Friday, September 3, 2010

The End of Skeptical Theism? (Index)

I've always admired the story of Doubting Thomas. Scepticism is a good thing, isn't it?

Skeptical theism, as many of you will know, is a highly influential and popular response to the problem of evil (and, perhaps, to some other problems with theistic belief). Essentially, it maintains that because God is "wholly other" we should not expect to understand why he created the universe as it is or why, if he intervenes in human history, he intervenes in the way in which he does.

A more precise conceptualisation of skeptical theism is difficult since its proponents vary in their characterisation of both the extent of, and the reasons for, the skepticism.

Criticisms of skeptical theism tend to argue that the skepticism being endorsed has an unwelcome tendency to spread, like a cancer, into other parts of our epistemic infrastructure. I have already covered some of these criticisms. For example, Steve Maitzen's argument that skeptical theism undermines our moral obligations and Erik Wielenberg's argument that it undercuts our knowledge of scripture.

Over the course of September, I will be looking at three more articles criticising skeptical theism. The first, by William Hasker, is a particularly sharp criticism of Michael Bergmann's brand of skeptical theism. The second, by Mark Piper, presents a cumulative-case argument against several varieties of skeptical theism. And the third, which is actually an amalgam of two articles, will look at the implications of skeptical theism for Alvin Plantinga's religious epistemology. I will provide details on the source material in the individual entries.

Collectively, I think these articles present some pretty compelling reasons for rejecting skeptical theism.

This post will serve as an index for the series.


1. Introduction

2. "All too Skeptical Theism" by William Hasker

3. "Why Theists Cannot Accept Skeptical Theism" by Mark Piper

4. Skeptical Theism and Warranted Christian Belief

5. Conclusion


  1. Can I ask who the painter is, John? I'm sure I've seen the artist's works, but I can't recall the name.

  2. Caravaggio.

    He has lots of famous paintings of New Testament scenes.

  3. I'm really enjoying this series. Looking forward to reading forthcoming posts!

  4. This is a great article in a fascinating series. I am eager to read more. Keep up the impressive work! Best, Sascha

  5. The field of epistemology has mostly been concerned with the traditional definition of knowledge, which relates a mental state to an objective truth. However the skeptical view that knowledge is impossible is so enticing because that definition of knowledge includes a tautology - that there is already knowledge of objective truth available with which to compare that mental state before one can judge whether knowledge is knowledge. In short, you cannot know anything unless "something" already knows. Whether that something exists is another piece of knowledge that cannot be known unless something else knows it, and so on.