Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 2

Swinburne’s case for God (in The Existence of God, 2nd ed.) can be summed up this way:

1. Based on evidence other than religious experience, the existence of God is not very improbable.
2. If based on evidence other than religious experience, the existence of God is not very improbable, then the evidence from religious experience (in combination with other relevant evidence) makes the existence of God more probable than not.
Therefore:
3. The evidence from religious experience (in combination with other relevant evidence) makes the existence of God more probable than not.


Premise (1) is supported by the following claim:

4. Based on evidence other than religious experience, the existence of God is approximately as probable as not.

Premise (4) is based on Swinburne’s presentation and evaluation of ten a posteriori (empirical) arguments for and against the existence of God:

  • the cosmological argument (EOG, p.133-152)
  • the teleological argument from temporal order (EOG, p.152-166)
  • the teleological argument from spatial order (EOG, p.167-190)
  • the argument from consciousness (EOG, p.192-212)
  • the argument from moral truth (EOG, p.212-215)
  • the argument from moral awareness (EOG, p.215-218)
  • the argument from providence (EOG, p.219-235)
  • the problem of evil (EOG, p.236-267)
  • the argument from hiddenness (EOG, p.267-272)
  • the argument from history and miracles (EOG, p.273-292)

Swinburne thinks two of these arguments (one for God and one against God) have no significant force (i.e. are not good C-inductive arguments), and so only eight arguments contribute to the evaluation expressed in premise (4). Swinburne rejects the argument from moral truth (an argument for God’s existence), and he rejects the argument from hiddeness (an argument against the existence of God).

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