The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God - A Front Loaded Presentation
Several Arguments for the Existence of God
In this short article we look at several different arguments for the existence of God. None are conclusive, but all have a way of forcing the reader to think of the different ways which present that unusual being.
The Transcendental Argument
There are several arguments for the existence of God.
For any authoritative rationality to emerge from raw matter, one must assume the existence of God even if one is to deny God's existence. Two points are pertinent here. One is that it is a macro-argument which encompasses rationality; and two, the preconditions for presenting an argument are present. This means that the argument creates the conditions for its seeming validity. In other words, an athiest can only deny the existence of God if the conditions for the existence must be present in the Universe. This means that if the Universe exists, it can only exist because God exists.
The Cosmological Argument
God is the "first cause" or "prime mover" of the universe. In this scenario, God is the first pusher. He pushes the Universe into the conditions that would make it real. Modern "Big Bang" cosmology is a theory of the first push, and it has given new empirical impetus to this notion. It is now an argument cited by theists as proof that a God created the universe ex nihilo; that is from nothing.
Argument to Design
The Argument to Design is one of the bulwarks of Creationism or Intelligent Design theory. The argument asserts that because the Universe is complex, the stucture of the natural Universe and its laws can only be explained through the presence of a cosmic designer otherwise known as God.
The seventeenth-century Philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, created a practical argument for the existence of God. If you believe in God the worst that could happen is nothing, because if you die and there is no God, nothing will happen. But on the other hand, if you don't believe in God the worse that can happen is that you would be wrong, because if you die and there is a God, you are wrong.
The Ontological Argument
Perhaps the most unusual and provocative argument is the Ontological argument.
Ontological arguments are a form of reason arguments, which conclude that God exists, using premises based reason alone, and not observation of the world. St. Anselm's was the first to state that God exists through the concept of perfection.
His view of perfection is of a being of which nothing greater can be conceived. In other words, if such a being fails to exist, then there must be a greater being, namely, one which does exist and where nothing greater can be conceived. If there is a great being, but does not exist, then there must be a greater being, which does exist, because you can conceive of such a greater being which has all of the characteristics plus existence. So, if there is such a greatest being of which it can be said that nothing greater could be conceived, then that being exists, and God is that being and so God exists.
This is a rough way of saying God is Perfect, Perfection implies existence, therefore, God Exists. Perfection is a series of qualities that this being must have. Omniscience - knowing everything is one. Omnipresence - being everywhere at the same time is another. Finally, existence - if the being did not exist then the being would not be perfect.
This is a Yin-Yang concept, where one concept implies another. This is also front loading the argument, which is another way of saying that you are using the term that you are trying to define in the definition. This is why the Ontological Argument fails.
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