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Does God exist? The Ontological argument

Updated on October 31, 2015
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Is this book true?

Does he really exist and not need 'proof' An early copy of Matthew's gospel
Does he really exist and not need 'proof' An early copy of Matthew's gospel | Source

What is the Ontological argument?

Ontology is the study of 'being' literally the study of "How can we know that we exist?" and you guessed it, with something like that it's more a philosophical argument than anything else.

The ontological argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of God using the concept of 'being' and as such it is the one argument that actually doesn't require any empirical evidence!

The Cosmological and Teleological arguments both require empirical evidence to be shown to be true, but the Ontological argument doesn't as it is philosophical and does not require observable data. That isn't that the argument is flawed but that it deals with the realm of Metaphysics, an area our present sciences are I'll equipped for!

How can we study just 'BEING'? How would we quantify existence? Can we quantify it?

Anselm

The Statue of Anslem at Canterbury Cathedral
The Statue of Anslem at Canterbury Cathedral | Source

The differences

Where both the Cosmological and Teleological arguments rely on empirical evidence and observation from the sciences the Ontological argument doesn't need them as it is a philosophical argument that uses the state of 'being' as it's starting point.

Both the Cosmological and Teleological arguments start with observation and draw inferences from the observations but the Ontological literally starts with a statement.

Anselm starts with the premise that it's actually impossible to deny that a 'Greatest possible being' exists and it's actually self contradictory to say he doesn't exist!

The ontological argument relies on a concept rather than empirical evidence and as such it works by relying on our understanding of concepts!


Anselm's classical argument

[Even a] fool, when he hears of … a being than which nothing greater can be conceived … understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding.… And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater.… Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.

'That which no greater can be conceived' is the way he puts it. If you can't concieve of anything greater than that would be God

The argument works out in five points

  1. God is a conceptual truth. That he is the greatest possible being is a concept
  2. God is an idea in the Mind.
  3. To be the Greatest being that exists has to exist in reality and not just in the mind.
  4. We can't imagine one greater than God (that is a contradiction in terms as he is God and greater than God doesn't exist)
  5. Therefore God exists


Anselm argues that even though God is a 'concept' he also has to 'exist in reality' in that the concept has to be realistic and something for which there is no other explanation. We can conceive of a creature greater than ourselves, there are quite a few in nature that have some greater attributes, but no single one of them has all of the attributes greater than man, and none have an intellect greater than man's, yet one greater still must exist because we can conceive of him.

For Anselm even the atheist argues for the existence of God simply because they too can conceive of a being for which no greater can exist! His argument is that if God exists in the 'mind' (as a concept, even if given another name) then the concept must translate into reality!

The argument doesn't elaborate on whether God is personal or loving, just simply that he exists, Anselm however did see the concept as being that of the God of the Bible.

Understanding the question?

Detractors!

Right from the start there have been those who opposed the arguement. Some of them have brought out some good points about the weakness of the argument

Gaunilo of Maumoutier


A contemporary of Anselm and also a Monk (Both were Benedictine) argued that the argument fails as it allows us to imagine all kind of creatures (Unicorns and Leprechauns) existing that don't exist in reality. Gaunilo argued that man can only comprehend information that comes from our senses and not from deduction of a concept that can't be percieved by them.

Gaunilo fails to take into account though that much of what Anselm talks about to arrive at the concept of God can actually be quantified (eg Knowledge and Power can both be quantified in that 'perfect knowledge' or perfect 'power' literally means the absolute maximum that the universe can hold! and any being that had these attributes would literally be 'GOD'

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)


Aquinas argued that God's existence is self evident in his creation and does not need deductions from claims about the concept. He argued that not everyone would understand the same thing about the concept of God!

Immanual Kant (1724-1804)


Kant argued that just because a being exists doesn't make it 'perfect' and that just because a being is conceived does not automatically mean it exists in reality (existence is not a property!)

The discussion has been going on for centuries (and will probably continue) with scholars on both sides weighing in and more modern developments taking place through scholars like Gödel writing his own version of the Ontological argument, but before we go onto that we need to look at Anselm's second argument.


Anselm's second version.

Anselm also produced a second version of the argument in which he doesn't rely so much on the original first premise, it is as follows

  1. By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
  2. A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist.
  3. Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God.
  4. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God.
  5. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality.
  6. God exists in the mind as an idea.
  7. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality.


(Copied from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) This argument changes things slightly in that God isn't 'Necessary' to existence but it is necessary that if he exists in theory then he exists in reality! (otherwise he wouldn't be God!)

Modern Ontological arguments

Kurt Gödel, a mathematician and friend of Albert Einstein published a version of the Ontological argument that uses 'Modal logic' (A kind of logic developed by the scholastic scholars and loved even today by Mathematicians and Physicists).

The Modal system shows

  1. God is Omniscient and Rational
  2. Rational beings believe in existence.
    Even a cartoon character believes in his or her existence, they are just mistaken about it in reality
  3. If God didn't exist then as an omniscient being he would know he didn't. That leads to a contradiction in point 2 so then it follows that he must then exist!

Like Anselm, Gödel doesn't really argue whether God is personal (he did believe that God was) but simply that God exists. Another piece of Gödel's work that reflects on the existence of God is his theorem in which he argues that it is possible for a thing to be 100% true but unprovable!


So, the Maths is true but still no evidence???

Case for the creator

Have I proved anything?

The short answer is probably not! All I've tried to do is give some semblance of order in which the arguement for the existence of God from the state of 'being' has come about. The fact is that the Ontological argument is based on philosophy and not really on empirical evidence.

I'm not sure I would accept the statement made by the atheist presenter in the video on Godel's argument that all that was proved was the internal workings of the argument (but then again I'm a theist and would say that!) as to me even the internal workings would have to work in reality to be of any value.

We all come to a hub like this with our own ideas, and mostly we take those ideas away but it's my hope that as we read and comment on hubs like this that we can all learn something and each take away a piece that will help us understand both sides of the argument.

Hope you enjoyed it.

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    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Lifegate

      Right on! It is a matter of faith! The most I can hope for with these articles is to get people to think a little and for the believer maybe we can take away a little strengthening of our faith as we see the logic behind reasons to believe!

      Sujaya

      Hope you don't mind me combining two replies but I agree with you, there's a sense in which we experience God every day!

      Thank you both for commenting

      Lawrence

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 21 months ago

      we experience God as we live...

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 21 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      More good stuff, Lawrence. There are certainly arguments out there from both sides. But I guess it's just a matter of faith for me. But your article just reinforces what I already believe. Thanks!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      Godel's bio is very interesting. He was very aware of the growing atheist trend in science and seemed to take great joy in coming up with workable theories that contradicted this trend. There is both a brief written description by Godel of his God Theorem and then a huge math formula to back it up which has been tested and retested by super computers and found to be flawless.

      His "Incompleteness Theorem" proves that science and maths can never answer all questions (Stephen Hawking has a free online essay concurring with Godel on this)

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Thank you for sending the information through, I did try to get a handle on Gödel's argument but got list in the mathematics (never was very good at algebra:-)

      I did cover an article in 'Der Spiegel' that said other scholars had looked at the maths he used and it was 'sound for the argument.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      JMcF/Others

      as I said basic dictionary definitions will aid in the proper discussion of the basis for ontological arguments. Zeus for example was a term used for a particular Ancient Greek God. Such God concepts Evolved into more complex forms over thousands of years until we now have the pinnacle of Godel's definition based on a generic definition of God now implanted into a flawless mathematical theorem backing up Godel's reasoning and the existence of God.

      Other lesser definitions can not be substituted into the formula as such misappropriate terms such as "unicorns" or " Gandalf" or "Zeus" do not fulfil the basic dictionary definition of the now evolved concept of God and the said dictionary meaning.

      As previously stated in a court of law the dictionary is often referred to when making rulings and decisions. Such definitions are vital to this discussion.

      I am focusing on what I see as a basic flaw in reasoning as it results in circular arguments that go nowhere.

      I note that Godel's Ontological mathematical theorem remains uncontested by any current mathematicians and also unchallenged in it's logic for the reasons I have just stated. The formula is not trying to prove the existence of "Zeus" of "unicorns" but of the specific term "God" which I believe in Godel's theorem has been reduced to the value "Perfect". This is a result of Evolution in the history of ontological argument.

      Therefore I feel totally justified in saying that an inability to stick to basic dictionary meanings and basic principles of evolution is a flaw in any argument. It is irrational to discard the dictionary and evolution for expediency.

      Other issues of the past history of Ontological arguments are secondary to this in my argument.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Thank you lawrence, for making your hub an open and respectful place for discussion.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Folks

      As requested some of the comments have been removed. I find it sad that I had to do so and hope that this is the end of the situation!

      There were some good points on the comments and I invite people to resend the comments that are 'on topic' but I would remind people that the topic is 'Does God exist?' and not Whom he might be!

      Thank you to those who've shown grace and apologised to those they might have offended, I've left those comments as I thought them important.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      No worries Damien, I knew that but wanted to clarify a point

      Lawrence

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      Please accept my apologies Lawrence. This is an excellent hub. Did not mean to put down any other's belief or value system.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Folks

      Just want to take a minute to catch ip a few points as it seems tempers are getting a little 'frayed' at the moment.

      This hub was to give the history of the ontological argument and some points (as a believer myself) about it's merits. It has nothing to do with dictionary definitions of God and Julie was right to ignore it as we'd already covered the definition if God in the hub.

      One thing to point out is that the atheist and agnostic is actually being entirely consistent in their beliefs when they say that kife without belief in God can have meaning. I did cover this a little in my hub on the teleologixal argument as it comes from the Stoics

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      Yes, and again I am sorry for the misunderstanding. Julie I believe faith to be a very personal thing. I was not very clear on the we reference. I am as strong in my faith as you are in your unbelief. Without intention there are times I may come across patronizing but once again I do not mean to be that way. Try not to be too hard on Oz. I believe he brings a great deal to any discussion as you do as well.. Forgiveness is truly bliss after all. Blessings!

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Damian, i wasn't referring to you with the comment about insults, i was referring to Oz and his typical generalizations about atheists, atheism and dictionary definitions.

      My comment to you was seperate and i used your name, but i understand if it was unclear. Apologies. When someone says

      "Does not the question of why ever come to mind? We are just here for the spin around the sun and not really for any purpose"

      It, to me, gives the impression that they are implying that without a belief in their god, life is meaningless. Which is why i asked you for clarification, to which you said:

      "Yes, without Him life simply becomes a survival of the fittest. We need Him now more than ever."

      Perhaps i misunderstood you, but when you say "we" it does not come across that you're stating a personal belief or opinion. It comes off as you stating what you believe to be a fact, which is why i questioned you on it. You are now saying the opposite, correct?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      No J, You said that. I made a very general comment but only specific to my personal relationship with God. You started with the slurs as to other religions. I opined by saying without Him life becomes a survival of the fittest. That is the world that I see. I am not saying that you need to see it that way. You are certainly entitled to believe as you do just as I am entitled to believe as I do. My very simple question to you would be "wherein lies your hope." Sorry I insulted you in any way. I did not mean to do that.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      And here comes the inevitable baseless insults. :-) only a matter of time with some people.

      Damian, I'm confused. You just said that without god life is meaningless/purposeless. When i asked for clarification, you confirmed it. Now you're saying the opposite. Which is it?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      No J, I am not saying any of those things. Nor did I imply such things. No other person including God is responsible for another's happiness, fulfillment or purpose. I believe that we indeed need God while perhaps you do not share such beliefs. I am not judging you for non-belief. Please do not judge me for belief.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      JMcF/Others

      once again we see the classic atheist rejection of the principle of evolution when discussing the topic of religion. It seems they have a blind spot here. This combined with the selective rejection of specific basic dictionary definitions (eg the word God) stops all logic from entering the debate: under the false guise of intellectualism.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Damian, so not only are you saying that all atheists like myself have no meaning or purpose in my life, you are now including everyone who doesn't believe in your version of god? Have you asked atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and pagans about their meaning and purpose? Have you told all of us like you just told me that our lives have no meaning? Do you not see that as pure assumption and hubris to determine that about entire swaths of people you don't know?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      Yes, without Him life simply becomes a survival of the fittest. We need Him now more than ever.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Julie

      I get what you're talking about now and you'd be right that us Christians tend to be very selective in some ways. We do come over as being quite exclusive and this argument in particular is very 'Christian' in that Anselm (and probably many others since) saw that the only onw who 'fit the bill' was the God of the Bible!

      Both the Cosmological and Teleological arguments have scholars from Judaism and Islam who contributed to them, but not (it seems) the Ontological argument.

      I've tried to keep away from 'pigeon-holing' the different faiths in this hub as I think that the argument shouldn't be so much about 'which one' as about whether he exists!

      Anselm and other scholars ruled out other faiths as to them only the God of the Bible was 'all loving' (then again, he was Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the senior positions in the Western church at the time!) but in Islam alone there are 99 names for God, each one describing a part of his character and at least four of them that I know of speak of him being a loving God ('The Beneficent. The Merciful. The Forgiving and The Loving).

      Judaism has many of the same or similar names scattered through the Old testament (other religions I can't speak of as I don't know them that well).

      You're right that we do at times, but I tried to avoid it in this hub.

      Lawrence

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Whether Christians and Muslims worship the same god wasn't my point. My point, to explain special pleading, was to point out that if you're willing to accept something in your religion while rejecting the same exact argument from a competing belief is a logical fallacy of special pleading.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Okay, I turn my phone off and look what happens! :-)

      Julie, I'll try and answer your questions later but one thing I have used in discussions with Muslims before is that the word 'Muslim' literally means 'one who is submitted to the will of God'

      Many of them take it as being through Mohammed but I've often debated that if you're submitted to God through Christ then technically you are!. Don't worry most christians get upset at that but using a literal translation it is accurate

      Lawrence

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Damian, are you arguing that without a god life has no meaning?

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      Does not the question of why ever come to mind? We are just here for the spin around the sun and not really for any purpose. We will never understand God nor are we even supposed to. Trying to from a human perspective is quite impossible. Belief or non belief at what point do you ask yourself Can all of this be strictly coincidence? It starts and stops with humility no matter how you slice it. Perhaps it is a form of special pleading and if so I will take that over the alternative every time.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      How do you determine that anything must exist if there is no evidence for it? I can conceive of Zeus. Does he now necessarily exist?

      By special pleading, i mean the logical fallacy. It seems that this argument created something, defined it based on nothing but assertions, and then defined a god that magically fits the definition that the argument itself asserted.

      Are you a Muslim because one of the early verses in the Koran states that the Koran is true, and it's the word of God. If circular reasoning is good enough for your religion, why is it not good enough to make you a Muslim. The answer is the fallacy of special pleading.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I'm not sure what you mean by 'special pleading'? The argument is pretty 'circular' in its logic in that you/we keep coming back to what our minds can 'conceive' but Anselm does qualify it that you can't use a mythical creature (like the unicorn or like) so even though there is no 'proof' of existence he/it must exist!

      Gõdel argued in his theorem that it's quite possible for something to be true yet be unprovable, I think it's the case here!

      As for anyone being persuaded by the argument I'd tend to agree with you, to me all it does is re-inforce what a person already believes.

      Lawrence

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Aren't you begging the question and employing special pleading here? If you assert without evidence that "God" is by default and necessarily the greatest that could be conceived, then that God could be anything to anyone - the greatest that anyone could conceive. I doubt that being would resemble the god of your belief. For many, it doesn't. If it's just asserted that the greatest conceivable being is god without evidence to support the assertion what merit or use does the argument have? Certainly not a persuasive one. While philosophical arguments on many topics have their place, i know of no one who had actually come to a belief in god by one. They seem to be employed in circumstances where actual proof is unattainable.

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Good question. My definition of the 'greatest being in existence' may be faulty and others may have a concept of one greater.

      The idea is that God is the greater of all that we can conceive. That would include all powerful, all knowing, totally just which many have a problem seeing the God of the Bible (or Qur'an for that matter) as being but God would need to be as well as all loving!

      So my concept of God may be faulty but the argument would still stand as there would still be such a being!

      Does that help (by the way it is a philosophical argument :-)

      Lawrence

      Its the greatest being Humanity can conceive of!

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Julie McFarland 21 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Lawrence, I'm curious. What happens when a person can conceive of a being greater than your God? Does that make it necessarily true? Who determines "The greatest being we can conceive of (Omnipotent, omniscient, present everywhere yet seperate from his creation) is by definition God!"?

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      No body.

      From one 'Biblicist' to another I agree that there are questions that science will never be able to answer!

      I enjoy writing these kind of hubs, but try to write them in a way that makes people think without getting 'too wound up'.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      Lawrence

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 21 months ago from Rochester, New York

      I being a Biblicist am not afraid of the current attitude that science and God are in totally different realms. I have to admit that such logic science I am only beginning to understand. I am amazed at the steps you have shown here. Like I said, I am a Biblicist and when I see the highly complex design of the universe and of life (even the understanding of explaining logic on this level, I am even more sure that the verses I have used for so many years are solid reasoning. In a age when people had no knowledge of physics or chemistry or teleology writers of the Scripture were putting verses in Scripture that claimed: The earth was an orb and hung on nothing in space; that things visible to the naked eye were made up of things that were invisible to the naked eye; that the only reason these invisible things held together is because God himself held them together. How I love to see scientist try to explain what holds atoms together when they push against each other with Einsteinian force. Such power only underlines why the Bible says that even nature declares the existence of God so all men are without excuse. I loved your article and am pinning on my Creation Science page so if any who are looking for more thought-provoking evidence can see this. Thank you. Too bad there is no thumbs up or rating words. Bob.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Say yes.

      Sorry that the article confused you, the basic premise of the ontological argument is that we as sentient beings can conceive of a being (or beings) that are greater than us in every way.

      The greatest being we can conceive of (Omnipotent, omniscient, present everywhere yet seperate from his creation) is by definition God!

      The argument isn't perfect and has many who dispute it but I wanted to follow its history and give some perspective on it.

      Hope this clarifies the issues.

      Lawrence

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 21 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      I found this article thoroughly confusing. Rather than argue, I think it's best to review what various world religions have to say on the matter. Most believe in at least one God. Some believe in many gods. Some don't believe in God at all, and worship their ancestors instead. There is evidence that other realms exist beyond this Earthly plain, but how much control they have over us is highly debatable. That is why I am an agnostic.

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      I used Gõdels argument as a modern version of the ontological argument, I found it fascinating that 'Der Spiegel' (one of Germany's most popular magazines) ran an article that says the maths behind the theory is 'sound' but I haven't had time to read many other articles.

      The point of this hub isn't to present 'for and against' but to trace the history, give the argument in a basic form and let people think about it.

      I might come back in more detail in the future but at the moment I'm reading up on 'design'

      Hope that helps

      Lawrence

      Besides both Gandalf and Unicorns won't work as we know they are not real and are not the greatest beings in their fictitious existence!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence/Paladin

      as I've said before in reference to Godel: no atheist has ever given a rational reason for not using the dictionary definition of God in any counter arguments. All other words in such arguments stick to dictionary definitions except for the word God. If this lack of basic dictionary definition was argued in a court where basic dictionary definitions are used and debated to create legal precedents or to argue points of law, a judge would dismiss such arguments as illogical or rule such arguments as "out of order". In other words you can not simply replace the word God with "gandalf" or "unicorn" as they have totally different dictionary definitions.

      I currently have a question regarding this point and no atheist is able to answer this basic point

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Thanks for the explanation, I can see what you're getting at and it's a valid point.

      I'll try and get to the hub as it sounds fascinating.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      so called vicious animal predators only take what they need to satisfy hunger and survival needs. Many indigenous people do this and ask their prey for forgiveness plus incorporate the prey into their ancestry and mythology. Nature has an extraordinary balance and exhibits "ethics" even if it seems cruel to human eyes. There is no malice in a shark for example. We as humans are obliged to take things a step further due to our higher intellect and inner soul combined. The building blocks all occur in nature itself. Ethics is a sign of sentience.

      I have a hub specifically detailing this logical ontological proof.

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Damien

      I agree with you. Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Larry

      I would agree with you :-) no surprises there. Sometimes its good to know what the issues are and that's what the series was about.

      Glad you enjoyed it

      Lawrence

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 21 months ago from Naples

      Lawrence once again great writing and some interesting ideas presented. An atheist would argue against God 's existence yet so very many things in science remain a mystery and have no relative feasible explanation. Theories remain just that ...theories. One thing though regarding ethics would have to include both the teachings and examples of Jesus leave us all wanting to be better people. I guess for me that is really what matters most. Good job and well done. God bless.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin

      Thanks for tge compliment. I'm fine with folks putting links in the comments as it gives us a chance to learn, I did know about your hub but didn't get much chance to read it (that and the fact I'd just watched the Rugby from 5am)

      I kind of like the idea 'Is God an atheist?' I guess if he can conceive a being greater than himself then he's not God, might have to look that hub up!

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I like that serenity! Being able (and willing) to listen to all sides of a debate and being open to the ideas expressed by all sides.

      I think I've actually learned more about my faith here discussing with people than I ever learned from a preacher because the folks here often want to know why we think that way!

      Thanks for the visit and I'm glad the hub helped

      Lawrence

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

      To my way of thinking, when one looks at the order of the universe, the existence of God seems likely.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Anther excellent analysis Lawrence!

      I don't know how you feel about comments including links, but I've actually critically examined Gödel's version of the ontological argument in a hub, pointing out its flaws, called "Gödel's Ontological Failure." At the very least, it includes a link to Gödel's actual theorem, which you may find of interest.

      You may also find Titen's hub, "Is God An Atheist?" to be worth exploring, as he introduces the notion of applying the ontological argument to God himself, asking whether HE can conceive a greater being. Fascinating, thought-provoking stuff!

      All that aside, well done!

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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      One of the ways I determine if I've grown as a person is my willingness to listen to other arguments, internalize them and accept them as a real possibility. Not necessarily a reality but a possibility. If I'm willing to do that then I'm in an accepting frame of mind, and with acceptance, for me, comes serenity. Great discussion here, Lawrence, but that doesn't surprise me at all.

      bill

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      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      I'm not sure about the 'ethics in nature' as if you look at the animal Kingdom its 'survival of the fittest' and to me, man's seemingly inbuilt desire to protect and preserve the 'weaker' vessel would need to come from somwhere else outside of the natural realm! (But then again as a theist I have no problem saying "it's from God :-) )

      I might need to think on what you said though

      Lawrence

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      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      My argument is that by using logic we can discern ethics in nature which led "mankind" to create ethics. The natural universe on both micro/macro levels has a balanced interdependence (sharing) of either forces or life forms. By observing this mankind created social interdependence and ethics. There is literally nothing else to teach him except the universe and such natural forces. The definition of wisdom always relies on sound ethical considerations and nothing else. Ancient and modern indigenous civilisations had very low tech but high levels of wisdom which proves my point : those societies who didn't have such wisdom perished.