Mackie vs Plantinga on the warrant of theistic belief without arguments

Domingos Faria



My aim in this paper is to critically assess two opposing theses about the epistemology of religious belief. The first one, developed by John Mackie, claims that belief in God can be justified or warranted only if there is a good argument for the existence of God. The second thesis, elaborated by Alvin Plantinga, holds that even if there is no such argument, belief in God can be justified or warranted. I contend that the first thesis is plausibly false, because belief in God is not just like a scientific hypothesis, and the second thesis is likely true if epistemic externalism is the correct view. However, even if the second thesis is true, I argue that to work on good arguments for God’s existence is unavoidable in order to cope with a new version of the Great Pumpkin objection, as well as to achieve other relevant purposes such as to convince rational observers outside the theistic community that belief in God is likely justified or warranted.


Epistemology of Religious Belief; Warrant; Theistic Belief; Natural Theology; Mackie; Plantinga

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