Advertisement

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 329–348 | Cite as

Rationalist atheology

  • John R. Shook
Article

Abstract

Atheology, accurately defined by Alvin Plantinga, offers reasons why god’s existence is implausible. Skeptically reasoning that theological arguments for god fail to make their case is one way of leaving supernaturalism in an implausible condition. This ‘rationalist’ atheology appeals to logical standards to point out fallacies and other sorts of inferential gaps. Beyond that methodological marker, few shared tactics characterize atheists and agnostics stalking theological targets. If unbelief be grounded on reason, let atheology start from a theological stronghold: the principle of sufficient reason, a cornerstone of rationality. Seven rules, corollaries to that principle, are enough to show how theological arguments for god repeatedly contravene rationality by perpetuating mysteries, contradictions, begging of questions, pseudo-explanations, and the like. None of these complaints are new, nor has theology been unaware of them. Disorganized atheology has, so far, allowed theology to appear to answer them. Five major arguments for god are systematically analyzed and refuted using these seven rules of rationality, as a preliminary exercise illustrating this re-organized and re-focused rationalist atheology.

Keywords

Atheology Theology Atheism Sufficient reason Logic 

References

  1. Alston, W. (1991). Perceiving god: The epistemology of religious experience. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bagger, M. C. (1999). Religious experience, justification, and history. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrow, J. D., Morris, S. C., Freeland, S., & Harper, C. (Eds.). (2012). Fitness of the cosmos for life: Biochemistry and fine-tuning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Behe, M. J. (2007). The edge of evolution: The search for the limits of Darwinism. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  5. Burrell, D. B. (Ed.). (2010). Creation and the god of Abraham. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Copan, P., & Craig, W. L. (2004). Creation out of nothing: A biblical, philosophical, and scientific exploration. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.Google Scholar
  7. Craig, W. L. (1979). The Kalām cosmological argument. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Craig, W. L., & Sinclair, J. D. (2009). The Kalam cosmological argument. In W. L. Craig & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to natural theology (pp. 201–1000). Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cudworth, R. (1678). The true intellectual system of the universe: The first part; wherein, all the reason and philosophy of atheism is confuted; and its impossibility demonstrated. London: Richard Royston.Google Scholar
  10. Dembski, W. A., & McDowell, S. (2008). Understanding intelligent design. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Drees, W. B. (Ed.). (2003). Is nature ever evil? Religion, science, and value. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Edis, T., & Young, M. (Eds.). (2006). Why intelligent design fails: A scientific critique of the new creationism. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Everett, N. (2004). The non-existence of god. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Fogelin, R. J. (2003). A defense of Hume on miracles. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Harmless, W. (2007). Mystics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hick, J. (2007). The new frontier of religion and science: Religious experience, neuroscience, and the transcendent. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Hoffman, J., & Rosenkrantz, G. S. (2002). The divine attributes. Malden, Mass: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hood, R. W. (2001). Dimensions of mystical experiences: Empirical studies and psychological links. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  19. Kenny, A. (2004). The unknown god: Agnostic essays. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  20. Le Poidevin, R. (1996). Arguing for atheism: An introduction to the philosophy of religion. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Manson, N. J. (2003). God and design: The teleological argument and modern science. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marion, J.-L. (1986). The essential incoherence of descartes’ definition of divinity. In A. Rorty (Ed.), Essays on descartes’ meditations. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Martin, M. (1990). Atheism: A philosophical justification. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Martin, M., & Monnier, R. (Eds.). (2003). The impossibility of god. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  25. May, G. (1994). Creatio ex nihilo: The doctrine of “creation out of nothing” in early christian thought. Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark.Google Scholar
  26. McGrath, A. (2009). A fine-tuned universe: The quest for god in science and theology. Louisville, Kent: Westminster John Knox Press.Google Scholar
  27. Monton, B. (2009). Seeking god in science: An atheist defends intelligent design. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
  28. Nielsen, K. (Ed.). (1985). Philosophy and atheism. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Press.Google Scholar
  29. Oppy, G. (1995). Ontological arguments and belief in god. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Oppy, G. (2006). Arguing about gods. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Connor, D. (2009). God, evil and design: An introduction to the philosophical issues. Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Paloutzian, R. F., & Park, C. L. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  33. Pennock, R. (Ed.). (2001). Intelligent design creationism and its critics: Philosophical, theological, and scientific perspectives. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Plantinga, A. (1967). God and other minds: A study of the rational justification of belief in god. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Proudfoot, W. (1985). Religious experience. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  36. Rundle, B. (2004). Why is there something rather than nothing?. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schellenberg, J. L. (2009). The will to imagine: A justification of skeptical religion. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Shook, J. R. (2010). The god debates: A 21st century guide for atheists and believers (and everyone in between). Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sobel, J. H. (2003). Logic and theism: Arguments for and against beliefs in god. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stenger, V. J. (2011). The fallacy of fine-tuning: Why the universe is not designed for us. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  41. Swinburne, R. (2004). The existence of god (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Swinburne, R. (2004). Revelation: From metaphor to analogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Taves, A. (2009). Religious experience reconsidered: A building block approach to the study of religion and other special things. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Ward, K. (1994). Religion and revelation: A theology of revelation in the world’s religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Yandell, K. (1994). The epistemology of religious experience. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations