Over the years, most people whether religious or non-religious have held belief in the existence of God. Although others do not believe in God, they still keep the thought of an ultimate being that surpasses the material universe. Even with the technological and scientific advances, people are still of the opinion that there is a superior being who exceeds reality. Religious philosophers have made many attempts to prove the existence of God, and with this, some classic arguments have been put forward. The traditional arguments for Gods existence have been refined with some evolving from antiquated relics to the contemporary projections; that of the rationality of the belief in God. It is evident that that not all the arguments are founded on the Christian philosophy; the Muslim and Jewish philosophers have contributed significantly to the philosophy of religion with Aristotle and Plato influencing most of its development. Whether the arguments presented for the existence of God is successful remains a controversial subject. The Arguments for Gods existence attempts to explain certain philosophical ideologies for theism, more so in the case of the existence of God.
The Ontological Argument
This is the first argument on Gods existence and is based entirely on reason. Its aim is to prove the existence of God from laws of logic alone. This argument does not find the necessity to search for the evidence of Gods physical existence instead it finds the thought of God being in existence satisfactory. Such lines of thoughts are referred to as priori arguments by the philosophers. In such an argument, there is no consideration of the facts of experience. This forms the basis of the difference that exists between the ontological arguments and other arguments for the existence of God.
St. Anselm of Canterbury proposed the first known ontological argument. His reasoning was based on the assertion that God is a being that nothing greater can be conceived. Since existence is a possibility and existing is much greater than not being in existence, then God must exist. Rene Descartes also presented his ontological argument based on his meditations. Descartes argues that God is no deceiver hence some trust should be cultivated based on our distinct perceptions of the external world.2 Alvin Plantinga also advocates for the ontological argument defending the view that religious beliefs had some foundation. The critiques such as Gaunilo objected to this argument on grounds that it did not seem sense to prove the presence of any impeccable thing at all. He termed the ontological argument as fallacious and that it lacked any basis. Immanuel Kant, another critique described existence as a property of concepts and not objects and therefore any ideas present in any concept needed to be instantiated.
Pascal Wagers Argument
Though not popular among truth seekers, Pascal wagers argument has been widely used by theists. He attempts to justify the belief in God not basing on the appeal for his appeal to the evidence of his existence but rather to satisfy the self-interest. The argument seeks to justify the Christian faith by the different consequences of belief and disbelief in the God of Christianity. Belief in Christian God explains the argument, and his existence means that people will receive an immeasurable great reward in heaven. People should believe in him whether they think he exists or not because nothing can be lost in by believing and being wrong, but a lot can be lost by not believing and being wrong.
The Pascal Wagers argument draws a conclusion that the belief in a Christian God is a course of action driven by rationality even in the absence of the evidence that he exists. As a measure to protect ourselves in any circumstance, people should believe in the presence of a Christian God. One of the objections to his line of argument is the assumption in the Christian view on the criteria used for admission into heaven3. There are other many possible ways for distribution of rewards such as good deeds, belief in Muslim God and that based on eternal punishment. Such rewards have however been based solely on the belief in Christian God. The final objection is that we cannot choose what to believe in. Our basis for beliefs should be based on evidence and not desire. Pascal Wagers argument only advocates for the belief in God but does not provide evidence that such a belief is true. It requires people to do the impossible; that is to believe without reason.
This argument attempts to prove Gods existence by proceeding from a consideration of the existence and order of the universe. Aristotle believed that people could learn about their world by the essence of living things through observation. It is one of the arguments that base its facts on the existence of the universe and that of a God who created it. It claims that the mere presence of the world is enough evidence and does not require further explanation since that means that it was created by God. Just like other arguments of Gods existence, the cosmological argument exists in some forms that are the sequential (kalam cosmological argument) and the modal argument from likelihood. The important feature that distinguishes the two cases is the manner in which they evade an initial objection to the argument.
The design or teleological arguments are empirical arguments for Gods existence. Such arguments in most cases proceed with an attempt to identify the various observable features of the universe which consists of the evidence of the intelligent design and infers the existence of God the best explanation for these functions. Teleological is derived from Telos, a Greek word for purpose. Such arguments refer to the universe as being ordered, to mean that it is aligned towards a particular goal. The best possible explanation to this is that the orderly nature of the universe is as a result of the fact that it owes its existence to an intelligent being. Its primary objective is to accomplish the purpose an argument that deviates from the thought of its existence by chance.
St Thomas Aquinas first used this argument as one of his five ways of acknowledging Gods existence, but William Paleys statement is most cited in the case. He equated the universe to a watch whose various ordered parts worked harmoniously to further a given purpose. He made a suggestion that just the same way intelligence is implied by the order, complexity and purpose of a watch, was how the same characteristics of the universe suggested intelligent design. The modern teleological arguments are however somewhat different from that postulated by Paley. While Paleys fascination was derived from the appearance of conception in the biological systems, the modern teleological arguments obtain the evidence of design from physics. It, therefore, tends to focus more on the adjustments in the universe, a fact that it requires some particular changes to support life.
One of the advantages of the modern arguments is that they are less susceptible to evolutionary attacks compared to Paleys argument. Although scholars refer to the teleological arguments as those from design, the opponents sometimes object to this line of reasoning. The critic, Antony Flew has repeatedly referred to this case like that to create though he objects to it being referred as an argument from design. If then the universe contains some absolute form of design, it means that there must have been an intelligent agent who created it. Although some objections have been put forth, referring to nature and evolution as the designers has some linguistic truth in it. The critics do not dispute the notion of design in the universe which implies that there is a designer but rather if the complexity and order of the world make up design.
The Moral Argument
This argument lays a claim for the Gods existence in which he is required to provide an ontological foundation that is coherent with the existence of the objective duties and moral values. With this, the moral arguments appeal to the existence of moral laws of as evidence for Gods existence. The argument holds that the issue of morality could not exist without God. One of the premises in which the argument bases its objective is that if God is non-existent then the moral values are also non-existent, and if the moral values and duties do exist, God also exists. Moral arguments, therefore, take either the existence of morality or certain specific features of morality to imply the existence of God. There are various forms of moral arguments.
The formal moral argument takes the authority and normativity of morality to encompass the notion that it contains a divine origin. Morality, in this case, is prescriptive and defines what should be done. Its authority is greater than that of any human institution meaning that it originates from a supernatural source. The perfectionist moral argument, on the other hand, suggests of denial of duty as the most plausible resolution of conflict. It gives credit when we fall short of our moral standards by arguing that the standards can be met by invoking God. The existence of God, therefore, should be able to bridge the gap that is between what can be accomplished by ourselves and that which is required from us by morality. The Kants moral argument considers ethical behavior to be rational, and that people have a good reason to behave morally. The only objection to this argument is that in cases where immoral behavior is more profitable than moral actions; the moral behavior becomes more rational compared to life and that justice can only be administered in the afterlife. The fundamental thought of morality as a rational enterprise constitutes some thought like that of the Christians view of the afterlife.
"The Moral Argument For God's Existence". 2016. 4Truth.Net. http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbgod.aspx?pageid=8589952712.
Alston, William P. "Teleological argument for the existence of God." The encyclopedia of philosophy 8 (1967): 84-88.
Copan, Paul. "The moral argument for Gods existence." (2013).
Hacking, Ian. "The logic of Pascal's wager." American Philosophical Quarterly 9, no. 2 (1972): 186-192.
Koons, Robert C. "A new look at the cosmological argument." American Philosophical Quarterly 34, no. 2 (1997): 193-211.
Meister, Chad V. Introducing Philosophy Of Religion. London: Routledge.(2009)
Plantinga, Alvin. "The Ontological Argument from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers." (1968).
Ratzsch, Del, and Jeffrey Koperski. "Teleological Arguments For God's Existence"(2005) Plato.Stanford.Edu. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleological-arguments/.
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