A Brief Critique of “The Inconsistency of Theism”

Andrew Moroz desires to convince his readers of the inconsistency of theism through an article entitled “The Inconsistency of Theism” which may be found here - http://www.atheists.org/The_Inconsistency_of_Theism

Moroz notes that while there are many conceptions of God, his “focus will be on the Christian God”. Unfortunately he immediately presents John Hick’s description of [John Hick’s] god, which is not a description of the God of Christian Scripture. Since the Christian worldview is the only true worldview, and since it is the only intelligible way to view the world; it is unassailable. The only way to attempt an attack on the Christian worldview is to posit some sort of absurdity that either is or follows from a non-Christian tenet disguised as a Christian tenet. Hence, we end up with (for example) gods that have nothing to do with the God of the Bible. This straw man approach is common amongst unbelievers due to the consistency of Christianity. We are promised in this article that “several important incongruities within the concept of a god will be revealed”, yet the God of Scripture is never touched upon.

The article opens with a citation of the supposed percentage of Atheists and non-believers in the world. We are never told what “Atheist” actually means here (and trust me, the meaning changes depending upon what corner an atheist has been backed into) nor are we told what the non-believers lack faith in. As it stands, even if we were told more specific details concerning these percentages they would have little bearing upon the contention that theism is inconsistent.

After raising these rather irrelevant observations Moroz writes, “The Atheist position is perhaps founded on a principle of truth — a wish to believe only on evidence rather than on faith”. He also cites Russell as stating that “it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true” and quotes a famous passage from Hume showing his dedication to the idea that “the only legitimate propositions are those of matters of fact and those of the relations of ideas”. If “belief” and “faith” are synonymous then the statement from Moroz makes little sense. Setting this aside, I take it that he means something like Atheists wish to believe things only if evidenced. It is doubtful that Moroz would know that this is true of all Atheists. Even if he were able to show us that this is true of all Atheists, we might ask why they should do such a thing. Moroz probably means something more like, “Atheists should wish to believe things only if they are evidenced”. Unfortunately, he presents no evidence for such a statement. If it is the case that there is no evidence for the proposition in question then the proposed standard for belief fails its own test. The quote from Russell leaves us wondering why it is undesirable to believe propositions like the kinds he mentions (those with no ground for the supposition of truth), what constitutes “ground”, and what the grounds are for believing the very assertion he makes. Finally, what is paraphrased from Hume appears to be neither “matter of fact” nor “relationship of idea” and hence is not to be considered a “legitimate proposition” by the very standard set forth in the statement. Moroz has thus refuted himself from the start.

The concluding paragraph of the article does not fair much better than the beginning of the article. Moroz writes, “[I]t seems to me that one is puerile to base final knowledge on anything except philosophy - the only human endeavor that seeks to avoid assumptions”. I am left wondering why this seems childish to him, why his assertions at the beginning of the article did not meet this standard, and why he cannot see that he simply assumes philosophy (as using philosophy to justify the use of philosophy assumes philosophy) and thus sets forth another statement that fails its own test.

Moroz is therefore attempting to write an article from a position that cannot be consistently held. He is right to approach the “debate” about the existence and nature of God from an epistemological standpoint, but wrong in the epistemology he espouses. His is a self-defeating endeavor. He has not shown the inconsistency of theism at all, but rather the inconsistency of his own position. The reason for this is that anti-theism presupposes theism.

Moroz, Andrew. “The Inconsistency of Theism”. http://www.atheists.org/The_Inconsistency_of_Theism. Accessed 9/23/09.

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