Positive skeptical theism and the problem of divine deception

Positive skeptical theism and the problem of divine deception In a recent article, Erik Wielenberg has argued that positive skeptical theism fails to circumvent his new argument from apparent gratuitous evil. Wielenberg’s new argument focuses on apparently gratuitous suffering and abandonment, and he argues that negative skeptical theistic responses fail to respond to the challenge posed by these apparent gratuitous evils due to the parent–child analogy often invoked by theists. The greatest challenge to his view, he admits, is positive skeptical theism. To stave off this potential problem with his argument, he maintains that positive skeptical theism entails divine deception, which creates insuperable problems for traditional theism. This essay shows that Wielenberg is mistaken. Although positive skeptical theism claims that we should expect the appearance of gratuitous evil (when there is no actual gratuitous evil) given Christian theism, this does not entail divine deception. I maintain that God is not a deceiver on positive skeptical theism because God does not meet two requirements to be a deceiver: (1) God does not intend to cause people to believe any false propositions and (2) God does not provide evidence for someone to justifiably believe a false proposition. Consequently, Wielenberg’s new argument from evil fails and positive skeptical theism remains a viable response to the evidential argument from evil. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Springer Journals

Positive skeptical theism and the problem of divine deception

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Religion; Religious Studies, general; Non-Western Philosophy
ISSN
0020-7047
eISSN
1572-8684
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11153-017-9615-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In a recent article, Erik Wielenberg has argued that positive skeptical theism fails to circumvent his new argument from apparent gratuitous evil. Wielenberg’s new argument focuses on apparently gratuitous suffering and abandonment, and he argues that negative skeptical theistic responses fail to respond to the challenge posed by these apparent gratuitous evils due to the parent–child analogy often invoked by theists. The greatest challenge to his view, he admits, is positive skeptical theism. To stave off this potential problem with his argument, he maintains that positive skeptical theism entails divine deception, which creates insuperable problems for traditional theism. This essay shows that Wielenberg is mistaken. Although positive skeptical theism claims that we should expect the appearance of gratuitous evil (when there is no actual gratuitous evil) given Christian theism, this does not entail divine deception. I maintain that God is not a deceiver on positive skeptical theism because God does not meet two requirements to be a deceiver: (1) God does not intend to cause people to believe any false propositions and (2) God does not provide evidence for someone to justifiably believe a false proposition. Consequently, Wielenberg’s new argument from evil fails and positive skeptical theism remains a viable response to the evidential argument from evil.

Journal

International Journal for Philosophy of ReligionSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 30, 2017

References

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