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Skeptical Theism: New Essays$
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Trent Dougherty and Justin P. McBrayer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661183

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661183.001.0001

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Divine Deception

Divine Deception

(p.236) 17 Divine Deception
Skeptical Theism: New Essays

Erik J. Wielenberg

Oxford University Press

The dominant view within Christianity has it that God does not deceive, but there is a minority tradition within Christianity according to which God sometimes engages in intentional deception and is morally justified in doing so. This chapter draws on this minority tradition, together with skeptical theism, to raise doubts about the following thesis: (T) God’s testimony that all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life provides recipients of that testimony with a knowledge-sufficient degree of warrant for the belief that all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life. First, it is argued that there are possible situations in which divine deception is morally permissible. Next, it considers four apparent cases of divine deception found in scripture. It then combines the results of those arguments with skeptical theism to develop a prima facie case against (T). Finally, an important objection to this argument is addressed.

Keywords:   divine deception, morally permissible deception, religious skepticism

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