• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"An analysis of arguments for the existence of God will result in valid philosophical reasons to believe in God." Discuss and evaluate this claim with reference to both the argument from religious experience and the Ontological argument.

Extracts from this document...


"An analysis of arguments for the existence of God will result in valid philosophical reasons to believe in God" Discuss and evaluate this claim with reference to both the argument from religious experience and the Ontological argument This question chiefly brings very important issues surrounding the basis for forming a belief in God, and whether that can purely be on philosophical grounds. For instance, if somebody were to become convinced that the rationality of the religious experience and Ontological arguments were sound would belief in God follow? Or, is it simply that an analysis of these arguments shows that they are fallacious? Firstly, when analysing Anselm's Ontological argument it can, too many, seem remarkably unconvincing, if not frustrating; it appears to be more like a riddle of words than a rational proof for a given proposition. As Bertrand Russell writes 'it is easier to feel convinced that [the ontological argument] must be fallacious than it is to find out precisely where the fallacy lies'. Even Plantinga, one of the main proponents of the argument, doubts its influence, writing that 'Few people, I should think, have been brought to belief in God by means of this argument.' ...read more.


However, although Platinga doubts the influence of the argument, he believes that it 'establishes, not the truth of theism, but its rational acceptability.' In other words, it establishes, for someone who already believes, a rational basis for doing. Particularly, to a believer, religious experience, or testimony of a religious experience, strengthens belief. However, Richard Swinburne goes further and argues that religious experience constitutes evidence for the existence of God; his principle of credulity and testimony arguing that we are justified in accepting that a religious experience occurred and the accounts of others unless evidence is revealed for the contrary. Yet, as Peter Vardy writes, to the unbeliever 'claims to religious experience are as incredulous as claims to have seen the Loch Ness monster or to have seen UFOs.' Therefore, as somebody would be sceptical about claims about the Loch Ness or UFOs, so too will someone with a disposition that God does not exist, seek out other natural explanations. As Richard Dawkins writes 'If you've had such an experience, you may find yourself believing firmly that it was real. But don't expect the rest of us to take your word for it.' ...read more.


Paul even makes it clear in the New Testament that God cannot be known through our own wisdom, writing that in 1 Corinthians 1:20 'For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him.' Paul even makes clear that we shouldn't in 1 Corinthians 2:4 'My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.' Furthermore, with such a tiding change of arguments, I would reject complete Evidentialism (a position that someone is not justified unless there is sufficient evidence.) Belief should be defended against objection but it cannot be founded on external evidence alone. Reformed epistemologists contend that there are many justified beliefs that one must accept without sufficient evidence or argument. For instance, upon seeing a tree, someone simply believes they are seeing a tree. Such beliefs, among which they put God, are argued to be 'properly basic' and need no argument to substantiate them - by properly basic they mean that they do not depend for their justification on other beliefs, but on something outside the realm of belief. ?? ?? ?? ?? Isaac Simmonds/1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Analyze the distinctive features of the Ontological Argument

    If he did not always exist it would mean that he had been created and therefore there was someone more powerful than him and that being would be God. Hence he argued that God's existence is either impossible or necessary.

  2. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    The conclusion is compatible with many views of God. So, even if it is successful, the cosmological argument hardly constitutes more than an entering wedge into the knowledge of God. If someone accepts the conclusion, the proper attitude for him to adopt is surely a desire to learn more about God.

  1. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    That is to say, for every perfect horse, or perfect apple, who is to decided which is greater, the perfect horse of the perfect apple? Thus, Anselm's argument remains; it can only apply to that than which no greater can be conceived, not to objects who may or may not be perfect within their own realms.

  2. Ontological Argument - Edexcel A2

    However, Descartes has already dealt with Kant's objection; Descartes said that God, by the definition of a perfect and necessary being, must exist. If Kant was objecting over a contingent being, then his objection would stand. Kant's final condemnation is that the ontological argument is a tautology; proving only to the extent that it has already assumed.

  1. Conscience is the voice of God - discuss

    The American philosopher Henry Wolff has written in a similar vein, saying that a man should "make himself the author of his decisions", and to resist the state who try to lay authority over him. Both Thoreau and Wolff resolve the conflict between individual conscience and society in favour of the individual.

  2. Evaluate the claim that corporate religious experience is no more than an illusion

    and it could therefore be argued that this is not caused by God?s Holy Spirit since He wouldn?t want to cause harm to one of his worshippers. Another reason that it might be argued that the Toronto Blessing is the work of the Devil is that we must

  1. Does Religious Experience offer a convincing argument for God

    are the recipients of the experience rather than the instigators of it, thus convincing them that the experience comes from God. There have been examples of this, such as Debbie Santiango whose experience changed her life forever. Relating back to the question, surely if a religious experience includes these four

  2. Philosophers have proved conclusively that religious language is meaningful. Discuss

    The theory developed by the logical positivists is known as the verification principle. It states that we know the meaning of a statement if we know the conditions under which the statement is either true or false. If it isn?t possible to know how to prove the statement true or

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work