The wages of theism: Scepticism and depravity
LE3 .A278 2010
Bachelor of Arts
Historically, philosophers and theologians have argued for what remains a popular position— the view that atheism threatens morality and even knowledge. Contrary to historical custom and popular sentiment, I argue that morality and knowledge are actually threatened by theism. Throughout my thesis, I use ― theism‖ to refer to the proposition that an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God exists. Theists believe in the existence of God, while also commonly believing in the existence of heaven and the notion that we will ultimately be rewarded or punished depending on how laudable or blameworthy our earthly deeds are. I arrive at my conclusion— that theism threatens morality and knowledge— via four distinct, but related, arguments. My first argument attempts to show that theism‘ s explanation of the wrongness of killing heaven- bound victims clashes with our ordinary moral intuitions. My second argument tries to force theists to admit that their beliefs imply either the impossibility of altruism and laudable self- sacrifice or the dissolution of our ordinary conception of morality. My third argument is based on the premise that theism implies the existence of libertarian free will. It concludes that theism once again comes into conflict with our ordinary moral practice and commitments. My fourth argument moves from morality to epistemology by arguing that, given the popular theory of epistemic contextualism, theists cannot accurately claim knowledge of the external- world for themselves or others. By combining these four arguments, I hope to repel both historical and popular criticism of atheists by showing that theists, not atheists, ought to bear the burden of explaining unacceptable moral and epistemological consequences.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.