About: Skeptical theism is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 153 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 2501 citation(s).
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a rational defense for theism against any argument for atheism based on the existence of evil, which they call Friendly Atheism, which is a variant of friendly atheism.
Abstract: THIS paper is concerned with three interrelated questions. The first is : Is there an argument for atheism based on the existence of evil that may rationally justify someone in being an atheist? To this first question I give an affirmative answer and try to support that answer by setting forth a strong argument for atheism based on the existence of evil.1 The second question is: How can the theist best defend his position against the argument for atheism based on the existence of evil? In response to this question I try to describe what may be an adequate rational defense for theism against any argument for atheism based on the existence of evil. The final question is: What position should the informed atheist take concerning the rationality of theistic belief? Three different answers an atheist may give to this question serve to distinguish three varieties of atheism: unfriendly atheism, indifferent atheism, and friendly atheism. In the final part of the paper I discuss and defend the position of friendly atheism. Before we consider the argument from evil, we need to distinguish a narrow and a broad sense of the terms "theist," "atheist," and "agnostic." By a "theist" in the narrow sense I mean someone who believes in the existence of an omnipotent, omnis? cient, eternal, supremely good being who created the world. By a "theist" in the broad sense I mean someone who believes in the existence of some sort of divine being or divine reality. To be a theist in the narrow sense is also to be a theist in the broad sense, but one may be a theist in the broad sense?as was Paul Tillich?without believing that there is a supremely good, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal being who created the world. Similar distinctions must be made between a narrow and a broad sense of the terms "atheist" and "agnostic." To be an atheist in the broad sense is to deny the existence of any sort of divine being or divine reality. Tillich was not an atheist in the broad sense. But he was an atheist in the narrow sense, for he denied that there exists a divine being that is all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly good. In this paper I will be using the terms "theism," "theist," "atheism," "atheist," "agnos? ticism," and "agnostic" in the narrow sense, not in the broad sense.
15 Jun 2008
TL;DR: The Gifford Lecture as discussed by the authors is the edited text of the Wilde Lectures from 2000, which were in turn an expanded version of the F.D.Maurice Lectures at the University of London from 1999.
Abstract:  In content the book is, as its subtitle indicates, the edited text of his Gifford Lectures from 2003. Those lectures were themselves based on the Wilde Lectures from 2000, whichwere in turn an expanded version of the F.D.Maurice Lectures at the University of London from 1999. Other lectures that are related to the book’s material that van Inwagen gave are the Stewart Lectures at Princeton from 2002. So it may well be that many readers of this review (like the reviewer) first came across the content in spoken form. The chapters of the book wear their origin on their sleeve, frequently using phrases such as ‘in the previous lecture’.  In the first chapter, van Inwagen rejects as not useful the distinction between the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil, focussing instead on the distinction between the global argument and the local argument.  In the second chapter, van Inwagen lays out a fairly standard conception of God by describing the individual attributes that he is assuming that God possesses, though it seems to me that some of the details of his treatment are worth discussion.  For example, van Inwagen defines ‘omniscience’ thus: ‘an omnipotent being is also omniscient if it knows everything it is able to know’ (p. 82). It is not explained why the definition is framed only for an omnipotent being, but the definition will not suffice in full generality (‘a being is omniscient if it knows everything it is able to know’), as it would then be subject to a version of Plantinga’s famous McEar objection: it is metaphysically possible that there be a being, McStupid, that is able to know only that it is McStupid, which fact it does know.
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors discuss the need for theodicy and the good goals of creation, including the need to be "beauty", "feeling", "action", and "worship".
Abstract: INTRODUCTION PART I: AN INITIAL PROBLEM: 1: THE NEED FOR THEODICY PART II: THE GOOD GOALS OF CREATION: 2: BEAUTY 3: FEELING 4: ACTION 5: WORSHIP PART III: THE NECESSARY EVILS: 6: THE FACT OF MORAL EVIL AND FREE WILL 7: THE RANGE OF MORAL EVIL AND RESPONSIBILITY 8: NATURAL EVIL AND THE SCOPE FOR RESPONSE 9: NATURAL EVIL AND THE POSSIBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE 10: THE EVILS OF SIN AND AGNOSTICISM PART IV: COMPLETING THE THEODICY: 11: GOD'S RIGHTS AND THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVICE 12: WEIGHING GOOD AGAINST BAD EPILOGUE
TL;DR: The authors argue that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists and present a prima facie good epistemic reason to reject theism unless overridden by other reasons for not rejecting theism.
Abstract: I will argue in this paper that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists. The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential. A statement reporting the observations and testimony upon which our knowledge about pain and pleasure is based bears a certain significant negative evidential relation to theism.' And because of this, we have a prima facie good epistemic reason to reject theism-that is, a reason that is sufficient for rejecting theism unless overridden by other reasons for not rejecting theism.
TL;DR: This "does not appear" defence is succinct and non-technical, affording considerable insight into our ordinary intuitions, but also making itself easy prey to misconstrual.
Abstract: Many of us - believers as well as nonbelievers, car mechanics as well as philosophers - have at some times in our lives felt instances of suffering in this world to be evidence against theism, according to which the universe is the creation of a wholly good Being who loves his creatures, and who lacks nothing in wisdom and power If it has proven hard to turn this feeling into a good argument, it has, perhaps, proven just as hard to get rid of it Indeed, the most logically sophisticated responses to the "problem of evil" can leave one wondering whether our intuitive perplexities have not been lost in the gears of the formal machinery brought to bear on them Maybe this is an unavoidable epiphenomenon of analysis; nevertheless, I want to try to mitigate it here For this reason (and a second forthcoming one), my springboard will be William Rowe's recent formulation of the case from suffering against theism} Rowe exemplifies the recent turn away from "logical" (or "deductive," or "demonstrative s ) formulations, construing the case instead as "evidential" (or "inductive," or "probabilistic") in nature The crux of his argument is that much suffering "does not appear to serve any outweighing good" This "does not appear" defence is succinct and non-technical, affording considerable insight into our ordinary intuitions, but also making itself easy prey to misconstrual I shall thus be amplifying Rowe's argument and defending it against specious criticisms, as well as - ultimately rebutting it This close attention to Rowe and his critics, however, is not an endin-itself It is a means of elucidating and vindicating a perspective from which we can see why a theist should, as Hume puts it, "never retract his belief'' on account of the suffering atheologians are inclined to adduce as evidence against theism Vindicating this perspective requires coming to close grips with the most lucid atheological evidential case one can find - and this is my second reason for taking Rowe's work as a springboard
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