God and Logical Necessity

Gary Gutting: "I agree that no theistic arguments are compelling, but I don’t agree that they all are logically invalid or have obviously false premises. I think the best arguments (especially, sophisticated versions of the cosmological argument) are dubious only in the sense that they use premises (e.g., any contingent thing requires a cause) that are not obviously true but that a rational person might properly believe."

The Case for ‘Soft Atheism’, Gary Gutting interviews Philip Kitcher

Gutting succinctly states what I have myself believed for the last few years with regards to the philosophical arguments for God's existence, a (sane) position which I feel has been largely ignored in the debates surrounding New Atheism. There is no logical necessity to believe (or disbelieve) in God, but given certain premises (which are not unreasonable) there are logically valid arguments for God's existence. I do not accept the either extreme position endorsed in popular debates according to which a rational person ought, or ought not, to believe in God at the pain of irrationality. You can rationally believe or disbelieve in God without maintaining that there is a logical necessity to do so, and without maintaining that anyone who disagrees is a fool.

Of course, that is aside from the fact that invalid arguments (or invalid versions of valid arguments) exist in abundance in popular debates on both sides. I am also talking just about the philosophical concept of God, and not a particular portrayal of God in this or that religion.

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