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The Ontological Argument - Describe and explain the ontological argument for the existence of God.

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Philosophy. The Ontological Argument. 1) Describe and explain the ontological argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument is an a priori argument. The arguments attempt to prove Gods existence from the meaning of the word God. The ontological argument was introduced by Anselm of Canterbury in his book Proslogion. Anselms classical argument was based on two principals and the two most involved in this is St Anselm of Canterbury as previously mentioned and Rene Descartes. The ontological argument argues that if you understand what it means to talk about God, you will see His existence is necessarily true. Anselm defined God as 'that than which nothing greater can be conceived', hence God must exist. Anselm also believed that even atheist had a definition for God even just to disregard his existence; hence God exists in the mind. Anselm said this is so because that which exists in reality is greater than that which exists purely in the mind. In the words of Anselm, "Therefore, Lord, not only are You that than which nothing greater can be conceived but you are also something greater than can be conceived. ...read more.


Descartes and Anselm responded to these challenges. Anselm said that God was an exception to the rule. In his reply to Gaunilo he said "If any man shall devise anything existing in reality or in concept alone except that than which a greater cannot be conceived to which he can adapt the sequence of my reasoning, I will discover that thing, and will give him his lost island never to be lost again." Since only God has every and all perfections, the argument only applies to God. The Psalmist in Psalms 14:1 says that "The fool has said there is no God." Descartes and Anselm thought that this verse referred to one who says, "God does not exist," since only a fool would say that, because they would not know what it means to speak of God. This would be like someone saying that a triangle does not have three sides. That person just doesn't know what it means to speak of triangles. The concept of understanding God through the ontological argument is a tough idea to grasp, and the debates over it still continue today. This may not be the only (or best) ...read more.


Therefore the only thing this test proves is that God is not the God of some non-Christian religion. However, there is a test you can do which will give valid results. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21) This is the only valid direct test for the Christian God's existence. The Bible never defines God as infinite, but defines Him as existing beyond the limitations of our four dimensional universe. This does not mean that He is infinite. Some Christians have said that God is infinite, but this concept cannot be supported biblically. The only characteristic of God described as infinite is His knowledge or understanding. Therefore, the argument does not hold, since the God of Christianity is not described as infinite. It is for this reason the ontological argument can fail as a theistic proof however it is not an easy answer to the question as it holds both 'for' and 'against' reasoning for the theistic proof in the existence of God. ...read more.

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