standard evidential problem of evil is to develop a sceptical form of theism. The resulting position – sceptical theism – is a sophisticated philosophical elaboration on the traditional claim that God works in mysterious ways. Yet sceptical theism is contentious because it has a quite natural tendency to entail a degree of scepticism in other areas of discourse that is normally taken to be unacceptable. To curb this tendency a moderately sceptical (...) class='Hi'>theism can be developed that nevertheless retains the benefit of rebutting the standard evidential problem of evil – the moderately sceptical theist attempts to steer a middle course between the Charybdis of mysticism and the Scylla of evil. However, a new evidential problem can be developed and reworked in a formal Bayesian framework. There are various ways to mitigate the new evidential problem and my reworked version, but none of these ways is open to the moderately sceptical theist – her particular ship, I argue, sails too close to Scylla. The moral is quite intuitive: if evil matters at all, then the sheer quantity of evil ensures that it matters a lot. (shrink)
In the paper I voice my dissatisfaction with the author's essay because I think that the proposed “McClellean shift” from skeptical to trusting theism faces serious problems. The troubles are mainly caused by the way in which McClellan suggests to extend and “amend” the theist’s argument via the Moorean shift (which is intended to be a counter-argument to the atheist’s evidential argument from evil). But McClellan's proposal is no amendment at all, as it robs the theist's Moore-inspired argument (...) its entire logico-probabilistic force. (shrink)
I define an ‘evidential argument from evil’ as an attempt to show that something we know about evil, while not provably incompatible with theism, is evidence against theism in the precise sense that it lowers the epistemic probability of theism being true. Such arguments must show that, for some statement e about evil that we know to be true, the antecedent probability of e given the denial theism – Pr(e/~G) – is greater than the antecedent probability (...) of e given theism – Pr(e/G). To show that e is strong evidence against theism, such arguments must show that Pr(e/~G) is many times greater than Pr(e/G). Skeptical theists seek to refute such arguments by denying that Pr(e/G) can be assessed with sufficient specificity to draw any interesting conclusions about how it compares to Pr(e/~G). Skeptical atheists seek refute such arguments by denying that Pr(e/~G) can be assessed with sufficient specificity to draw any interesting conclusions about how it compares to Pr(e/G). I argue that skeptical atheism is the more serious challenge of the two. I close by briefly discussing the implications of these results for the project of constructing a successful argument from evil against theism. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism seeks to defend theism against the problem of evil by invoking putatively reasonable skepticism concerning human epistemic limitations in order to establish that we have no epistemological basis from which to judge that apparently gratuitous evils are not in fact justified by morally sufficient reasons beyond our ken. This paper contributes to the set of distinctively practical criticisms of skepticaltheism by arguing that religious believers who accept skepticaltheism and take (...) its practical implications seriously will be forced into a position of paralysis or "aporia" when faced with a wide set of morally significant situations. It is argued that this consequence speaks strongly against the acceptance of skepticaltheism insofar as such moral "aporia" is inconsistent with religious moral teaching and practice. In addition, a variety of arguments designed to show that accepting skepticaltheism does not lead to this consequence are considered, and shown to be deficient. (shrink)
What we call “the evidential argument from evil” is not one argument but a family of them, originating (perhaps) in the 1979 formulation of William Rowe. Wykstra’s early versions of skepticaltheism emerged in response to Rowe’s evidential arguments. But what sufficed as a response to Rowe may not suffice against later more sophisticated versions of the problem of evil—in particular, those along the lines pioneered by Paul Draper. Our chief aim here is to make an earlier version (...) of skepticaltheism more responsive to the type abductive atheology pioneered by Draper. In particular, we suggest a moderate form of skepticaltheism may be able to resist Draper’s abductive atheology. (shrink)
According to Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy, adherents of skepticaltheism will find their sense of moral obligation undermined in a potentially ‘appalling’ way. Michael Bergmann and Michael Rea disagree, claiming that God’s commands provide skeptical theists with a source of moral obligation that withstands the skepticism in skepticaltheism. I argue that Bergmann and Rea are mistaken: skeptical theists cannot consistently rely on what they take to be God’s commands.
Most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God take the following form: (1) If God exists, the world would not be like this (where 'this' picks out some feature of the world like the existence of evil, etc.) (2) But the world is like this . (3) Therefore, God does not exist. Skeptical theists are theists who are skeptical of our ability to make judgments of the sort expressed by premise (1). According to skepticaltheism, (...) if there were a God, it is likely that he would have reasons for acting that are beyond our ken, and thus we are not justified in making all-things-considered judgments about what the world would be like if there were a God. In particular, the fact that we don't see a good reason for X does not justify the conclusion that there is no good reason for X. 1 Thus, skepticaltheism purports to undercut most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God. What follows is an account of the nature of skepticaltheism, an application of skepticaltheism to both the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, and a review of the cases for and against skepticaltheism. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism is a family of responses to the evidential problem of evil. What unifies this family is two general claims. First, that even if God were to exist, we shouldn’t expect to see God’s reasons for permitting the suffering we observe. Second, the previous claim entails the failure of a variety of arguments from evil against the existence of God. In this essay, we identify three particular articulations of skepticaltheism—three different ways of “filling in” (...) those two claims—and describes their role in responding to evidential arguments of evil due to William Rowe and Paul Draper. But skepticaltheism has been subject to a variety of criticisms, several of which raise interesting issues and puzzles not just in philosophy of religion but other areas of philosophy as well. Consequently, we discuss some of these criticisms, partly with an eye to bringing out the connections between skepticaltheism and current topics in mainstream philosophy. Finally, we conclude by situating skepticaltheism within our own distinctive methodology for evaluating world views, what we call “worldview theory versioning.”. (shrink)
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.
Some evidential arguments from evil rely on an inference of the following sort: ‘If, after thinking hard, we can't think of any God-justifying reason for permitting some horrific evil then it is likely that there is no such reason’. Sceptical theists, us included, say that this inference is not a good one and that evidential arguments from evil that depend on it are, as a result, unsound. Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy have argued that Michael Bergmann's way of developing the (...) sceptical theist response to such arguments fails because it commits those who endorse it to a sort of scepticism that undermines ordinary moral practice. In this paper, we defend Bergmann's sceptical theist response against this charge. (shrink)
Skepticaltheism is a popular response to arguments from evil. Recently, Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Yoaav Isaacs have argued that the theses that ground skepticaltheism are either false or limited in scope. In this article, I show that their objections rest on dubious assumptions about the nature of skepticaltheism. Along the way, I develop and clarify the ambiguous parts of skepticaltheism. The upshot of this is that—once the (...) nature of skepticaltheism is made clearer—it is far more difficult to resist. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or the sceptical theistic strategy (...) for responding to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
The most interesting thing about sceptical theism is its sceptical component. When sceptical theists use that component in responding to arguments from evil, they think it is reasonable for their non-theistic interlocutors to accept it, even if they don't expect them to accept their theism. This article focuses on that sceptical component. The first section explains more precisely what the sceptical theist's scepticism amounts to and how it is used in response to various sorts of arguments from evil. (...) The next section considers and responds to objections to sceptical theism. It is shown that just as there are non-theists who accept the sceptical theist's scepticism, so also are there theists who reject it. (shrink)