Genetic Fallacy and theism

It seems that a lot of theists keep bringing up the genetic fallacy as of late.

The genetic fallacy is a fallacious argument for or against an idea based solely on the origin of the idea. An example is, “You only believe in God because you were hardwired by your genes to believe in God.” Well that’s true, but what exactly is the problem? My belief in God can still be true( and God can still in fact exist) even if my belief originated from my genes.

I’ll take myself as an example. It seems obvious to me that I probably wouldn’t be a Christian if I was born in Saudi Arabia. In fact, you’d expect me to be a Muslim.

Now does this mean that my position is false? Well obviously not. Not too many people argue that.

Rather what is argued is that I am somehow epistemically unwarranted in holding to my religious belief.

But this seems kind of odd and not obviously true. After all, the very principle that is assumed seems to be self-refuting. In other words, it could very well be the case that I only believe that principle because I was born into a family where that taught. But this argument cuts both ways. What do I mean? Well I think the argument could be used against atheism and naturalism as well. I could argue that the only reason someone is an atheist or agnostic is because that was the environment they grew up in. In other words, this is sort of a reductio ad absurdum.

It seems rather odd when we think about other examples outside of religious belief. For example, in politics or beliefs about metaphysics. But is our belief somehow irrational because we might have acquired them by being born in a place where that was norm? Well it’s not at all obvious that this is the case. It even seems to me to be counter-intuitive.

I think the objection is based on a misunderstanding between the origin of a belief and the reason(s) people have for holding to their beliefs.


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