Sample Argumentative Essay On Arguments In Support Of The Existence Of God
The foundation of every religion is the belief, which as a religious experience, underlying in its basis, can not be theorized. The arguments pro and con the existence of God were proposed by the philosophers, theologians and scientists for thousands of years. Each view had the right to exist and to be justified, this was proof that ‘all are equal before God.’ Currently, in the philosophical terminology, these issues are addressed in the framework of the epistemology - the theory of knowledge, and ontology - the nature of being (Hick, 1964).
In the world's religions and philosophical systems, God is the Supreme Being, creating the world, providing the things, beings, and persons with their existence, extent, purpose and the law. The idea of God gradually crystallized in different religious traditions of humanity. The religious teachings, integrated by the principles of theism, affirm the personal existence of this Being, his personal attitude, namely, the love to the created beings, his dialogic self-revelation in acts of Revelation (Plantinga, 1990).
The proofs of the existence of God are a set of arguments in theology and religious philosophy, which is used for the rational explanation of the existence of God and for the resulting need for the religious faith. There are a lot of such arguments, but it is important to talk about three the most common of them (Hick, 1964).
The first proof is cosmological. The cosmological proof of the existence of God, one of the most ancient and found in Scripture in the simple visual form, often points on the creation as the obvious evidence of the existence of the Creator of the world (Dawkins, 2007).
The first versions were formulated by Plato and Aristotle. According to this evidence, every movement and every beginning of the world have their own external cause. Therefore, there must be a first cause or prime mover, which can only be God. Leibniz and Wolff justified the existence of God by the need of the existence of the unconditional essence, ‘cause of all being,’ not reducible to a finite reasons (Plantinga, 1990).
Cosmological argument is usually based on two logical laws: the law of causality and the law of sufficient reason. The first requires the recognition of the underlying causes of the world, and the second says that nothing but the highest reason can be considered as the sufficient basis for its cause in the world.
At the same time, everything in the world has a cause of its existence outside itself. Therefore, the whole world is not original and must have a cause of its existence, and this cause must be out of this world. This cause can only be the highest Being – God (Plantinga, 1990).
This evidence has been the subject of criticism by Kant and many other philosophers. The main objection to this argument was boiled down to the fact that we have no reason to look for the cause of world events in another, supersensible world, maybe the law of causality is valid only in the world of phenomena. Then, according to Kant, there is also the sufficient reason to deny the possibility of identity of the phenomenal world.
The second proof is ontological. The prerequisites for this proof were laid by Greek philosopher Parmenides, who lived in the VI century BC. According to him, being exists, non-existence does not. It is impossible to conceive something that does not have its foundation in being. Another great Greek philosopher Plato also had contributed to the emergence of evidence: Plato believed that our souls languishing in the dungeons of terrestrial bodies by thoughts recall about the perfect being (Plantinga, 1990).
Ontological proof was finally formulated by Anselm of Canterbury, who was trying to rationalize the Christian doctrines. It is called as the internal evidence, as it is taken from our internal experience. The value of internal evidence is very large, as there would be no momentum for a thorough evidence of God at all without the idea of God and inner conviction of its reality (Dawkins, 2007).
The ontological argument can be formulated as follows: from the fact that in the spirit of human beings it is the idea of a being, which connects with the fullness of perfection and real existence, it necessarily follows out that the creature must exist not only in the mind, but also in reality. Critics, especially Kant considered ineligible by thinking about God to enter into His existence. ‘To conclude in such way – according to Kant – is not right, because we can have and have dreamy performances, which do not correspond to the actual existence of objects.’
The third proof is teleological. It is one of the most popular because of its simplicity and credibility. It has been known since the Ancient times. The religious and philosophical thought of almost all ages and all nations of the earth know this proof (Plantinga, 1990).
This evidence was developed in the ideas of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, Diderot, Vernadsky and many other philosophers. The essence of the teleological proof is reduced to the following theses: everything in the world has its feasibility. In nature, nothing is senseless: every animate and inanimate object is moving in its existence to some of its objectives and has its purpose in this world (Hick, 1964).
Moreover, the parts have the same purpose in their entire facilities, whether the chemical elements or internal organs. They have the same goal and are harmoniously interconnected with other parts of the integer. If everyone in the world serves to some purpose, then, accordingly, we must recognize that there is One who laid the meaning and purpose of each individual object in particular and the world in general. The French philosopher of the XVIII century Denny Diderot, talking about this issue, wrote the following words: ‘It is enough to look at the eyes or wing of sparrow to reject the arguments of an atheist’(Swinburne, 1996).
After studying in detail the presented above arguments for the existence of God, it can be concluded the followings. Each of the arguments, as well as the critics of them has the right to exist. I believe that it is impossible to consider any argument or criticism to be true or such that fully proves or disproves the existence of God. In my opinion, the main argument and criticism of the existence of God should be the faith. Faith, in contrast to the knowledge, can not be criticized, and it did not need any arguments. Thus, any criticism can not stand in front of the unshakable faith, and vice versa, a faith that is questioned will not resist any criticism (Dawkins, 2007).
Logical Problem of Evil
In theory, the problem of evil particularly affects those who claim that God exists, that He created the world, and that He is loving and just. Can Christians adhere to this concept of God and at the same time to recognize the reality of evil? Or does the existence of evil talk against the existence of God in His understanding, which allows to admit the Bible's teaching about God? (Dawkins, 2007).
At first glance, it seems that if God created everything, then somehow he must be responsible for evil. And if God is responsible for evil, he becomes angry God, and this contradicts the very definition of God. If, on the other hand, he is not responsible for evil, suffering and sin, then who is? If God has no power to stop the evil, suffering and sin, then God is not omnipotent, and there is someone or something greater than God. The answer to these questions is not an easy task (Davis, 2001). At the same time it is clear that the Bible does not ignore the problem of evil and, moreover, in the teachings of the Bible the existence of evil in no way runs counter to the idea that there is all-good and all-powerful God. From the solution of this ancient problem it arose theodicy – the justification of God for the evil in the world (Devenish, 1992).
One embodiment of the logical formulation of theodicy can be formulated as follows: at first glance, there is an inherent logical contradiction in the joint adoption of the following four assumptions:
1. God exists.
2. God is all-good.
3. God is all-powerful.
4. Evil exists.
If we admit any three of them, it is likely needed to drop the fourth. If God exists, wants the universal good and is powerful enough to achieve anything He wishes, then evil should not exist. If God exists and wants only good, but evil exists, then God does not achieve everything He wishes. Then He is not omnipotent. If God exists and is almighty and evil also exists, God desires the existence of evil. So he is not all-good. Finally, if ‘God’ is a creature that is all-good and all-powerful, and, nevertheless evil exists, so God does not exist (Davis, 2001).
Five possible solutions of the so logically formulated theodicy:
1. Atheism - denial of the first assumption (i.e., ‘God exists’).
2. Pantheism - denial of the second assumption (i.e., ‘God is good’).
3. The ancient polytheism and modern deism both deny the third assumption (i.e., ‘God is omnipotent’). Ancient polytheism limited the power of God by splitting God in many small gods – good and evil gods.
4. Idealism - the denial of the real evil. It manifests itself in different forms (Hinduism, the so-called ‘Christian Science’ of Baker Eddy, a number of teaching of a new era), and they all claim that evil is an illusion unenlightened human consciousness.
5. Finally, the biblical theism (orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam) recognizes all four parcels and denies the existence of logical contradictions between them. This can occur if and only if they have mixed or vaguely defined terms (Davis, 2001).
In my opinion, the most logical solution of the theodicy is to abandon from one of the four attributes of God. Thus, some imperfection of God allows evil to enter our world. However, everyone must decide for himself the kind of argument, which should be thrown back.
Davis, Stephen T. Encountering evil : live options in theodicy. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. Print.
Dawkins, Richard. The God delusion. London: Black Swan, 2007. Print.
Devenish, Philip E. Theodicy and Cosmodicy: The Contribution of Neoclassical Theism. Journal of Empirical Theology 4, 1992. Print.
Hick, John. The Existence of God: Readings, in The Problems of Philosophy Series. New York: Macmillan Co, 1964. Print.
Plantinga, Alvin. God and other minds : a study of the rational justification of belief in God. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell Univ. Press, 1990. Print.
Swinburne, Richard. Is there a God. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.
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