Does God exist?. Outline. Is there any point to debating God? Three classic arguments for the existence of God Miracles and other testimonial evidence Faith and reason Arguments against God’s existence: The problem of evil and the scale of the universe Conclusions. Defining the issue.
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Concept of God in western monotheism:
Does this being exist?
Aquinas doesn’t give any good argument why there can’t be infinite causal chains extending backwards in time.
........ → E → D → C → B → A → ........
After all, we seem to accept such chains for the future.
Planet Earth formed
If we’re okay with God having no cause, then why aren’t we okay with the universe having no cause? It may be a brute, necessary fact that the universe exists.
Planet Earth formed
In other words:
A: “Where did the universe come from? It couldn’t just come from nowhere. So God made it.”
B: “But where did God come from?”
A: “Well, God just is.”
B: “Okay, then, why can’t the universe just be?”
The argument does not get us close to the God of traditional religion.
William Paley (1743-1805)
Analogy is weak:
If the analogy was strong:
“Anything as complex as a human machine must be made by a human-like designer.”
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Whatever reasoning is used to criticize this argument applies equally well to the appeal to another (such as the appeal to the Bible).
Islam and Judaism:
Sai Baba has also:
It seems like there are two possibilities:
Which of these is more likely?
For a possible miracle, what is appliedmorelikely:
(1) someone made a mistake, lied, or there is an explanation; or
(2) it was a miracle.
As a miracle contradicts natural laws (supported by all experience), there will always be more support for (1) than (2).Hume’s argument against believing miracles
Hume also points out that
Is the testimony in the Koran weaker than the testimony in the New Testament? Or the Book of Mormon? Or the Bhagavad-Gita? They can’t all be correct. So many major bodies of religious testimony must be false.
Since we already reject lots of supposed miracles because their evidence is weak, we’re being inconsistent if we accept other, equally unproven testimony or miracles as true.
We are all atheists about most religions.
Alvin Plantinga defends something similar to faith. He argues that “God exists” is a basic belief. By ‘basic belief’, he means it’s a belief that it makes sense to accept as true, even though we can’t give more basic reasons to think it’s true. Other basic beliefs include “other people have minds”, “there is a physical world”, “the past is real”, “my memories are not entirely false”, etc.
“God has created us that we have a tendency or disposition to see his hand in the world around us. More precisely, there is in us a disposition to believe propositions of the sort ‘this flower was created by God’ or ‘this vast and intricate universe was created by God’ when we contemplate the flower or behold the starry heavens or think about the vast reaches of the universe.”
Outside of religion, belief with no good reason is usually foolish (or worse), since it could easily justify false belief.
And people who believe without any reason and refuse to listen to rational discussion are capable of believing and doing anything: sometimes this is quite dangerous.
Some Muslim thinks “I sincerely know my religion is true by faith.”
Some Christian thinks the same thing.
So at least one of them has a false belief due to faith.
So faith easily leads to false beliefs.
So faith isn’t a good reason to say a religious belief is true.