The Problem of Alternative Monotheisms: Another Serious Challenge to Theism
Keywords:Theism, deism, quasi-deism, The Evil God Challenge, argument from alternative monotheisms
Theistic and analytic philosophers of religion typically privilege classical theism by ignoring or underestimating the great threat of alternative monotheisms. In this article we discuss numerous god-models, such as those involving weak, stupid, evil, morally indifferent, and non-revelatory gods. We find that theistic philosophers have not successfully eliminated these and other possibilities, or argued for their relative improbability. In fact, based on current evidence – especially concerning the hiddenness of God and the gratuitous evils in the world – many of these hypotheses appear to be more probable than theism. Also considering the – arguably infinite – number of alternative monotheisms, the inescapable conclusion is that theism is a very improbable god-concept, even when it is assumed that one and only one transcendent god exists.
 I take ‘theism’ to mean ‘classical theism’, which is but one of many possible monotheisms. Avoiding much of the discussion around classical theism, I wish to focus on the challenges in arguing for theism over monotheistic alternatives. I consider theism and alternative monotheisms as entailing the notion of divine transcendence.
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