H.J. McCloskey wrote an article in 1968 called “On Being an Atheist”. The article states his personal reasoning for rejecting the belief in God. McCloskey includes his criticism of the cosmological and teleological arguments. The focal point of his article revolves around the tough points about evil and suffering in a world that is believably made by a caring, almighty God. Despite McCloskey’s (1968) aspiration for proof and opposite his criticism of the cosmological and teleological arguments and his opinion that evil makes a case against God’s existence, the remnants that the most sensible clarification for the universe is a smart, loving Creator, which is God.
It is pertinent to start by talking about McCloskey’s (1968) habit of mentioning the arguments as proofs. The issue that comes up is that McCloskey is too quick to disregard the arguments in approval of God’s existence because they do not meet this standard of “one hundred percent certainty” (Foreman, 2012A). Instead of persistently trying to prove God’s existence, look for a worldview that best gives an explanation of the world around us. Since it is difficult for McCloskey’s own arguments to reach the standard of invincible proof, he should not demand it of theistic arguments. McCloskey’s attempt to look for inconsistency in them, the cosmological and teleological arguments are two arguments that give higher details for God’s existence.
The teleological argument states that because the world has a complicated plan, this is evidence of a creator (Evans & Manis, 2009). For example, one would not anticipate seeing a complex masterpiece and respond that it should have appeared out of nowhere. It is natural to assign evidences of design to the workings of a creator. McCloskey might not have debated the premise that design indicates a designer, but he had trouble believing that the world around us is an example of “genuine indisputable” design (McCloskey, 1968). The teleological argument does claim possibility.
According to Dew and Forman (2014), “indisputable” proof is not possible. It is better to make an effort that’s ineffective, since “we can attain great levels of confidence or assurance about our beliefs, but not absolute certainty” (Dew and Foreman, 2014). The most plausible example is the human being. Human beings hold the littlest, detailed atoms and they form a beautiful whole. A complex, living creature would be an abundant example of design but humans possess the capability to think reasonably. It is hard to comprehend that a being could have transpire through graphic procedures.
The possibility must be contemplated if the realistic event of evolution is the cause of plain design. Still, it can’t be implied that either evolution or the existence of a creator is a fact. In the interest of the debate, let’s assume that evolution did create the universe. Does this nullify the need of a designer? Evans and Manis (2009) insisted that the reverse is the instance. The process of evolution operates off the laws of nature (Evans ; Manis, 2009). The laws must have a required source, since they are possible, or “could have been different” (Evans ; Manis, 2009). They need something non-contingent to be possible. Taking into consideration the “order,” “complexity,” and “purpose” in the universe (Foreman, 2012b), this is the most exceptional explanation about the existence of a smart, immediate Creator.
It seems obvious that an intelligent creator of the universe is not only apparent but necessary. McCloskey (1968) trusted that the existence of pain, suffering, and evil negated the viability of the teleological argument. If there is “design and purpose” in the universe (McCloskey, 1968), why would there be instances of disorderly crime and natural disasters which destroy humans before their purpose has been contented? McCloskey must realize that “the teleological argument, like the cosmological argument, is limited” (Evans ; Manis, 2009). It does not give us reasons for the existence of evil. It does not attempt to guess whether or not the designer is an almighty, perfect being. It signalizes that an intelligent designer is the prime clarification for the sample of design in the universe.
The cosmological argument is made of numerous attempts to convey that because the universe exists, it must have a cause which is not reliant on another cause (Evans ; Manis, 2009). McCloskey (1968) had two problems with this argument. First, he suggested that the site of this argument is weak and there is not basis to believe that the universe must have a source. The first argument passes the test of logicality. The universe contains objects that do not have to exist, at least in their present format (Evans ; Manis, 2009). The law of cause and effect points to the fact that such objects must have a cause that had to exist the way it does (Evans ; Manis, 2009). There must be an uncaused, necessary cause for the universe (Evans ; Manis, 2009). If caused objects were contingent upon other caused objects, this makes a circular reasoning of sorts, or an “infinite regress,” where everything is caused by everything else, and there is no final cause, or first cause (Evans ; Manis, 2009). The idea of a never-ending existence being solves the problem of the constant circling occurrence.
Secondly, McCloskey (1968) found it difficult to believe that the cause of the universe would have to be perfect and supreme. He is accurate that the cosmological argument is not a proof of such a being. The cosmological argument does not even state there is a God, much less a God as McCloskey describes (Evans ; Manis, 2009). It provides a stable argument for an uncaused cause of the universe and warrants that every individual should seek out the characteristics of this cause (Evans ; Manis, 2009). For an argument that includes the type of cause needed with the fact that there should be a cause, look to the teleological argument.
McCloskey’s Arguments: The Problem of Evil
The vast of McCloskey’s (1968) article inscribes the idea that the existence of suffering is conflicting with the idea that there is a caring, absolute God. McCloskey (1968) stated, “No being who was perfect could have created a world in which there was avoidable suffering or in which his creation would engage in morally evil acts”. It can be stated that God did not create such a world, but McCloskey’s (1968) argument was that it is rationally impossible that a perfect, loving, all-mighty God would allow suffering and pain. In order to create this course of reasoned thought, the theory is held that a good, all powerful God should eliminate evil (Evans & Manis, 2009). If there is a chance that this statement is not true, then the argument does not stand. Evans and Manis (2009) noted that it is not required to know why God would allow suffering in the world but only to know that it is possible that He did for reasons we many never understand. Therefore, “the weight of proof is on him to show what the rebuttal is” (Evans & Manis, 2009). If there is a possibility that God has His reasons for allowing evil, it can’t be said that evil refutes His existence.
McCloskey (1968) claimed that if God is openly able to do all things, then he could save a lot of pain and suffering by simply creating humans who would not taken advantage of their freedom of choice. However, freedom of choice should include choices (Hasker, 1983) – if choosing the wrong was not a choice, there would be only a “pseudo freedom” (Evans ; Manis, 2009). Additionally, it is not sensible to think that God could have created two opposed types of worlds – one in which humans are unable to sin, and one in which they have that option (Evans ; Manis, 2009). Either God can create the one or the other and since the world we have now is an example of the end, it is only rational to cease that the first is not practical (Evans ; Manis, 2009). If McCloskey were to claim that if the existence of evil does not make God’s existence impossible, it does make it highly unlikely and must be answered that is possible. It is also likely that, in the “vast amount of knowledge of which we are ignorant,” an answer to this problem exists (Evans & Manis, 2009). Evidently, the problem of evil is no more a proof that God does not exist that the cosmological argument is an unquestionable proof that He does.
Atheism as Soothing
As claimed by McCloskey (1968), there is a reason to dismiss the belief in God. When the suffering and evils in life affect so close to one’s home or personally happen to a person, one is happier in the belief that there isn’t a God, because there is no one to blame for having caused the bad to happen. Craig (2008) observed that pivoting toward atheism produces a difficult situation. As expected, “if God does not exist, then all we are left with is despair” (Craig, 2008). Even though it is irregular with a naturalistic worldview, in order to live happily, the atheist is forced to reason that purpose and meaning in this life do exist (Craig, 2008). Relatively trying to do the impractical and make atheism exist with a happy life, how much greater would it be to take comfort in God’s existing. The atheist cannot find comfort, for “if there is no God, then the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose” (Craig, 2008). While the person who clutches to the belief of God should do so by faith regardless of tests and deprivation, the person who dismisses God’s existence has nothing greater to turn to.
What exactly is evil? What is right and wrong? Craig (2008) states, “if God does not exist, then in a sense… there is no right and wrong; all things are permitted”. McCloskey (1968) labels that evil would be the naturalistic process of evolution at play in getting rid of the weaker life beings. This is not near comforting and it provides no hope or value to the purpose of life.