Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion


Part XI

Summary Part XI

Philo's argument, taken in this light, has a much stronger conclusion: his conclusion is not merely that we would be forced to believe in a morally neutral God if we were so silly as to try to draw religious truths from experience, but rather his conclusion is that we really should believe, given the evidence, that whatever first cause is responsible for our universe is morally neutral. This conclusion brings us a long way toward atheism. If the first cause of the universe is morally neutral, what kind of a God could He be? The first cause might just as well just be some impersonal law of nature, which is, as we have seen, exactly what Hume seems to think the first cause is, in fact. Even while his characters constantly affirm their belief in God's existence, it is possible to read this text as if Hume were subtly weaving in an argument for atheism.

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