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

Critically Assess the Claim that the Idea of God is Innate

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

?Critically Assess the Claim that the Idea of God is Innate? The claim that the idea of God is innate is the idea that we are born knowing about God a priori. To claim that we are born with the idea of God, doesn?t necessarily need to mean that from birth, we are always aware of God?s existence, but rather it lies dormant within our mind, ready to be triggered by some form of stimuli. Hence, although we have discovered the concept of God through our parents or spiritual leaders, it is not the origin of the idea; rather it is the activation of the idea. Father of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes was a very influential person in trying to formally prove that the idea of God is innate. One of the main arguments he uses to do this, is his ?Trademark Argument. The ultimate purpose of the Trademark Argument put forward by Descartes is to attempt to show that he can only have the idea of God in his mind, if there was originally a God to put that idea in his mind. For example, in the same way how the trademark on a piece of clothing tells us the maker; Descartes states that the idea of God within his mind reveals its maker, God. ...read more.

Middle

This is the theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world might ultimately cause a hurricane in another part of the world. Therefore the cause is not adequate to the effect, and disproves the casual principle. Hence, it essentially disproves Descartes trademark argument, because the idea of God doesn?t necessarily have to come from an equally supreme being. Philosopher David Hume stated that we cannot determine the cause of anything simply by examining the effect. By saying this, Hume is effectively arguing against Descartes? causal principle. Hume says that just by seeing the window breaking, he can?t infer what must have caused it to break. In the example of the shattering window, it was stated that we know that something large, with enough force, must have been caused the window to shatter, but how can we know this? Hume claims that we can?t know this through a priori reasoning, but rather through recollection of a past experience of glass shattering. We have learned from experience, which sort of objects can cause the window to shatter. If we came across a shattering window for the first time, we wouldn?t know what caused it to occur. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus we get the idea of God as an infinite being, innately. In conclusion, although Descartes had a fairly strong argument with the trademark argument, there were a few problems with it. If God was the cause of the concept of God in our minds, or the ?trademark?, then surely each and every person would have the same ?trademark?. Yet, everyone has a different concept of God, or different ?trademarks?. Furthermore, Descartes causal principle, which states that the cause of something must be as great as or superior to the effect, also faces some problems. One of the main problems to Descartes causal principle is that there are in fact effects that can be much greater than the cause, for example, a single match causing a whole bonfire. Philosophers like Hume have shown that you cannot work out the cause of something, by simply examining the effect. This is true because, for example, if you have never seen a window break before, then we can?t know through a priori reasoning alone that we need a large object with enough force. We can only know through experience. In the same way, we need to experience God coming into existence to actually know that he is the cause of our idea of God. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. "Religious experience is all in the mind of the believer" -Examine and comment on ...

    He also noted that it is possible that the experiences that he recorded could have been induced through the influence of drugs or alcohol. Referring back to the question, is religious experience all in the mind of the believer, William James argues that religious experiences cannot simply be discounted - no more then everyday ones can be.

  2. "Discuss critically religious and secular ethical arguments about environmental issues"

    One of the most influential passages with concern to the environment is found in Genesis 1:28 - "And God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

  1. Arguments about god.

    So as not to anger God again we inaugurate rules so it never happens again. This argument is called the moral argument. Question 8 - How is it we recognise the value of love e.g. from parents, friends etc We often interrogate our understanding of love and how we can recognize it.

  2. 'An analysis of arguments for the existence of God will result in valid philosophical ...

    However, I do not agree with either of these presentations of the argument. There have been many critics of the Ontological Argument since it began, the primary being Immanuel Kant, who claimed a move from definition to reality is a false manoeuvre because the only way of knowing anything about the universe is through empirical data.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    The first criticism is that morality can be explained without the existence of God. Some philosophers argue that morality is a man made tool which helps us to meet the demands of our society. Against Newman, the conscience can be seen as a product of the brain activated by the demands of living within close proximity of others.

  2. T H E D E S I G N A R ...

    The fact that a machine needs a designer is part of our experience of being in the world, but we have no experience of making worlds, 'Have worlds ever been formed under your eye?' Hume is here attacking the inductive logic once more.

  1. Explain the Christian idea of God. How is this idea of God reflected in ...

    " He is before all things, and by him all things consist (hold together)." (Col. 1:17) "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he them." (Gen.1) From the final quote above you can see that God created humans in his image.

  2. Preliminary Interpretation of Descartes Meditations

    However it is these same senses that have often led him to be mistaken, Descartes then goes on to say "it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once" meaning if the senses have fooled us once then could it not be the case that they are always deceiving us?

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