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How Catholics are the Solution to the Problem - Part II
A quick look at the problem of atheism and how Christians are partly responsible for it. Part II of III
Aquinas' Five Proofs
Now that we know man can arrive at a knowledge of God, we must define what that knowledge is. Aquinas gives us that knowledge in his five ‘proofs’ that help us understand the nature of God in this world. The first proof is the argument from motion. Aquinas explains that in the world we live in, we understand that nothing moves without first being acted upon by something else. Aquinas argues that there must necessarily be a Prime Mover that set everything in motion (motion in the sense of change and kinetic energy). Since everything is constantly changing in some manner, there must also be something that doesn’t change in order to keep things in motion.
The second proof has to do with efficient causality, that is to say, that which brings things into being. For example, a mother and father are the efficient cause of a child; they pre-existed the baby and were, as a result, able to bring that baby into existence. Nothing can bring itself into existence because it would first have to pre-exist itself, which is ludicrous. Following this train of logic, there must be something that pre-existed everything in order to cause the existence of everything else and we refer to this being as God.
The third proof explains how things in this world are all possible, not necessary, beings. In other words, this chair or that dog can be thought to not exist; they are not necessary beings. Since things in this world are corruptible and all dissipate at some point, existence is not part of their essence. “Therefore, if everything can not-be, then at one time there was nothing in existence”. Aquinas concludes that there must be some being whose essence is to exist in order to bring and keep everything else in existence. And that is what we refer to as God.
The fourth proof refers to the gradation of things. For instance, for anything to be called ‘good’ there must be some maximum of goodness, some constant by which to measure everything. We refer to this objective benchmark as God, for he is the only source of real truth in the world. After all, if there were no objective truth, then everything would be subjective. God provides us with objective truth and goodness by which we can ‘measure’ things in this world.
The final proof is more metaphysical than the others, but is still useful to know. Aquinas explains how natural things, i.e. planetary bodies tend to always act in the same way so as to achieve their end in the best possible manner. He concludes that they are designed as such by a Great Designer. These and other natural objects have no intelligence and yet are always able to fulfill their purpose. This argument is useful in simply getting the atheist to ponder about the world we live in and give an account of his worldview. How can atheism, a worldview that destroys absolute truth, goodness, knowledge, and human dignity, account for the world we all live in? These five proofs of Aquinas are meant to help define God in human terms and challenge the atheist in his beliefs.
Continues with Part III...
Do you think Aquinas' Proofs make sense?
Here's what Dawkins has to say...
 Summa Theologica, Q.2.Art.3, pg.26
 Summa, Q.2.Art.3, pg.26
 Summa, Q.2.Art.3, pg.27