John Shook: Proving God's Existence Is Impossible

This semester I have been teaching Philosophy of Religion using John Shook’s superbly thorough, systematic, incisive, and critical summation of the arguments for and against the existence of God, The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between). The book is impressive enough that I would give it the endorsement that “if you only read one book on the existence of God, read The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between).”

Yesterday, Shook made the case that proving the existence of God is impossible. The core of his argument:

1. Humans will never have the cognitive capacity to directly understand anything with infinite powers or qualities.

2. Humans will never have intellectual reasons to indirectly demonstrate the existence of anything with infinite powers or qualities.

3. There are only two kinds of proofs for God: direct understanding or indirect demonstration.

Conclusion: Humans will never have any proofs for God.

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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.


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