Nowhere in The Natural History of Religion does Hume’s explicitly speak in favor of atheism (perhaps due to the fear of persecution at the time), and yet, I would categorize this work as atheist. Hume strategically places monotheism or “theism” in contention with polytheism, leading the reader to assume that one would eventually prevail, but instead, he picks apart at both until readers are left questioning their own faith and wondering what a more rational alternative might be. In sections 1-5, Hume discusses polytheism and its origin. In sections 6-8, Hume discusses how we transition from polytheism to monotheism, and finally, in sections 9-15, he compares and contrasts the two, pointing out weaknesses and flaws in both. Throughout the book, …show more content…
4, para. 1). In saying this, Hume is trying to make it seem as though he is promoting natural theology, when in fact he is not. In section 1, he addresses a common misconception of the time, that early humans were monotheistic due to their ability to look at the world around them and see everything as a result of one perfect designer. He disputes this and says that 1,700 years ago, all humans were polytheistic, just as the vast majority of people have been throughout history (sec. 6, pg. 6, para 2). Hume argues that polytheism is the natural conclusion that mankind reaches before they are able to “stretch their conception to that perfect Being who bestowed order on the whole frame of nature” (sec. 6, pg. 7, para. 1). Hume also makes the claim that if humans had first come to the conclusion of “one superior being” through reasoning and reflection on nature, they would have never abandoned that belief in favor of polytheism. In sections 2 and 3, Hume discusses what he believes to be the origins of polytheism: man looked outside of nature as a whole, and into nature only as it relates to their passions, particularly …show more content…
He discusses the possibility of this occurring through natural theology, or contemplation, but decides that this is not possible due to the “ignorance and stupidity of the people” (sec. 6, pg. 29, para 1). He continues on to refute other possible explanations, before concluding that it occurs as a natural result of the flattery system; humans place one God above all others and say that he is omnipresent and infinite (sec. 6, pg. 31, para 1). They worship that one perfect God with the hope that they will attain the maximum control over their own anxieties and suffering. The purpose of these sections is to lead readers to doubt the foundations in reason of their belief
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The Divine Command Theory (DCT) explains which actions are moral based on whether or not God commands it. The theory is difficult to support due to its flaws, arbitration, and even due to the essence of God. While Divine Command Theorists may completely support this theory, I will argue why the theory is impractical and cannot dictate what is morally right or wrong. In understanding if this theory holds ground we must question what God commands. Instead of uncritically accepting a theory we must put it to question and eliminate any flaws.
According to Samuel Clarke, an infinite series of dependent beings must originate from a source, in other words, an independent being (p. 186). It is impossible for objects in the universe to exist on their own; if there is no cause, there is no existence of any object at all. Although Clarke does not explicitly point out that the being is God, his reasoning lead to such a conclusion, and the properties of a deity align – unchangeable and independent. Q2. Hume’s general objection to a priori arguments is that, the existence of an unchangeable and Deity is indemonstrable (p. 187).
In Section X of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume disproves the belief of miracles, “violation of the laws of nature” (Hume 76), as rational justification to believe in religion, specifically Christianity, through the application of the scientific method: a process that uses empirical data to establish accurate cause and effect relationships that configure human judgement. He indicates the two kinds of human reasoning (‘judgement”) are “relations of ideas and matters of facts” (15), which serve to distinguish “probability” from “proof” (23). Relations of ideas are revealed “by mere operation of thought” (15); knowledge acquired without experience, “a priori” (17). According to Hume, it is absurd to predict behavior of objects without having any exposure to it before (experience). The validity of this reasoning is tainted, because the mind makes up an effect that are not true, so the conception is irrational.
is responsible for the effect, there is no proof that the cause is responsible for the effect’s occurrence, it could be purely coincidental. It could be imagined that the sun would go out before it rose the next day or that the sun would turn green the next day are all as justifiable as thinking the sun will rise tomorrow from the evidence from it doing so in the past. So it is because this claim is not contradictory and it can be conceived to be false, its not enough to just understand what it means to know it to be true. It takes going out and experiencing the world, to make these observations for ones self to see that the world is one way rather than another way. Therefore, according to Hume knowledge of matters of fact is impossible, he does acknowledged however that that people had to think in terms of cause and
Hume could not conceive a powerful being who could not stop all the evil tides in the world unless He enjoyed every bit of it and, therefore, He is malicious. Hume’s argument could not be anywhere near the truth, on defining what evil is. However, we cannot define evil without basing it on a standard which is the moral law. The moral law prohibits evil and, therefore, it is good and consequently, the lawgiver has to be good. Appreciably, not everything in the world is evil and the very presence of evil in itself points to an existence of a good God who is revealed in the moral
Hume and Kierkegaard are responding to philosophical mindset which held belief in the existence of God as something that can be rationally proven. In Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments, both philosophers take issue with the a posteriori and a priori proof that have been used by philosophers to prove God’s existence. While their critiques of these arguments have much in common, the conclusions they draw from their analysis could not be more different— Hume ultimately denies God’s existence while Kierkegaard upholds it. While a full investigation into Hume’s argument against God’s existence and Kierkegaard’s argument for the necessity of the leap of faith, we can see how their critiques of these rational
This downfall didn’t affect Hume much because he came out strong and published the six-volume History of England in 1751 and 1752. This definitely was the book that made Hume the most successful, many people were interested in his book and after being unsuccessful for a while he finally could make money off this book. At fifty years old, David was invited to the Earl of Hertford in 1763 to be a secretary. In 1766, David returned back to his hometown, Edinburgh to live a happy life. His strong belief in disagreeing with Christian beliefs sparked Hume to create two more works; The Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion.
Hume’s views on causation stem from his own form of the distinctions between knowledge and belief, called “relations of ideas and matters of fact” (Morris, 2001). Relations of ideas are a priori and their truth can be determined simply by reason and does not depend on the existence of any particular thing. The example that is provided is: “The interior angles of a Euclidean triangle sum to 180 degrees” (2001). Simply by virtue of being a triangle, it is true that the interior angles must be 180 degrees, and does not require that a triangle exist naturally. On the other hand, matters of facts depend on the manner of the existent world.
I weigh the one miracle against she other, and according to the superiority which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous than the event which he relates, then, and only then, can he pretend to commend my belief or opinion (Sober, 2013).” In essence, Hume is using the Surprise Principle. He is saying that it would be more likely that the person claiming to see a dead man come to life by a miracle has been deceived than the fact that a dead man was actually raised to life.
In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume makes a statement that is particularly jarring, especially when it is compared to the ideas of other philosophers. He says “the idea of God, as meaning an infinitely intelligent, wise, and good Being, arises from reflecting on the operations of our own mind, and augmenting, without limit, those qualities of goodness and wisdom” (pg. 318). This is the first time, out of the philosophers read in Integral Seminar, that the concept that there is no God, and that God is a human creation, has been presented. Previous to reading Hume, it has been said that humans have ideas of goodness, and wisdom, and all other noble attributes because of the existence of God, and Hume declares the exact opposite, and supports this claim with his explanations of cause and effect. He shows that human beings can never know the power behind cause, and it is only through effects and experiences with those effects, that humans can begin to infer as to what the causes may be.
If somehow they believe in the same deity that Hume does, it is for the wrong reasons. Through Hume’s origin of religion and his biased philosophical viewpoint, he groups many theologies together that he is personally ignorant of. His example of the “intellectual approach” to religion is the first example of how an outsider’s perspective limits the scope of the
This paper will be an analysis of David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and will provide the readers with an interpretation of various arguments made against Philo’s initial argument that was made to show that it is not reasonable to believe in the existence of God. Philo initially suggests that God is just a being that has been regarded in the Christian religion. Provided will be a more in depth analysis of this argument. Then, there will be an interpretation of Demea’s response to this argument, and Cleanthes’ criticism of this response. After the aforementioned argument and criticism, Cleanthes’ response to Philo’s initial argument will be provided, as well as Philo’s criticism of said response.