• 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. The verification principle offers no real challenge to religious belief. Discuss

    Eg, is a post box red?, can be verified by observing post boxes. By indirectly verifiable Ayer meant a statement that is not directly verifiable or analytic and 'in conjunction with certain other directly verifiable evidence could support it. For example, scientists demonstrated their existence of black holes in space,

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

    Brian Davies takes the position that the cosmological argument cannot stand alone as proof for the existence of God, and would have to be supported by other evidence. b.) To what extent do the weaknesses of this argument limit its effectiveness?

  1. Examine the major features of the Ontological argument for the existence of God.

    This reading of the argument is amply confirmed by the final statement: "Therefore, if that than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in the understanding alone, the very being than which nothing greater can be conceived is one than which a greater can be conceived.

  2. The Ontological Argument - Critique

    Anselm defines existing as greater than not existing, a premise which seems logical at first, however once we analyze the concept of existence, it can be seen that existence is not a true predicate of being - this was Kant's main criticism of the Ontological argument.

  1. Assess whether religious experience demonstrates the existence of God?

    David Hume and A.J. Ayer are well known empiricists. They would argue that unless something empirically verified it should not be deemed meaningful so if I was to see God that should be seen as meaningful as it is empirically verified. If I were to see a cat walking across a street I would

  2. The Goodness of God

    The main argument for the non-acceptance of a perfect God, or even any God at all is the existence of evil in the world. There are of course two types of evil; moral or human evil and natural evil. Epicurus raised the point "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

  1. Assess whether the cosmological argument proves the existence of God.

    The most abject criticism is how Aquinas is assuming that necessary beings exist, and that he does not in fact understand how necessity applies only to truths that if they were to be denied then it would result in

  2. Outline the Ontological Argument for the existence of God.

    Anselm argues that it is better to be a necessary being than a contingent being, a being that depends on other things for its existence i.e. having a cause/end because this would ultimately limit your power. He explains that God must be a necessary being because if God exists as

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