Re human conceptions of God overly anthropomorphic (in the same way that those of the spiders are overly arachnimorphic)?

This is the assignment:
Students are required to use their textbooks a and only their textbooks a when writing their papers. In explaining their chosen topic, students are expected to back up their discussion with a minimum of 4 relevant and referenced quotations (containing page numbers) from their textbooks (see the footnotes below for an example of how to quote from the textbooks).


1. In Part Seven of Humeas Dialogues Philo claims that a?the Brahmins assert, that the world arose from an infinite spider, who spun the whole complicated mass from his bowels a¦ . Here is a species of cosmogony, which appears to us ridiculous a¦ . But still here is a new species of analogy, even in our globe. And were there a planet wholly inhabited by spiders a¦ this inference would there appear as natural and irrefragable as that which in our planet ascribes the origin of all things to design and intelligence.a? Are human conceptions of God overly anthropomorphic (in the same way that those of the spiders are overly arachnimorphic)?


a? Paragraph 1: Introduction: Explain the question concerning anthropomorphism, i.e. discuss how there is a philosophical/theological debate concerning whether or not human conceptions of God are overly anthropomorphic, and how this debate is dramatized in Humeas Dialogues, where Cleanthes defends an anthropomorphic conception of the Deity against the objections of Demea and Philo.

a? Paragraph 2: Objectively discuss what can be said in favour of anthropomorphic conceptions of God with reference to Cleanthesa arguments in the Dialogues. Cleanthesa case is intimately connected with the Design Argument: Since he thinks that the Design Argument is the only philosophical argument that convincingly allows us to draw conclusions about Godas existence and nature, it inevitably follows that, for him, God is essentially an intelligent and creative being in the same way in which a human mind is an intelligent and creative being (even if the former is obviously much more powerful than the latter). You should refer to Part II of the Dialogues, where Cleanthes introduces the Design Argument and discusses the conception of God that arises from this.

a? Paragraph 3: Objectively discuss Philoas objections to Cleanthesa Design Argument and its attendant Anthropomorphism a specifically the objections raised in Part VII of the text and, especially, those raised in the quotation. Philo suggests that: (a) Since not everything we encounter in the universe that a?looks designeda can be proven to be the product of design (e.g. a spideras web or a termite mound can hardly be said to be the product of intelligence on the part of their creators), we need to take seriously the possibility that the universe arose from another kind of power and not necessarily intelligence; and (b) that conceiving of God as essentially analogous to a human mind may simply be the product of human a?partiality,a? i.e. a bias in our own favour that makes us conceive of ourselves as the measure for all things.

a? Paragraph 4: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the two competing positions. State your own opinion on the issue and try and rationally justify it. (Remember there is no a?right or wronga answer in connection with this question).

a? Paragraph 5: Provide a conclusion wrapping up the discussion.