Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that there were three types of argument for God’s existence: cosmological, ontological and teleological. Often today those taking a course in religious studies will be presented a cosmological argument, an ontological argument and a teleological argument as those were the arguments for God – just these three.

But it’s not true. Firstly, there are numerous subsets within these three categories. For example, there is the kalam cosmological argument and there is the Leibnizian cosmological argument. But secondly, and more importantly, there are numerous arguments that don’t fit in these categories. And this should not surprise us. If God exists then he is the basis of all reality, the most fundamental thing there is, so the evidence for God is everything – all of reality.

There are complex philosophical arguments from set theory and from concepts (do concepts that no-one has thought of exist?). There are arguments from our mental capacity, such as consciousness and intentionality (how do you explain the mind without denying it is real?) . There are arguments from the consistency of the universe (isn’t it a strange coincidence that universe obeys the laws of logic?). There are arguments against universal scepticism (how do you know that your thoughts are, in any way, related to reality?). There are arguments from the intelligibility and discoverability of the universe (isn’t it useful that the present is like the past?). There are arguments from the transcendent nature of human experience (is music, art, beauty, just about attracting a mate?). There are arguments from our transcendent desire (why do we long for something more?) and arguments from the search of meaning (are our lives just a cosmic fluke?). There are arguments from providence (seeing God at work in your life) and arguments from miracles (some things just seem to require a God). And there are probably many more.

Now the point is not to just throw arguments at you till you’re too weary to object any more. Every argument needs to be judged on its own merits. Sometimes people make bad arguments for the existence of God, or present them in a bad way. There would be no point just stacking up bad arguments. But there are also numerous good arguments and sometimes all it takes is one to change someone’s perspective.

The real point of this essay is that thinking about the existence of God is thinking about reality itself. And the question is, does reality seem ordered, meaningful, purposeful, filled with depth and richness? Or does reality seem chaotic, meaningless, pointless, just an unhappy result of blind chance? If, on balance, you think the first option is more like reality as you experience then you have good reason for thinking there is a God.

And having come to the realisation that there probably is a God then you’re ready to start exploring what that means for you.

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Preceding articles:

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

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  • A Cogent Case for the Existence of God. (yandyleyva.wordpress.com)
    While the Kalam argument does not explicitly argue for the existence of God, it does argue for a first cause to the universe. The argument is made complete when one analyzes the required characteristics of this first cause, but first the premises of the argument have to be engaged.
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    Craig’s gloss highlights that God does not fit as a being who began to exist because he finds his existence logically-prior to time. He is basically saying the we can easily conceive of a timeless being who comes to exist in time, but it is the uncaused cause of time. There is no reason to believe that if x began to exist in time than x must begin to exist as such.
  • Proof And Evidence For God Does Not Exist (honoringreason.wordpress.com)
    Axiological Argument
    God cannot explain away god. There is no evidence.
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    Experiential Argument
    There is no experiment that justifies god you will have to elaborate.
  • Edward Harrison: “Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God” (lifeondoverbeach.wordpress.com)
    “Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one…. Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”
  • Book Review: Palmer’s The Atheist’s Primer (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
    The Atheist’s Creed (2010), is to bring out “important philosophical arguments to the force, and to provide a selective overview of the extraordinary richness of the atheistic literature, which extends from the time of the Greeks down to our own day.”(p.11)
  • Why the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails, and why it doesn’t matter anyway (freethinkingjew.com)
    essentially the argument amounts to “Everything that begins to exist, including the universe, has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause.”

    The fact is, however, that we do not know that everything that begins to exist has a cause, because we’ve never seen a universe come into existence.  Therefore we have no track record, no basis for assuming that whenever a universe comes into existence (if, in fact, the universe ever did come into existence and wasn’t always there) that it always has a cause.  And so the assumption in Premise 1 that everything (including the universe) that comes into existence has a cause may or may not be true.  Since we don’t know whether Premise 1 is true, we don’t know whether the conclusion is true either.

  • Does God Exist? Debate Summary of William Lane Craig vs. Klemens Kappel (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
    Kappel admitted that it is not easy to come up with evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist. People don’t believe God exist because of the same reason they don’t believe Thor (Danish god) exist. The reason some believe in God is because they are born in environment that believes in God.(Comment: Genetic Fallacy)

    Kappel’s reasons for not believing in God is that we ought to treat God Hypothesis as an alternative hypothesis to much of what we take for ourselves to know from science and common sense about the would.

  • 5 Types of Apologetics (whybelievethat.wordpress.com)
    There are 5 main types of apologetics, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. No one method is more correct than another, but most people are drawn to a particular style based on the interests God has given them.
  • Aquinas’ Quinque viæ: Regarding the existence of God (thehouseofhorus.com)
    An infinite regress is a series of propositions that require an answer for the previous ones actions. In example: A1 exists because of A2. A2 exists because of A3. A3 exists because of A4 etc. This becomes an infinite loop.
  • Douglas Groothuis’ 752-page Christian apologetics book is now under $22 (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Groothuis engages very difficult scientific and philosophical concepts and communicates them in a way that even the beginner will be able to grasp. Though there are many different versions of the cosmological argument, the chapter hones in on the kalam cosmological argument as put forth by William Lane Craig. The kalam argument is superior to other cosmological arguments in that it supposedly secures the theistic doctrine of ex nihilo if the arguments proves successful (note: a minor quibble of this chapter is that Groothuis purports that the Thomistic cosmological argument does not endorse ex nihilo. I believe this to be false). This specific chapter was sensational – however I was left disappointed that no time was given to addressing the cosmological argument posited by Aquinas. In some respects, the Thomistic cosmological argument is the simplest form for people new to apologetics. The Thomistic version does not get into the technical issues of the metaphysics of time and Big Bang cosmology that the kalam version uses, nor does it require knowledge of the principle of sufficient reason that the Leibnizian version necessitates. While the kalam and Leibnizian versions are logical and sound arguments, they may confusing to people new to apologetics.
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5 thoughts on “Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

  1. Pingback: To find ways of Godly understanding | From guestwriters

  2. Pingback: Pascal’s Possibility | Stepping Toes

  3. Pingback: Scientific Evidence for God | Stepping Toes

  4. Pingback: Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #4 – Questiontime – Vragenuurtje

  5. Pingback: 4th Question: Who or What is God – Questiontime – Vragenuurtje

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