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.
2. "All too Skeptical Theism" by William Hasker
3. "Why Theists Cannot Accept Skeptical Theism" by Mark Piper
- Wysktra and Alston's Skeptical Theism
- Goodness and a Good God
- Theological and Evidential Skepticism
- A Safer Skepticism?
4. Skeptical Theism and Warranted Christian Belief