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Theism

Does God Exist?

Does God exist? Perhaps, if you mean something metaphorical by "God," you might be able to honestly answer in the affirmative. Otherwise, the most we can say is "I don't know." But honest people can go farther and say that the existence of unseen spirits is unlikely. When you get down to it, the only evidence of God's existence is that holy men, past and present, say he exists. But if their assertions about God are as valid as their assertions about witches, their trillion-dollar empires rest on fantasy.

Why Would Anyone Believe Justin Barrett’s Theistic Arguments?

Christian psychologist Justin Barrett argues that belief in immaterial minds is similar to and justifies belief in God. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds demonstrates that Barrett's concept of mind is outmoded. Moreover, Barrett does not distinguish between innate beliefs in other people's mental abilities and the cultural concept of mind, which is learned, not innate. The belief that other people think, have emotions, and so forth is supported by evidence, but there is no evidence for the existence of God.

Barrett presumes that "atheism" is difficult to maintain because innate ways of thinking promote belief in spirits. In response, Reynolds provides some of the reasons for nontheism and refutes Barrett's arguments that having moral principles and confidence in one's beliefs pose special problems for nontheists. Reynolds concludes that, to the contrary, living as a nontheist is not difficult and does not require social and cultural segregation to sustain it.

An Earthly Version of Pascal’s Wager

Blaise Pascal is famous for, among other things, devising an argument for belief in God's existence even in the absence of good reasons to believe in God. He proposed that a rational person would reason that if God does not exist, then either believing or not believing that He does exist would cost nothing. But a rational person would also reason that if God does in fact exist, then failing to believe that He does would cost personal salvation. Does Pascal's wager really work? Would a rational person place greater value on a questionable promise of benefit than on intellectual rigor? How rational would a parallel belief in "Philo's benefactor" be, and what does the answer to that question tell us about the reasonableness of forming beliefs on the basis of Pascal's wager?

Evidence for Atheism

A challenge often presented to Atheists by fundamentalist Christians and various Theists is that Atheists have no proof there is no God, therefore Atheism is just another faith. Although Atheists do not have the Burden of Proof, there are two main categories of evidence that can be used to provide philosophical justification for an atheistic worldview: evidential arguments and logical evidence against God's existence. I conclude that the mainstream concept of God is logically impossible; the problem of evil is proof positive for the nonexistence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God; the demographics of Theism are better explained by Atheism; and Theism does not have a good explanation for the problems of suffering and the arguments for Atheism.

Is the Evidence for Theism Ambiguous by Divine Design?

A popular theistic "explanation" for why God would permit even a slim evidential basis for atheism goes something like this: "God does not give us absolute proof because this would work against our free will. He gives us just enough evidence so that we can find Him and just enough to reject His existence if that is our desire." But is this reasonable? Kuchar says not.