Proofs for the Existence of God



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Philosophy of Religion




Proofs for the Existence of God




  1. Reason

  2. Experience

  3. Psychic Phenomena

  4. Revelation



I.Reason





  1. a priori argument- prior to considering the existence of the physical universe


Ontological Argument-by examining the very nature or “being “ of God

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Form 1:

1.a. Anselm- the supreme being- that being greater than which none can be conceived (ggg)



the ggg must be conceived of as existing in reality and not just in the mind or else the ggg is not that being greater than which none can be conceived.



  1. Suppose (S) that the greatest conceivable being (GCB) exists in the mind alone and not in reality(gcb1).




  1. Then the greatest conceivable being would not be the greatest conceivable being because one could think of a being like (gcb1) but think of the gcb as existing in reality (gcb2) and not just in the mind.




  1. So, gcb1 would not be the GCB but gcb2 would be.

Thus to think of the GCB is to think of the gcb2, i.e. a being that exists in reality and not just in the mind.

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Form 2: God as Necessary Being
God must exist as the necessary being.


  1. God is either a necessary being or a contingent being.

  2. There is nothing contradictory about god being a necessary being

  3. So, it is possible that god exists as a necessary being.

  4. So if it is possible that God is a necessary being then God exists.

  5. Because God is not a contingent being.

Counter Arguments to Anselm:

A. Immanuel Kant: Existence is not a predicate

Counter to Kant:

Alvin Plantiga: Counter argument establishes the rational acceptability of theism.

B. The argument could prove the existence of that being more EVIL than which none can be conceived.




  1. a posteriori- after considering the existence of the physical universe


Cosmological Argument- from the existence and order of the universe
Aristotle – first mover

Aquinas_ first mover, first cause, sustainer, excellence, harmony




  1. there exists a series of events

  2. the series of events exists as caused and not as uncaused(necessary)

  3. there must exist the necessary being that is the cause of all contingent being

  4. there must exist the necessary being that is the cause of the whole series of beings

Rowe:
There is no sufficient reason to believe that there exists a self existent being



Teleological Argument- from the end or purpose exhibited by the universe


  1. The universe resembles human artifacts

  2. Human artifacts are the products of intelligent design(purpose)

  3. The universe is (probably) the product of intelligent design.

  4. The universe is vastly more complex and gigantic than a human artifact.

  5. There probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who designed the universe

David Hume:



  1. universe does not exhibit order

argument from parts to whole is not valid

  1. analogy fails because there are no other universes to compare this one to

  2. the argument does not prove the existence of only 1 such god

  3. the argument does not prove that the creator is infinite

Pecorino:



  1. the argument does not prove that the creator is good

  2. the argument does not prove that the creator is all intelligent

Richard Swinburne:

the teleological argument does prove that the existence of God is PROBABLE
What good are the proofs?
On PROOFS
Believers do not need them

Unbelievers will not heed them


Stephen Cahn:

  1. they are irrelevant to believers and non-believers

  2. morality can exist without a belief in or a proof of God’s existence

  3. they are of use to philosophers

S.T. Davis



  1. the proofs do not succeed

  2. Proofs are unpersuasive to skeptics

  3. Proofs are irrelevant to believers

  4. The “God” of the proofs is not the “God” of the faithful: it is a philosophical abstraction

  5. Proofs deny divine transcendence

The “god” of the proofs is a being similar to other beings

The “god” of the proofs is not the “Ground of Being”- P.Tillich



What good are the proofs?
Proofs are philosophically and religiously valuable.
Benefits (purposes) of a successful proof for God’s existence:

.Theists can make use of their rational faculties

.Belief in god is shown to be rational and justified intellectually

.They help to confirm faith in god


Proofs remain optional for theists!!!

Most believe due to experiences!!

Proofs for the Existence of God



II.Experience





  1. Direct

  1. Encounter with the supernatural

  2. Mystical experience- union with the deity/ supernatural

  1. Indirect- Miracles



III.Psychic Phenomena





  1. existence of the spirit or soul

  1. Apparitions

  2. Reincarnation memories

  3. Seances

  4. NDE –near death experiences

  5. Death Bed Observations

  1. existence of deity/ deities

Channeling

IV.Revelation

Sacred Texts-

Inspired by the deity/intermediary

Dictated by the deity/intermediary



Written by the deity/intermediary






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