Several years ago notable atheist H. J. McCloskey wrote an article titled “On Being an Atheist.” In that article, McCloskey attempts to refute some traditional arguments for the existence of God. Furthermore, in an attempt to create a positive case for atheism, he presents the problem of evil and proposes the comfort of atheism. Does McCloskey’s attempt to undermine theistic belief succeed? Is it still possible to be an intellectually fulfilled theist after considering his attacks? McCloskey does not present a solid case for the truth of atheism. His objections to the theistic arguments are unsuccessful in showing theism to be unsound. Unfortunately, he fails to address several important arguments for the existence of God.
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What can be substantiated is sufficient to ascertain that it is probable that God exists. There are many beliefs that people hold that are not based on absolute certainty, and those people are rational to hold some of those beliefs. Can everyone in the world be convinced with total certitude of the moon landings? Beliefs do not need to be discarded because they are unsuccessful in living up to an unreasonable criterion of proof. Thus, McCloskey’s notion concerning the proofs of God’s existence is flawed.
McCloskey then directs his attack towards the cosmological argument. McCloskey’s approach to the cosmological argument is to fashion it as, “an argument from the existence of the world as we know it.” McCloskey main claim against the cosmological contention of a necessary being is, “The mere existence of the world constitutes no reason for believing in such a being.” His statement is very bold because he claims there is “no reason.” This places McCloskey in a bind. If McCloskey advocates the universe has necessary existence, then he is embracing some form of Pantheism. If he contends the universe is contingent, then the universe needs an explanation. This holds whether the universe existed from eternity past or not. C Stephen Evans and R. Zachary Manis note, “The existence of contingent beings -either individually or collectively- cannot be a brute fact, since such beings do not themselves explain their existence.” So, this would constitute a