In the article, McCloskey (1968, p. 62) refers to arguments as “proofs” and implies that they cannot definitively establish the case for God, so they should be abandoned. However, he fails to provide concrete proof of God being non-existent. He dwells on two main arguments, namely the cosmological argument and the teleological argument. The author does not expound much on explaining the existence of God and ends up giving minimal reasons for objection which is easy to answer. Thus, I would say he failed to convince enough people that God does not exist; his only logical explanation is that of sin, which he does not explain clearly enough making it illogical at the end.
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In the cosmological argument, McCloskey argues that “the world’s existence is not a basis to have faith in the existence of God” (McCloskey, 1968, p. 62). This faces opposition from Evans and Mains (2009, pp. 67-77) who break down their argument into three parts. They start by explaining that a contingent being exists; this human being required a necessary form of being for its existence. They further state that a number of studies that have been carried out prove that the cause of the universe must be necessary and thus uncaused. They further defend the argument by challenging the atheist thought that the world has always existed. They argue that if indeed the world had always existed, then there would be no reason whatsoever for years, as something with no start is simply infinitive. This means that time would not exist. Evans and Manis also note that God is not a contingent human and explanations of his existence would be unnecessary.
McCloskey (1968, p. 62) goes ahead and makes claims that this argument does not entitle us to assert an all-powerful, all-perfect, and uncaused cause. Evans and Manis (2009) admit this could be true. Nevertheless, they add that this theory is a start for in-depth studies about God. According to them, this theory leaves out information and facts about God’s existence (p. 77). Simply put, this theory allows for deeper studies so as to try and understand more about God. What I glean from this theory is that there is evidence on the possibility of God existing. Conversely, this cannot be proven or dismissed. McCloskey’s attempt to dismiss this fact ignores clearly-defined evidence of a source of the world and all objects in it.
In supporting the teleological argument, McCloskey (1968) argues that to get proof, genuine indisputable examples of design and purpose ought to be evident. His argument is that if indeed God existed, then there could be conclusive evidence that cannot be refuted (p. 62). A good example would be if a person accidentally hits themselves with a piece of metal and breaks a finger or two. Then there will be evidence that the metal is hard enough to break a hand; this evidence cannot in any way be disputed as it is clearly visible. His stand on the issue of God existing is that since no one can define God, then he does not exist. He believes that if something exists, then there must be conclusive evidence that cannot be opposed.
A good example that provides strong evidence of a designer of the universe from Evans and Manis’ (2009) response is that of nature. Since humans started studying, recording, and analyzing the characteristics of natural objects, they have remained the same. This is enough evidence that a designer somewhere has created the world as it is. Though this is not downright indisputable, it is logical evidence that has the likelihood of being true. There is no way objects can possess some super powers to control and direct their activities in the world. With the characteristics of nature remaining unaltered over time, it proves that God exists and is the designer of the world (pp. 82-83).
If I were to argue with McCloskey’s sentiments that evolution has displaced the need for a designer, the point I would lay much emphasis on is the fact that even evolution requires a facilitation guide for it to be successful. If people were to argue that nature can control itself, then this could oppose the fact that everything has to be controlled by some form of energy. This implies that God must be the one directing evolution. This also shows that God is the designer of the universe. The laws of nature are probably the most rigid ones, having remained unchanged over time. For them to function in the same way year after year, there must be an individual controlling them. This should support the argument that a designer somewhere has drafted nature to act the same even in eternity.
In his arguments, McCloskey uses the existence of sin and evil to argue the atheist case. He claims that the presence of imperfection and evil opposes the existence of the divine design or purpose in the world. The teleological theory just like the cosmological theory is not indisputable in its theist argument. The fact that communities around the world offer various explanations as to what is right and wrong, it is inaccurate to argue that the existence of sin is a proof that there is no superior being. Diverse definitions of good and evil in different societies could be a supremely possible cause of evil in the world. This cannot be a proof that God does not exist. His purpose for evil and good to exist is to allow humans to distinguish between the two. Therefore, God can never eliminate evil entirely as it is indispensable in assisting individuals in choosing between a good way of life and a wrong one.
McCloskey (1968) states that God might have easily arranged the world and disadvantaged men in their free will. According to him, the fact that God allows humans to make an independent decision on what is ethical and what is wrong shows them that the world is not perfect. Evans and Manis (2009) argue that if God intended to create a world where nobody would do anything wrong, then he would not have allowed for free will. Mackie and Plantinga (1977) suggested that there is a possibility that God envisioned a world free of any inequity. Evans and Manis argue against this by saying that the world was to be a non-perfect place so that people can have the freedom to choose (pp. 163-166). If I were to answer the question of free will, I would echo Evans and Manis’ sentiments by stating that the world had to have both evil and good for people to have the right to make free decisions. This shows that God treats all creatures of the earth equally.
McCloskey ends his argument with an irrelevant statement that atheism is more comforting than theism. William Lane Craig (2005) dismissed this, describing a human being as an orphan who requires care and compassion. According to him, believing in a supreme-being provides warmth and comfort to humans. He argues that, unlike other animals, people do not have instincts that guide them. Therefore, if there is no God, then people’s lives would be absurd and with no direction. This only proves that McCloskey was wrong in his sentiments. The response of William further explains that without God, life would be worthless and with no meaning.
In my response to McCloskey, as a believer, I think that the fact that God exists is more comforting than an atheist belief. The belief in a supreme being gives one hope and a true meaning of life. People believe that religion gives hope and peace of mind, which both make life worth living. In most religions, there is a promise of life. This reduces evil in society, contrary to McCloskey’s argument that the existence of evil is a proof that God does not exist.
In conclusion, McCloskey fails terribly in supporting his argument because he constantly repeats himself. He gives remarkably few explanations for the arguments that are easy to answer to make them baseless. However, he did bring about several issues of debate between believers and non-believers. All in all, McCloskey’s atheist proofs were not convincing.
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