Article first published online: 27 JUN 2010
© 2010 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 5, Issue 7, pages 611–623, July 2010
How to Cite
McBrayer, J. P. (2010), Skeptical Theism. Philosophy Compass, 5: 611–623. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2010.00306.x
- Issue published online: 27 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 27 JUN 2010
Most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God take the following form:
- 1If God exists, the world would not be like this (where ‘this’ picks out some feature of the world like the existence of evil, etc.)
- 2But the world is like this.
- 3Therefore, God does not exist.
Skeptical theists are theists who are skeptical of our ability to make judgments of the sort expressed by premise (1). According to skeptical theism, if there were a God, it is likely that he would have reasons for acting that are beyond our ken, and thus we are not justified in making all-things-considered judgments about what the world would be like if there were a God. In particular, the fact that we don’t see a good reason for X does not justify the conclusion that there is no good reason for X.1 Thus, skeptical theism purports to undercut most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God. What follows is an account of the nature of skeptical theism, an application of skeptical theism to both the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, and a review of the cases for and against skeptical theism.