Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On Skepticism, Atheism, and Dogmatism

Atheism means skepticism about God's existence, but when this position is taken seriously, it leads to a dogmatic belief in God’s nonexistence. The utter atheist is a dogmatic believer in a negative, which is God’s nonexistence. Here’s a perspective from Stephen C. Pepper’s World Hypotheses: "What can the utter skeptic himself mean? Does he mean that all facts are illusory and all statements are false? But this position is not one of doubt, but of downright disbelief. It is disbelief in the reliability of all evidence and in the truth of all statements; or, contrariwise, it is belief in the unreliability of all evidence and the falsity of all statements. For every instance of disbelief is simply the reverse of belief; it is belief in the contradictory of what is disbelieved. If a man disbelieves in the existence of God, he necessarily believes in the nonexistence of God. A dogmatic atheist is as little of a doubter as a dogmatic theist. It is the agnostic who completely doubts the existence of God. He genuinely doubts. That is, he finds the evidence on both sides so evenly balanced in this matter that he neither believes nor disbelieves, but holds the proposition in suspense."

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