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Alvin Plantinga on Theistic Arguments

In God and Other Minds, I argued first that the theistic proofs or arguments do not succeed. In evaluating these arguments I employed a traditional but wholly improper standard: I took it that these arguments are successful only if they start from propositions that compel assent from every honest and intelligent person and proceed majestically to their conclusion by way of forms of argument that can be rejected only on pain of insincerity or irrationality. Naturally enough, I joined the contemporary chorus in holding that none of the traditional arguments was successful. (I failed to note that no philosophical arguments of any consequence meets that standard; hence the fact that theistic arguments do not is of less significance than I thought.) I then argued that the objections to theistic belief are equally unimpressive; in particular, the deductive argument from evil (the argument that there is a contradiction between the existence of God and the existence of evil), I said, is entirely unsuccessful. So I saw, as I thought, that neither the arguments for the existence of God nor the arguments against it are conclusive.


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