Alvin Plantinga defends the notion that if God exists, then God can probably be known in a properly basic way. Moreover, if Yahweh exists, then Yahweh can probably be known in a properly basic way.
Crucial to Plantinga’s model of warrant (i.e. the property that makes true belief knowledge) is epistemic externalism.
However, for all we know, God (if God exists) would prefer that we would come to know God in an inferential way based on the evidence. Plantinga never really defends the premise that God would prefer us having knowledge of God in a basic way that is non-inferential.
Moreover, Plantinga asserts that we have a god-detector as one of our cognitive faculties. Plantinga isn’t just saying that we have an awareness of God. Rather, he is also saying that there is a specific faculty we have that recognizes the divine, which is called the sensus divinitatis.
But, Plantinga never provides any argument or evidence for such a faculty. He just says that the people who aren’t aware of God have either suppressed God or have damaged faculties. Unfortunately for Plantinga, this doesn’t explain the distribution and demographics of nonbelief.
With respect to Christian belief, Plantinga says that the Holy Spirit testifies to the truth of Christianity. However, once again, he doesn’t provide any argument or evidence that the Spirit exists.
So, one of my main problems with Plantinga’s project is that it is construed in one big conditional statement that, “If God exists, then we can probably know that God exists.” That isn’t saying a lot, because, in order to know something, then it has to be true. So, it’s not obvious that anyone knows whether God exists. Not to mention one can think that God exists, but it might not arise to knowledge because someone’s confidence level is not high.
Hence, in order for Plantinga to claim that one can probably know that God exists, he admits he would have to demonstrate that God exists. He says that this is a large task, and says it is above his pay-grade. This is a weird double standard that Plantinga employs because when he is critiquing other models of warrant he says things like, “Why think a thing like that?”. It can be quite irritating to see that Plantinga apparently has no self-awareness of this inconsistency.
Furthermore, Plantinga doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by the fact that Muslims and Hindus can come up with a similar model of warrant, which is a little strange because this is one of the same problems that plagued Plantinga’s earlier views of belief in God being justified and basic (Plantinga now thinks justification is fairly easy to have and is distinct from warrant/knowledge).
The upshot is that Plantinga’s earlier works on the matter of belief in God being properly basic was more convincing and plausible (at least to me). Perhaps, that’s because his project before was more modest in some ways. For example, he wasn’t so much interested in showing that belief in the Christian God was properly basic. In addition, Plantinga was focused on epistemic justification as opposed to knowledge, and it seems obvious that the former is easier to show than the latter. This isn’t to say that Plantinga’s earlier project was successful.