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Richard Schoenig

Born: 1942

Title: Professor of Philosophy, San Antonio College


  • B.S. Chemistry, Fordham University, 1964
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Notre Dame, 1968
  • M.A. Philosophy, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1974
  • Ph.D. Philosophy, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1981

Representative Publications:

  1. Exploring Philosophy (5th ed) (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2005).
  2. Eight technical papers in the Journal of Macromolecular Science—Chemistry from November 1967 to September 1969
  3. "Thoughts in Fall" [poem] in A Vision, A Verse: Vol. II ed. Don Peek (Pittsburg, TX: Poetry Press, 1978), p. 6.
  4. "A Systems Analysis of Qualitative Knowing in Education" (with M. L. Estep) in Proceedings of the Society for General Systems Research 22nd Annual Meeting, pp. 78-91 (April 1978).
  5. "The Logical Status of Prayer," The Southern Journal of Philosophy Vol. XXXV, pp. 115-128 (1997).
  6. "The Truth About Faith," The American Rationalist May/June 1997, pp. 15-18.
  7. "The Free Will Theodicy," Religious Studies, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 457-470 (1998).
  8. "The Argument from Unfairness," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 115-128 (1999).
  9. "Abortion, Christianity and Consistency," Philosophy in the Contemporary World Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 32-37 (Spring 1998).
  10. "The Idiot's Guide to Salvation," The Humanist January/February 2000, pp. 39-41.
  11. "Christians and Abortion" in The Ethics of Abortion, 3rd ed ed. Robert M. Baird and Stuart Rosenbaum [of Baylor University] (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001).
  12. "Why Do They Even Bother?" Secular Nation April-June 2009, p. 8, 10.
  13. "I'm Not Religious, But I Am Spiritual," Free Inquiry January/February 2011.


Personal: When not trying to figure out the meaning of life, Richard can be found grousing about politics, doing crossword puzzles, working on physical fitness, especially playing basketball, and enjoying the mountains of west Texas and southwestern Colorado.

Published on the Secular Web

Modern Library

Why God Does Not Exist Because This World Does

Two of the most salient beliefs that most theists hold are that God is maximally good and loving, and that the eternal postmortem experience of the beatific vision of God is the summum bonum for all human beings. Given these two foundational theistic tenets, in this paper Richard Schoenig argues that God would have created humans in what he calls heaven world, and immediately and directly offered to all of them the option of experiencing that highest good—thereby skipping the pain, suffering, and confusion which suffuses this world. The argument developed in the paper concludes that there are no good reasons why God would not have created heaven world rather than this world. If so, then the existence of this world rather than heaven world constitutes adequate evidence that God does not exist.

Objective Ethics Without Religion

Is atheism compatible with objective moral facts? In this paper Richard Schoenig defends a justifiable objective moral code based on seven principles comprising two general prescriptions. Schoenig goes on to argue that this basic ethical rationalism—and by extension, objective morality—does not depend on the existence of any supernatural being and is justified by the fact that all moral agents would have a greater chance of achieving more of their plans of life if they lived in a society that followed ethical rationalism rather than one that followed any other moral code. Consequently, the moral argument for theism from ethical objectivity is shown to be unsound, for it depends on the false premise that the only way to account for ethical objectivity is to posit the existence of a supernatural being who grounds it.

Original Sin: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

In this paper Richard Schoenig argues that Christianity "can't live with" its doctrine of original sin insofar as it is implausible and morally indefensible, and that Christianity "can't live without" the doctrine because it has, in the course of nearly 2000 years, become so entrenched within Christianity that removing it at this stage could be fatal to the host.
Kiosk Video

Interview with Richard Schoenig on Where Christianity Errs

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian and, for the second time, long-time Secular Web author Richard Schoenig for about half an hour on Schoenig's (just published!) accessible yet wide-ranging Where Christianity Errs: A Fair and Clear Philosophical Assessment. The interlocutors canvass Schoenig's research in the philosophy of religion, his deconversion from Catholicism, and the wide variety of topics covered in his new book, such as original sin, petitionary prayer, faith in the absence of evidence, how a loving God could send people to Hell, a secular take on the meaning of life, the relationship between Christianity and atheism, and even the relationship between Christianity and politics. Schoenig then outlines his argument that the denial of opportunities for salvation to large numbers of human beings amounts to compelling evidence against the existence of such a God before Tahmizian turns to his argument that if biblical hard determinism is true, God would be the efficient cause of the sin that all humans supposedly inherited from Adam and Eve, and that if biblical hard determinism is not true, God would still be the final cause of that sin, making God the ultimate source of all evil. Next Schoenig outlines his Heaven World argument that he has previously defended in more detail on the Secular Web. Tune in for just a small taste of the inconsistencies that arise when merely combining indispensable Christian doctrines!

Interview with Richard Schoenig on Original Sin

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 40-minute interview with Richard Schoenig, a retired philosophy professor at San Antonio College who's published unique contributions to the philosophy of religion on original sin, the unfairness of Heaven, the objectivity of ethics in a naturalistic universe, and arguments from evil against the existence of God. In the first half of the interview, the interlocutors tackle whether God is the origin of evil per Edouard's "God is Either the Efficient or Final Cause of Evil" (and why—a là French Enlightenment encyclopedist Denis Diderot—God seems to care more about his apples than his children). Then the interlocutors turn to how the Garden of Eden story (and the original sin moral of it) is the edifice of Christianity since without it, salvation from Hell is not necessary in the first place (i.e., Christianity posits the disease so that it can sell you the cure). Finally, Schoenig canvasses the many human beings who, according to Western monotheism, were unable to achieve salvation through no fault of their own—such as those who died in utero, before the age of accountability, with mental handicaps, before Jesus (or other human messengers who delivered the purported requirements of salvation) even existed, or without ever having heard those requirements—whom Schoenig points out constitute the vast majority of human beings that have ever existed. Schoenig notes that attempts to ensure the fairness of salvation by loosening the requirements for the otherwise "unabled" to obtain it simply shift the unfairness of salvation on to the "abled." Unorthodox alternatives like universalism and postmortem-opportunity proposals raise their own vexing problems. Check out this in-depth interview on a fascinating "big picture" critique of Western monotheism!