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"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.

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Introduction

"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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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