David Hume
"I was from the beginning scandalised, I must own, with this resemblance
between the Deity and human creatures." --Philo David Hume wrote much about
the subject of religion, much of it negative. In this paper we shall attempt to
follow Hume\'s arguments against Deism as Someone knowable from the wake He
allegedly makes as He passes. This kind of Deism he lays to rest. Then, digging
deeper, we shall try our hand at a critique of his critique of religion, of
resurrecting a natural belief in God. Finally, if there\'s anything Hume would
like to say as a final rejoinder, we shall let him have his last word and call
the matter closed. To allege the occurrence of order in creation, purpose in its
constituent parts and in its constituted whole, regularity in the meter of its
rhythm and syncopations, and mindful structure in the design and construction of

Nature is by far the most widely used and generally accepted ground for
launching from the world belief in an intelligent and omnipotent designer god.

One does not have to read for very long to find some modern intellectual
involved in the analysis of some part of Nature come to the "Aha!"
that there\'s a power at work imposing order, design, structure and purpose in
creation. Modern religious piety salivates at the prospect of converting
scientists and will take them any way it can. From Plato to Planck the
problematic lion of religion must be rendered safe and tame. Religion must be
reasonable, after all, we are reasonable "men." Einstein writes that
the scientist\'s "religious feeling takes the form of rapturous amazement at
the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority
that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings
is an utterly insignificant reflection." We have been struck dumb, however;
we can no longer be incautious with such temptations to believe, with such
sirens sounding for sensible, systematic sureness. The Design Argument has been
mortally wounded by David Hume. The god arrived at by arguments on the one-way
street of effect to the cause is dead; we should never have allowed him to live.

In Section XI of the Enquiry, and throughout the Dialogues Hume subjects the

Argument from Design to searching and searing philosophical analysis, to the
point in his mind that it is forever dead, and to the point in our minds that we
wonder why the world has not yet received the obituary. Why did it not die from
the exposure to which Hume subjected it? Who resurrected this false phoenix? Has
the Design Argument been forever altered by Hume? Can it render service in
post-Hume discussions? These are the questions we should confront. David Hume\'s
philosophy of religion is fatal to the natural revelation of Deism. His
arguments the camp of unbelief have appropriated. It is an argument against any
inductive proof for God\'s existence. What Hume seeks to show is the failure of
this argument to establish the type of deity that belief in a particular
providence or divine action must require one to assert. This he sets out first
and in preliminary fashion in Section XI of the Enquiry and with more plethoric
attention in the Dialogues. In both books he employs the dialogue form to embody
his attacks. The argument of the former is mistitled. Fourteen of the seventeen
pages have nothing to do with immortality or "particular providence."

Hume\'s argument here is from the particular effect to the existence of a cause
sufficient for its production. Causes are to be known from effects alone; to
ascribe to it any superfluous qualities goes beyond the bounds of strict logical
reasoning. The imagination must be philosophically bridled. When ten ounces are
raised in a balance one can surely surmise a counterbalance exceeding ten
ounces, but one can hardly offer any justification for the counterbalance to
weigh 100 ounces. Transferred to philosophical theology, it is impossible to
derive legitimately from a natural theology any relevancy in conclusions arrived
at over and above what can be independently and directly supported by empirical
study of the universe. Such innocuous-sounding, even camouflaged assertions by

Hume were in actuality a D-Day invasion on the Normandy Beach of the Deists. The
first salvo is a statement of the terms of reference: You then . . . have
acknowledged that the chief or sole argument for a divine existence (which I
have never questioned) is derived from the order of nature, where there appear
such marks of intelligence and design that you think it extravagant to assign
for its cause either chance or the