Philosophy - Existence of God Many Philosophers Research Proposal

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Philosophy - Existence of God

Many philosophers over the centuries have addressed the question of the existence of God, with particular focus upon the Christian God. Indeed, some have even suggested the demise of God, even while churches continue to flourish. This issue has in fact taken a prominent position in philosophical argument as early as Plato's time. Today, with religious diversity increasingly tolerated and even celebrated, not only the existence of God, but also the exact nature of this existence, is heatedly debated among philosophers and believers alike. From the perspective of the Christian, there are several arguments that can be held forward for the existence of God, and also to counter arguments against this view. Religious philosophers such as John H. Hick have gone as far as presenting "scientific" arguments for the existence of God in order to provide a more solid basis for today's believer. Others, such as Quinn & Meeker, present strategies that believers can use to justify a specific belief system in the face of increasing religious tolerance and diversity in the world today. Faith is presented with great challenges in a world that is increasingly materialistic and scientifically oriented. This however does not mean that there is no room for faith or indeed that human beings have lost their need for this element in their lives.

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The Probability of God

Research Proposal on Philosophy - Existence of God Many Philosophers Assignment

Hick (26) suggests provides some arguments for the probability of God's existence. While the philosopher must acknowledge that preconception and pre-existing faith issues will influence the individual's assessment of whether God is probable or not, it is nonetheless useful to have this as a basis for further argumentation. The author cites Swinburne in the view that it is simpler to explicate an unlimited spiritual force than a limited one - in other words, the existence of God is a simpler belief than believing that he does in fact not exist. The fundamental reason for this is the fact that an unlimited force can absorb all improbability, while a limited force must also include an explication of what limits it, and in what respects it is limited.

This view can be demonstrated by the scientific example of the speed of light. Scientific theories tend to be built upon zero or infinite values unless there is strong evidence to suggest that this should not be the case. In this way, scientists initially believed the speed of light to be infinite until evidence revealed this not to be the case. When applied to theism, the assumption is that an unlimited, infinite divine being is most probable.

Arguments for the Existence of God

In Chapter 2 of his book, Hick (15-29) provides arguments for the existence of God that can be supplemented by the scientific postulation of his probability. To the Christian individual, the most useful of these could include the cosmological argument, which concerns the physical universe and the evidence it provides towards proof of God's existence, and the moral argument, which finds proof for God's existence within human morality.

The cosmological argument (Hick 20-22) holds that the ordered and perfect nature of the universe can only be explained by intelligent design. The main objection to this argument is the question of God's origin. The problem is that there remains an entity whose existence is not explained, whether the existence of God is taken into account or not. If God exists, the universe is explained, but not God himself. If God does not exist, the universe remains unexplained. In order to address this dilemma, several types of cosmological argument have been developed, two of which include the Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Argument from Contingency.

According to the former, the universe has a beginning in time, while God does not. As such, the universe has a cause of existence, which is the infinite God being. The infinite nature of God places him beyond time, space and the need for an origin. The argument from contingency holds that the existence of the universe is not necessary; its non-existence is a possibility. In contrast, God is not contingent; his existence is essential. Hence,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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