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

Explain the main challenges to the arguments for the existence of God

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain the main challenges to the arguments for the existence of God (35) Society is becoming increasingly secular, and many view scientific proof with more regard than the traditional arguments for the existence of God. It has often been said that belief in God is, ?morally intolerable, intellectually superfluous and emotionally dispensable.? In examining challenges to the arguments for the existence of God, a good place to start is exploring the shortcomings of the teleological argument. The argument can be divided into two main sections that are closely interlinked: ?qua purpose? and ?qua reality.? Starting with qua purpose, this branch argues that everything in the universe was designed to fulfil a purpose. The other form, qua reality, suggests there is evidence for a creator in the regularity of the universe. Hume worked on his critique of the teleological argument for some 25 years, culminating in his book, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. ...read more.


Some scholars have argued that Aquinas' arguments rest on assumptions that are no longer widely held, such as a hierarchy of causes. Additionally, if nothing can cause itself how can God be seen as an uncaused causer? Both Hume and Kant criticised the Cosmological Argument. Hume maintained that we have no experience of universes being made and it is simply not possible to argue from causes within the universe to causes of the universe as a whole. There is a logical jump which the argument fails to recognise. It is one thing to talk about causes that operate within the system of the universe, but it is an entirely different matter to speculate about whether the system as a whole is caused. Kant rejected the argument outright not only because he maintained that the idea of a ?Necessary Being? was incoherent but also because our knowledge is limited to the phenomenal world of space and time and it is not possible to speculate about what may or may not exist independently of space and time. ...read more.


Therefore he argues that we can understand a concept, but never truly ?know? the object. Therefore even though humans understand the concept of God, it does not mean they can ever claim to know that he exists. Russel and Hume built on these criticisms to claim that existence does not necessarily add anything to an object. For example, an imaginary hundred dollars consists of the same amount of dollars as a real hundred dollars. Ultimately, a belief in God will always be fundamentally routed in faith rather than philosophy. The arguments critiqued here are inductive, meaning they were intended by the arguer merely to establish or increase the probability of its conclusion (God exists). This is because both Aquinas and Anselm were writing primarily to justify the faith of those that are already theists and did not intent their arguments to convince atheists into conversion. ...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. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    The separation, therefore, of the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence, is plainly possible for the imagination; and consequently the actual separation of these objects is so far possible, that it implies no contradiction

  2. What are Mill’s four main arguments in defence of freedom of speech?

    Mill held that without analysing the reasons for and objections to a view, that view was a prejudice rather than a philosophically acceptable opinion. A recent example of this is the case of historian David Irvine.

  1. Proof and Probability in Arguing for God's Existence.

    We do not have any parallel general licence for inductive reasoning. Inductive inference relies on evidence and evidence is good only if it connects with our experience (whereas deductive arguments are invulnerable to experience so far as their validity is concerned).

  2. Outline the teleological proof of the existence of God

    The problem Johnson had with Darwin's evolution theory was that some single celled organisms are just too complex to say that they were just a product of pure chance. Behe develops this idea by using an example of a bacterium's biological motor.

  1. Introduction to Philosophy.

    The soul fights to remember what it knew previously but it is discouraged by the body. So knowledge helps the soul. > The world of Appearances : --> An image -->A reflection of the World of Forms/Ideas . > World of Forms/Ideas --> the world were souls are and then they come to our world in the body .

  2. The Metamorphosis: Existence.

    This cut out is a reminder of all the aspects in his life that he is secluded from and this is a confirmation of his segregation. Gregor refuses to develop intimate relationships and therefore, he has this picture to replace his missing reality.

  1. Compare and contrast arguments for and against belief in life after death.

    For example the use of alcohol and drugs affects cognitions and changes personality.4 We can argue against this by distinguishing between the mind - a non-physical entity, and the brain - a physical entity by which the mind operates. Modern science has shown links between the mind and the brain.

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

    If this is right, then Aquinas? argument is undermined as he is wrong to claim that a first cause started the chain and the cosmological argument fails. Aquinas presents a further version of the cosmological argument; the argument from contingency.

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