David Hume And Karl Marx’s Critiques Of Religion

1287 words - 5 pages

Where does religion come from? Many have tried to answer this question, only leaving us with more questions than answers. This essay will focus on two philosophers David Hume and Karl Marx both has strong critiques on the existence of God. Both going against the design argument, the design argument is the argument for the existence of God or single creator; however, with Hume’s empiricist and Marx's atheist they both attack the design argument in different ways, ultimately coming to the same conclusion and that is there is no God.
Fist we must understand what the design argument is based on? It is based on intelligent order simply the theory claiming the universe is designed in order to prove that it is the work of a designer in this case God. Scriptures try to tie itself with the design argument for example “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-21). This in essence is saying God exist through his creations even if man doesn’t see it. Hume’s however does not agree with the scripture, his argument is simple, how can someone argue God exist if he or she were not present to witness the creation. He uses the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge for example; "George Bush Jr. reigned from 2001 to 2009." This is something (if true) that one must come to know a posterior, because it expresses an empirical fact unknowable without prior knowledge. By contrast, consider the proposition, "If George Bush reigned at all, then he reigned for at least a day." This is something that one knows a priori, because it expresses a statement that one can derive by reason alone. Religion suggests that the world operates on cause and effect and that there must be a First Cause, in this case God. In Hume’s worldview, causation is assumed but ultimately unknowable.
Hume’s critique of religion at the time was very risky during the 18th century so when he wrote “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” he masked his beliefs and arguments as a story with characters representing different critiques of religion. There are three principal characters in the Dialogues. A character named Cleanthes defends an a posteriori design argument for God’s existence. Next, a character named Demea defends an a priori casual argument for God’s existence. Philo is a skeptic who argues against both a posteriori and a priori proofs. Hume in the dialogue states “Whatever exists must have a cause or reason of its existence; it being absolutely impossible for anything to produce itself, or to be the cause of its own existence” (Dialogues, Part IX). Hume's also wrote “Natural History of Science” which touched on a different aspect of religion. Hume argues that polytheism, and not monotheism, was the original religion of primitive...

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