NonStampCollector Issues A Challenge To Monotheists

In a nutshell, the question is, what proof is there that there is one god and not multiple?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Gary

    The quick, short, tentative reply: One cause, one effect.

    While the video was enjoyable, but I don’t think the challenge is as necessarily pointed as its author believes, or even particularly directed to religion. The general idea – that one effect, the world, requires one cause – would appear to be the same as the one expressed by Aristotle at the end of Metaphysics L: “The rule of many is not good; one ruler let there be.”

    This implicis argument expressed by Aristotle undoes the premise of the video’s challenge a bit, because either it shows (i) how a Greek polytheistic pagan could have ‘reasoned’ his way to postulating some one single principle or cause of the universe, despite the general prevailing religious beliefs of his culture; or (ii) that the question of whether there was one cause or more doesn’t have any necessary connection as a challenge to monotheistic religion, but is a general problem for any scientific account of the universe’s ‘origin’ (keeping in mind that Aristotle is talking about how many ‘movers’ to postulate in that passage).

    Anyways, sorry for the somewhat garbled and quick phrasing, hope my general point comes across.

  • http://blog.noctua.org.uk/ Paul Wright

    Seems a very Humean approach: Philo in Hume’s Dialogues says something pretty similar, and goes on to anticipate possible objections. For example:

    To multiply causes without necessity, is indeed contrary to true philosophy: but this principle applies not to the present case. Were one deity antecedently proved by your theory, who were possessed of every attribute requisite to the production of the universe; it would be needless, I own, (though not absurd,) to suppose any other deity existent. But while it is still a question, Whether all these attributes are united in one subject, or dispersed among several independent beings, by what phenomena in nature can we pretend to decide the controversy? Where we see a body raised in a scale, we are sure that there is in the opposite scale, however concealed from sight, some counterpoising weight equal to it; but it is still allowed to doubt, whether that weight be an aggregate of several distinct bodies, or one uniform united mass. And if the weight requisite very much exceeds any thing which we have ever seen conjoined in any single body, the former supposition becomes still more probable and natural. An intelligent being of such vast power and capacity as is necessary to produce the universe, or, to speak in the language of ancient philosophy, so prodigious an animal exceeds all analogy, and even comprehension.


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