Mckloskey's "On Being An Atheist" Essay

1844 words - 8 pages

A response to H.J. McCloskey's Article, "On Being an Atheist"
In 1968 H.J. McCloskey wrote an article to his fellow atheists entitled "On Being an Atheist".  His purposes for writing this article were to inform other atheists of the supposed inadequacies of theists' belief in God, and to address accusations that the position of atheism is "cold" and "comfortless”. The author intends to show that in fact, it is theism that is the cold and comfortless position to hold. 
Mr. McCloskey is undoubtedly an intelligent and thoughtful man.  His article was written in an easy to understand syntax, and was surely embraced by many that hold a similar position.  In fact, I think that any Christian ...view middle of the document...

  I actually agree with that statement, however this argument is meant only to show the necessity of a First Cause. McCloskey is never quite clear on whether he believes in a First Cause, but as an evolutionist, I assume he does, just so long as the First Cause is not God.
Where the cosmological argument succeeds in revealing the necessity of a First Cause, the teleological argument is meant to show that this First Cause is a personal intelligence. The teleological argument focuses on the order and apparent design that we witness in the universe as evidence of an intelligent Creator.  McCloskey accuses those who hold this view as people who “know nothing about evolution”. It seems as if the author has not bothered to ask any number of Christian scientists or molecular biologists to explain why they can still believe in a God, even in light of all they have undoubtedly had to learn in college.  He further states that, “To get the proof going, genuine, indisputable examples of design or purpose are needed.” This is something that the evolutionist himself cannot do.  One only needs to mention the problem with the fossil record or problems with abiogenesis.  Neither of these critical areas in evolutionary theory has produced an indisputable example.  The fact is, evolution has many problems, too many to get into here, but even if macro-evolution were true, and it is the only mechanism responsible for the apparent order that we see all around us, there still lies the problem of the origin of the mechanism.  If evolution operates on natural laws, where did the laws come from?  As McCloskey attacks these two arguments, he never really offers any details about how his position better explains reality.  Only that the theists’ explanations are wrong.
All of McCloskey’s arguments really boil down to the problem of evil.  It is clear that this is his strongest objection to the existence of a perfect God.   It is most theists’ position that God is a perfect being.  How then do we explain then existence of evil?  This is a legitimate question, and one that many theists themselves have struggled with.  I will not attempt to solve the problem of evil here due to my lack of scholarship on the issue and the nature of this paper, but I will show that McCloskey’s argument is flawed and largely fueled I suspect, by emotional objections rather that totally rational ones.  I will also offer some suggestions as to why God would allow evil, but they will in no way be meant to answer all objections with absolute certainty.
McCloskey argues more than once in his paper about the unfair conditions in this world particularly concerning the suffering of innocent people and animals.  He uses this fact not only to totally deny God’s existence, but also to attempt to show that if he did exist, he would be either a malevolent God or a well-intentioned, yet incompetent one.  McCloskey’s logic goes like this: If a good God allows evil, then he himself is evil, if He is unable to...

Other Papers Like Mckloskey's "On Being An Atheist"

Imagine You Were Present At Socrates' Trial. Write A Short Speech In Which You Either State Why He Should Be Declared Innocent Or Why He Should Be Found Guilty

652 words - 3 pages act in this way, nor did he ask for a fee in return for what they had learnt from him.Meletus was first accusing Socrates of being an atheist, he then went on to say that Socrates was corrupting the minds of the young by teaching them of supernatural beings which means that Socrates does believe in something and so is not an atheist. The only crime Socrates has committed is that of putting his obligation to Apollo before that to the people of

Apologetics Application Paper

617 words - 3 pages Final Paper: A) Introduction B) The New Atheist and Their Worldview 1) Truth Claims 2) Source of Authority 3) Source of Morality 4) Worldview on Christianity C) Evaluating the New Atheist Worldview 1) Internal Logical Consistency 2) Is it Coherent 3) Factual Adequacy 4) Existential Viability 5) Does it Inspire 6) Ad Hoc Readjustment 7) Complexity D

Existence of God

5172 words - 21 pages believer would use this as a foundation to argue for the existence of God as that controlling being. In this argument, the sheer complexity of the natural world, the universe, atoms, DNA, and so on are used to justify that there must be a God. For example, most people know and understand the basic physics rule for magnetism and electricity that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. When this rule is applied to the nucleus of an atom

Response Paper Phil201

1687 words - 7 pages Response Paper McCloskey Article Anthony Powers PHIL 201- C09 November 6, 2015 Response Paper McCloskey Article In his article, On Being an Atheist, H.J. McCloskey attempted to prove how that holding an atheistic pattern of thought was much easier than holding a theistic worldview. McCloskey even referred to theism as a “comfortless spine-chilling doctrine.” Since McCloskey stated that proofs do not hold a vital role in the belief of

Eval

381 words - 2 pages CORM falls under the rhetoric device of argument from celebrity. There were also a few visual images used in the presentation. Matt ended his part of the presentation with a video which involved Richard Dawkins an atheist. This is an example of argument from celebrity. In the video Richard Dawkins got into a serious argument with the interviewer. This was an example of argument from outrage. The next part of the presentation was the pros

Phil 201 Week 6 Study Guid

3971 words - 16 pages Being: God is not limited by or dependent on any other being God does not just happen to exist Contingent Being: something that does not exult in and of itself but depends for its existence upon some other being Principle of Sufficient Reason: anything that happens does so for a resaon Teleological Argument: begins from the fact that the natural world appears to exhbit purposive order or design, and infers that its cause must therefore be an

Philosophy

1181 words - 5 pages choice on what we think is right and wrong, and we must choose to them there were no prewritten guidelines we must trust our own conscious. There are also those who do not believe in God and say morality is a man made concept to control the masses so the few can control the many. I even found references of atheist who do believe in a collective morality that every living being is born with that all humans and animals without being taught what is

Response Paper

1106 words - 5 pages Phil- 201 Response Paper The argument of whether or not it is possible to prove or disprove God’s existence has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years. Many scholars, atheists, and non-believers throughout the years have argued against the existence of God, but in H.J. McCloskey’s, On Being an Atheist, he shows a much deeper look at his argument by discussing what he thinks might be the overarching argument of Gods existence

Response Paper

1431 words - 6 pages The article by H.J. McCloskey, titled “On Being an Atheist” is certainly a controversial topic for those of the Christian faith, especially those with very strong beliefs. We as Christians believe that God is almighty and there is really no need to believe in any other being or even question that he exists. In this article from McCloskey, he talks about God’s existence and if there truly is a God, then why is there evil in world? This essay will

Just Joining

2477 words - 10 pages Reply Paper to H.J. McCloskey’s Essay: On Being An Atheist H.J McCloskey makes many bold statements in opposition to the most common arguments for theism. To say the least, his bias shows through, even to the point of not seeing the deeper picture. He makes claims against the cosmological and teleological arguments. He then makes a point on how evil speaks against the existence of God. He then concludes with a statement that may or may not be

Re 290 Religion Articles

955 words - 4 pages solid argument. Question 3 Aquinas makes two arguments about the morality of suicide that an atheist may find convincing. First, he points to the fact that everything naturally loves itself and wants what is best for itself. In this way suicide contradicts nature and natural law. Secondly, he speaks to the fact that every part belongs to some whole. By killing oneself, one also hurts the community they were apart of. These two

Related Essays

On Being An Atheist Essay

1704 words - 7 pages H. J. McCloskey's "On Being An Atheist" PHIL 201 - B15 Professor C. Wayne Mayhall Dorothy Thomas Liberty University July 9. 2010 Author H. J. McClosky gives us a negative answer in dealing with the question of God's existence. McClosky attempts to answer a different question. So he does not believe. How we face the world and create meaning for ourselves is the crutch of a divine benefactor. In the literature of

Molly Essay

411 words - 2 pages lack of imagination, meaning that he does not fully understand why he is dying, and that is because he is an atheist Miss the better story- The story Martel is referring to is the bible. Continuing with his thought that the agnostic person is missing out on a portion of his life, he refers to God or the bible as a “story” that the agnostic is missing out on. By saying so Martel is his extreme disapproval for those who chose not to believe in God, and saying that the story of God is better than the “story” that does not involve God.

Response Paper

2252 words - 10 pages Corey Rivera Dr. Matthew Arbo Phil 201-D20 December 7, 2013 Response Paper Does a belief in an all-knowing, all-good, all-perfect, and all-powerful God provide one with all the answers to life’s inexplicable questions? Conversely, does a belief in atheism offer any insight into life’s inexplicable questions? According to an article titled “On Being an Atheist,” written by the Australian philosopher H.J. McCloskey, atheism seems to do just

The Persecution Of Atheism In America

1453 words - 6 pages What is atheism? Why would someone be an atheist? Why do people fear and dislike atheism? Simply stated, atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. Granted, atheists are each individuals and undoubtedly each of them prescribe [to] many different philosophies on life, politics and morality as do Christians. However, though atheists may choose to gather collectively for whatever purpose, unlike Christianity, atheism is not a belief system. An