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Can the Existence of God be proven?

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Introduction

Can the Existence of God be proven? There are many arguments that try to prove the existence of God. In this essay I will look at the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, empirical arguments such as the avoidance of error and the argument from design. There are many criticisms of each of these that would say the existence of God can't be proven that are perhaps stronger than those saying it can be. The definition of God for which is being argued is the Christian God who has the qualities of being perfect and who created the universe. The ontological argument follows that God id perfect and no greater being is imaginable. If God did not exist, he would not be the greatest being imaginable. He is the greatest thing imaginable. Therefore he does exist. From this argument, God's existence is viewed as necessary (Ayer. A.J. 1973). His existence is seen as simply another property of his being. Just like omnipotence and omnipresent are properties. One example that has been used to explain this is a triangle. A triangle has certain properties such as all of the angles add up to 180o and even if we have never thought about it before we clearly recognise these properties 'whether we want to or not' (Cottingham. J. 1986). A triangle's real meaning is independent of our mind just as God's existence is. ...read more.

Middle

Heat can only be produced by heat that is at least as hot as the heat produced. Descartes also argued that details of an idea even if just a representation such as a drawing of the Eiffel tower must be contained in its cause, whatever cause it turns out to be (Principle 1, 17. AT V11 11; CSM 1198, as cited in Cottingham. J. 1986). So therefore in a drawing of the Eiffel tower, the idea represents it being tall. The tallness really belongs to the Eiffel tower but is represented in the drawing. The argument concludes that the cause of our idea of God must have come from God himself because he is the only thing which posses the qualities of our idea of God. Therefore God exists (Cottingham. J. 1986). One criticism of this was argued by Gassendi. The argument argues that 'x' is caused by an efficient cause. Whereas Gassendi argues that it appears more to be explained by material causes. For example, the materials that are used to build a bridge must hold the same strength as the bridge itself which is obviously implausible (Cottingham. J. 1986). Another example is of a sponge cake. The main property of a sponge cake is sponginess. But none of the ingredients used to make the sponge cake contain such properties. Descartes may argue back at this saying that the ingredients or 'materials' have the potential once combined to create sponginess or strength. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas, if we 'bet' against his existence and he does exist then we would not receive this eternal happiness. But this argument seems to stand on very poor grounds. For one, you can not make yourself believe in something. And even if you did, it would be a forced belief that surely wouldn't constitute for eternal happiness. Secondly, one of God's properties is his ability to forgive. Therefore he should forgive those who don't believe, so betting on his existence purely out of fear would be forgiven so there is no need to 'force' yourself to believe. This argument is far from proving the existence of God, it argues more for the purpose of believing in him rather than whether he actually exists. In conclusion, all the arguments bar one that have been covered have been strongly criticised questioning their validity. Thomas Hobbes argued that we have no true idea of God and that we should not and cannot try to prove his existence because of this (AR V11 180; CSM 11 127, as cited in J. Cottingham, 1986). Belief is a question of faith. For those who believe in God do not feel it necessary to prove his existence as their faith is enough for them. To a person who's belief is so certain and so strong, God's existence cannot be denied even without proof. But on the other hand, God's existence can not be proved in terms of objective arguments and scientific facts. In answer to the question, God's existence cannot be proved, but neither can his non existence. ...read more.

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