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“The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods existence”. Discuss. (17 marks).

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Introduction

"The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods existence". Discuss. (17 marks). Many people the ontological argument is a pointless and weak attempt at proving the existence of God. They argue it has to many problems and unanswered questions to be of any use to us today. However, some find it a very encouraging and up-building theory, which strengthens their belief that there is a God for us to worship, and share a loving relationship with. The question all of us are concerned with however, is 'can we use the ontological argument to prove Gods existence today?' To decide whether it will be of any use, we need to look at its problems and its strengths to see if we can logically come to the same conclusion Anselm and Descartes arrived at. Using an A priori argument, monk Gaunilo came up with the first reply to Anselm's theory. He said that we 'cannot define something into existence' using the metaphor of an island, which he said if it was perfect then this island had to exist. ...read more.

Middle

This is using an analytical argument to come to a conclusion after looking at the terms used. However one of the biggest problems he proposed is that we can't prove he actually exists using the theory formed by Descartes. He agreed that IF he did exist, just like the triangle needs three sides and angles, then God would exist perfectly. However this does not mean He does actually exist, we can never rid the above statement of its 'IF'. If we cannot get rid of the if then we are not proving anything. Vardy uses the example of a unicorn saying that if unicorns did exist then they would have to have horns but this does not mean they do actually exist. The second problem, and the one with the most destructive impact, was the idea that we cannot say that existence is a characteristic of perfection. The idea of perfection does not add anything to the nature of God, just like my previous comparison to �100. The fact that the perfect �100 is sitting in front of me, does not make it a more perfect �100 than one that wasn't. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the argument tries to prove that God exists, has necessary existence and is perfect as an objective proof to an atheist, which is what Descartes was trying to do, then it fails. However if it tries to strengthen the faith in God and His 'otherness' to an existing believer, which as Anselm said was the only reason he wrote the argument, then it completely succeeds. We can therefore conclude that it is wrong to say the ontological argument 'will never be of use' because to some people it helps them become closer to God and their religion as it proves to them that He does exist for them. Like most philosophical arguments, it depends on your beliefs as to whether the argument is successful, so if you already believe in the Christian perfect idea of God then this strengthens your belief in him. The argument does not however reach our initial goal to prove the existence of God to everyone and change the way our society behaves and lives, because without objective proof for everyone then many will still ponder on the vital question 'does God really exist?'. ...read more.

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