Existence of God the Philosophical Essay

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It may be argued that if an all-good God designed the world, he surely would not have allowed evil. The problem of evil is generally regarded as the most important argument against theism. (Mavrodes, 1995)

The argument from morality, like the cosmological argument, is really a family of arguments (Hick, 26-27). First, there is the argument from the existence of objective moral laws to a divine lawgiver. Second, there is the argument from the existence of objective moral laws to a transcendental Ground of Values. Third, there is the argument from the fact of human conscience to a divine "voice of conscience." Finally, there is the argument from the acceptance of moral obligation to the postulation of a transcendental Ground of Values. Religion and morality have been closely connected throughout history. The variety of arguments from morality testified to the close connection.

The argument from religious experience is likewise a family of arguments. There are two main families -- the arguments from private experiences and the arguments from special events or miracles. For those who claim to have had these experiences, the experiences are self-validating. No further proof of God is needed. However, the arguments presented are not for the benefits of those who have had religious experiences, but for those who have not. They are like appeals to eyewitness reports.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on Existence of God the Philosophical Assignment

We have seen that the five historically most important arguments are the ontological, the cosmological, the teleological, the argument from morality, and the argument from religious experiences. We have already noted that Copleston chose not to use the ontological or teleological arguments for good reasons, given that the debate format in practice required a choice in the first place. The decision to present three of the five historically most important arguments cannot be faulted. We should note that of the three arguments presented by Copleston, the cosmological is decidedly deductive in nature and the argument from experience is inductive. (Reese, 1980) the argument from religious experience is more difficult to classify. Debate limitations prevented the full development of Copleston's argument. Moreover, the thrust of the argument does not seem to be an appeal to the probability of God as the ground of value. In general, the argument seems to be an appeal to the reasonableness of the proposition that God is ground of value.

My own conclusions and the arguments I used to reach them

I support the Cosmological Argument. Cosmological Argument is that nothing comes from nothing; therefore, the universe must have come from something else, a "First Cause," and this first cause is alleged to be God. It is objected, however, that if nothing comes nothing, how is it possible for there to be a first Cause? An integral part of the Cosmological Argument's counter to objections is that the First Cause is a self-caused agent; that is, every thing requires a cause outside itself, except this First Cause. This and this alone is self-caused. According to the Thomas Aquinas, though the world is in constant change, there must be a First Cause that remains unchanged (Rowe, 20). While the first premise may or may not be objectionable, the second premise which claims the process cannot go to infinity is certainly questionable. Aquinas appears to guard against this with his third premise that things moved are "instruments." However, by labeling things moved as "instruments," Aquinas has arbitrarily defined concepts to meet his own needs, falsely dichotomizing them from something else he also needs, a First Mover. This First Mover must be a thing that is not an instrument.

The modern version of Cosmological Argument claims a self-existent being exists and this being is God. The modern argument utilizes two concepts: a dependent being and a self-existent being. A dependent being is one whose existence is dependent on the causal activity of other things. A self-existent being is a being whose existence is explained by it own nature (Rowe, 21); that is, not dependent on the causal activity of other things. Essentially, this version merely substitutes slightly different conceptual terms for the traditional argument's conceptual terms. In lieu of "instruments" or "things moved" and an immovable "First Mover," this version proffers "dependent beings" and a "self-existent" being. The modern version generally takes the following form:

1. Every being that exists or ever did exist is either a dependent being or a self-existent being.

2. Not every being can be a dependent being

3. Therefore, there exists a self-existent being (21).

Proponents of this argument claim it is augmented by the Principle of Sufficient Reason; however, this claim is drawn into immediate difficulty by its dubious premises. Regarding the first premise, there is no explanation as to how it is possible for a non-dependent being to exist. The second premise presupposes the first, and does not explain why it would be impossible for an infinite series of dependent being to exist, which would nullify the premise that not every being can be a dependent being.

Why my position is more persuasive than opposing views

There are several arguments that can be brought against advocates of the Naturalistic Bias. First, attackers of theistic explanations of religious experiences seem to rest content with vaguely asserting that the experiences can be interpreted in naturalistic terms "in principles." However, this is not enough. They must further show that their interpretations are true in specific cases, and this does not seems to be easy, for there seem to be many, mutually exclusive theories about the matter. None seems to have risen to the level of universal scientific acceptance.

Second, there is the problem that one has with any empirical generalization. How can one prove that all cases of a kind of phenomena conform to a theory? One seldom is able to examine all cases under controlled conditions. One seldom has access to all cases -- all those that have ever been and are now. The difficulty of this problem seems to be increased by the diversity of religious experiences.

Third, there is the matter of the private nature of religious experiences. Russell himself observed this in the debate, but with the implication that the private nature of such experiences makes it difficult for the theist to make his or her case. As Russell noted, public agreement on anything usually takes place within the context of mutually shared experiences. Russell's implication cuts both ways. In is also difficult to say of a private experience that it conforms to some particular naturalistic theory.

The concept of moral standards and moral obligation are intimately related. However one may regard the precise relationship, it ultimately makes no sense to talk about moral standards without moral obligation, and vice-versa. If one recognizes a moral standard, one recognizes an obligation to act in accordance with it.

To our review of the argument from religious experience, it has been noted that neither the theist nor the agnostic can establish the truth of his or her claims. Thus, they both settle for arguing their position is the preferred one. The situation seems to be much the same for the objectivist and the subjectivist in moral matters. Neither can really prove the truth of his or her claims and the question is which position is preferred.

References

Aquinas, Thomas. Aquinas's Shorter Summa. Trans. Cyril Vollert. Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2001

Edwards, Paul and Artbur Pap. A Modern Introduction to Philosophy: Readings from Classical and Contemporary Sources. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1959.

Jordan, Mark D. Religion, History of the Philosophy. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. 1995. ed

Hick, John. Arguments for the Existence of God. New York: Herder and Herder, 1971.

Mavrodes, George I. God, Arguments Against the Existence of." The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. 1995 ed.

Reese, William L. Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. 1980.

Rowe, William. The Cosmological Argument. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1975.

Russell, Bertrand and Father F.C. Copleston. The Existence of God -- A Debate. Williamson, Decisions 209-225

Smart, J.C.C. The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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