Stephen Law, his evil god, and radical skepticism

by J.W. Wartick

extermination_of_evil_tenkeiseiMy contention is that Stephen Law’s epistemological approach to his “evil god challenge” to Christianity entails radical skepticism. Because his challenge entails radical skepticism, Law has forced his cohorts to choose between the seeming irrationality of that position or a denial of the power of the “evil God challenge.”

Entailment of Skepticism

Stephen Law’s “evil God challenge” presents the following:

Suppose the universe has a creator. Suppose also that this being is omnipotent and omniscient. But suppose he is not maximally good. Rather, imagine that he is maximally evil. His depravity is without limit. His cruelty knows no bounds. There is no other god or gods – just this supremely wicked being. Call this the evil-god hypothesis. (Law, “The Evil God Challenge,” 4, cited below)

Now, the point of this challenge is:

the challenge of explaining why the good-god hypothesis should be considered significantly

more reasonable than the evil-god hypothesis.

Law argues in his paper that any theodicy used for the “good god” can be equally used for the “evil god.” Therefore, the theist has yet to show why one should favor the good god over the evil god, and so cannot rationally hold to belief in the good god over the evil god.

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Law’s primary support for this supposition is his symmetry thesis:

I shall call the suggestion that, in terms of reasonableness, there is indeed such a rough symmetry between the good-god and evil-god hypotheses, the symmetry thesis.

Nowhere does Law explain what “rough symmetry” means or how balanced the evidence really is between the good god and evil god. Rather, he just uses the phrase “rough symmetry” and argues as though this is enough to discredit the good god hypothesis…

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RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World

If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think About the Question

 

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