Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The argument from neglect: a good paragraph

Breaking my usual essay-only obsession to post a good paragraph from Philip Clayton and Steven Knapp. The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, and Faith. OUP. 2012.

"To the extent we think of God as a personal, active being, we inevitably apply [human moral] standards. Frankly, and I say this with the utmost reverence, the personal God does not pass the test of parental moral responsibility. If God is really personal in this way, then we must conclude that God has a morally abysmal record of inaction or ineffective action. This I shall call the argument from neglect . . . To meet this objection, a defender of personalistic theism has to do two things: first, show that there may be a good reason why a personal and active God, if there is one, either cannot or chooses not to perform the acts we would expect a benevolent God to perform; second, avoid what is in effect the reductio ad absurdum of constraining divine action so extensively that it becomes pointless or irrelevant. This chapter is devoted to addressing these two challenges." [Ooooh, that last sentence is like a spooky orchestra hit for theology nerds!] (56)