Monday, March 26, 2012

Existence of God

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Existence of God

It seems clear that philosophy somehow is relevant to the important questions human beings deal eighth in their everyday lives. The existence of God is one of the basic questions in philosophy. The concept of god is ambiguous and differs from person to person and from society to society. Theists believe that God exists, atheists that he doesn’t, and agnostics that we don’t have a good reason to believe in one-way or the other (Slick). There are many arguments for the existence of God, but they all have objections to the premises offered. Some believers argue that if we cannot prove God really exists then we are entitled to believe that he does. On the other hand a theist could point out that if we cannot prove God does exist, we are entitled to believe he does not. There is no way we can prove the existence of God, but there are few arguments that give reasons why we should believe in God, but unfortunately they all have objections to them. Two arguments trying to prove the existence of god, and are not completely successful, are the teleological arguments, the cosmological arguments, and Pascal’s wager.

The teleological argument argues that there is an order in the universe, but order cannot exist without design for which this means that there must be a designer, God (Engel). According to Philosopher Paley he believes that just like a watch needs a watchmaker to build it, then everything else needs a designer. For example the eye cannot be put together by human engineering, which gives proof that there must be a Divine

Designer responsible for all of the design we observe in nature. Often the Teleological Argument is formulated as an induction

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1. In all things we have experienced that exhibit design, we have experienced a designer of that artifact.

. The universe exhibits order and design

. Given #1, the universe must have a designer

4. The designer of the universe is God (Guthrie).

An objection to this method of induction is that it is clearly defective, because its premises are so obviously false. There are a great many orderly things for which they have no designer or order. For example snowflakes, rainbows and crystals are some things that people have failed to find a designer or order. For this reason we aren’t entitled to conclude by induction that all order implies an orderer or designer so inductive reasoning cannot support the teleological argument.

Another teleological argument is the Fifth of Aquinas Five ways. This fifth way is taken from the way in which nature is governed. Aquinas tries to prove the existence of God by saying that things that lack knowledge tend to act towards an end/goal. Either these things act towards an end by chance or by design, but it is obvious that it is not by chance, so it is said that things that lack knowledge act towards an end by design. If a thing is being directed towards an end it requires direction by some being endowed with

intelligence, therefore some intelligent being exists whom directs all natural things towards their end. This being is known as God (Craig).

The most obvious objections are that the teleological arguments prove only that there is a designer and not a standard God. The designer may not be a standard God; it

could be just as well as the devil, many Gods, some other God, or perhaps a deceased God. But the teleological arguments don’t ever prove that much, because its second

premise (the universe exhibits order and design) is doubtful for the reason that the inductive reasoning failed.

Another objection to the teleological argument is the problem of evil. Atheists have good reasons in not believing that there is a powerful and perfect being, which is god. These reasons are that if there is a perfect god then why is their evil in this world. If there is evil then there might not be a god, or he might not be benevolent and powerful as they say.

The cosmological argument also tries to prove the existence of god, but also has some objections. Cosmological arguments try to account for the existence of the universe by postulating a creator. These persons who also believe in god find it incredible that the universe could have come into existence all by itself. For this reason they believe that an ultimate powerful being exists, which is god. An example of this cosmological argument is called the first cause argument, which states that there must be a first cause for

everything that exist or occurs. However it seems impossible to explain the existence of everything in terms of cause and effect, because that were mean there would have to be an infinite series of causes, which seems impossible.

One way these ideas have been used to argue for Gods existence is the following

1. In everyday life, we find that given things or events are caused by others.

. But an infinite series of such causes is impossible, because then there would be no first cause, and thus no second, third, and so on.

. There must be a first cause God (Slick)

One objection against this cosmological argument is that the second premise is not acceptable. Mathematicians in particular have argued for the possibility of an infinite series of events of causes on the technical grounds, and some philosophers have accepted their reasoning (Thompson). Even though this premise was acceptable the premise will still be invalid. The argument would prove only that there are one or more uncaused first causes, not that there are just one. It would also prove only that a first cause exists, not that the first cause is God. Just like in the teleological argument, this first cause might instead be the devil. And if it would prove that the first cause might be a god, it would not prove that it is our god.

We can challenge cosmological arguments for God’s existence in at least three important ways. First, we can challenge the idea that an infinite series of causes is not

possible. Second, we can question the validity of the conclusion that there is just one first cause and that the first cause is God. Third, we can point out that any god proposed to account for the existence of the universe is just as much in need of a cause as the universe

itself, so that the argument proves the existence of gods if it proves the existence of even one.

According to Pascal’s Wager, either god exists or god doesn’t exist and we must decide one or the other. He says that if we weigh the gains and losses and then wager that God exist, and he does, we gain a great deal; but if he doesn’t, we lose nothing. He argues that for this we then should wager that he exists, because we have a great deal to gain and nothing to lose. An objection to his argument is that he seems to be wrong in arguing that neutrality is the same as disbelief. Another one is that here are all sorts of possible creators, and he does not give us no way to decide which one to believe in, yet the reward may well come only if we believe in the one who actually exists. The last objection is that Pascal offered no proof or reason for believing that a wager on the right God will yield the benefits he claims.

In conclusion, most conceptions of God are vague. They really cannot prove the existence of him. We cannot prove either the theistic or atheistic position because belief in God, ultimately, comes down to matter of faith. The argument that we are entitled to believe God exists because there is no argument that he does not exist is a

defective argument. The fact that people in all societies believe in some god is not a good reason to believe in any god in particular.

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