The possibility of proving the existence of God has fascinated thinkers and believers throughout the centuries. This book critically analyzes both sides of the contemporary debate between the two most important living philosophers of religion--Richard Swinburne and D.Z. Phillips--and constructs an alternative solution. Instead of taking sides on the issue of God's existence, Messer argues that behind each thinkers' work, and their attitudes toward proving the existence of God, lies fundamental trust. A positive discussion of relativism leads to a fresh (...) analysis of the arguments for God's existence, particularly the ontological argument. In this way, Messer concludes that they are indeed worthwhile, although not for the traditional reasons. (shrink)
Preface -- Introduction -- There is only one reality -- The ultimate perspective and the ultimate drama -- Proof #1: Science -- Proof #2: History -- Proof #3: Prophecy -- Proof #4: Supernatural -- Proof #5: Psychology -- Proof #6: Sociology -- Proof #7: Inerrancy -- Proof #8: Micro-science -- Proof #9: Logic -- Proof #10: The only provably -- Inerrant, complete system -- Why proof is important -- Personal (...) iplications of proof. (shrink)
The Hegel Lectures Series Series Editor: Peter C. Hodgson Hegel's lectures have had as great a historical impact as the works he himself published. Important elements of his system are elaborated only in the lectures, especially those given in Berlin during the last decade of his life. The original editors conflated materials from different sources and dates, obscuring the development and logic of Hegel's thought. The Hegel Lectures series is based on a selection of extant and recently discovered transcripts and (...) manuscripts. Lectures from specific years are reconstructed so that the structure of Hegel's argument can be followed. Each volume presents an accurate new translation accompanied by an editorial introduction and annotations on the text, which make possible the identification of Hegel's many allusions and sources. Lectures on the Proofs of the Existence of God Hegel lectured on the proofs of the existence of God as a separate topic in 1829. He also discussed the proofs in the context of his lectures on the philosophy of religion (1821-31), where the different types of proofs were considered mostly in relation to specific religions. The text that he prepared for his lectures in 1829 was a fully formulated manuscript and appears to have been the first draft of a work that he intended to publish and for which he signed a contract shortly before his death in 1831. The 16 lectures include an introduction to the problem of the proofs and a detailed discussion of the cosmological proof. Philipp Marheineke published these lectures in 1832 as an appendix to the lectures on the philosophy of religion, together with an earlier manuscript fragment on the cosmological proof and the treatment of the teleological and ontological proofs as found in the 1831 philosophy of religion lectures. Hegel's 1829 lectures on the proofs are of particular importance because they represent what he actually wrote as distinct from auditors' transcriptions of oral lectures. Moreover, they come late in his career and offer his final and most seasoned thinking on a topic of obvious significance to him, that of the reality status of God and ways of knowing God. These materials show how Hegel conceived the connection between the cosmological, teleological, and ontological proofs. All of this material has been newly translated by Peter C. Hodgson from the German critical editions by Walter Jaeschke. This edition includes an editorial introduction, annotations on the text, and a glossary and bibliography. (shrink)
In his Beweisgrund (1762), Kant presents a sketch of "the only possible basis" for a proof of God's existence. In this essay, I attempt to present that proof as a valid and sound argument for the existence of God.
Paley’s ‘proof’ of the existence of God, or some supposed version of it, is well known. In this paper I offer the real thing and two objections to it. One objection is Hume's, and the other is provided by Darwin.
Zeno's so-called proofs of divine existence -- Zeno and the traditional gods: a serious problem -- Cleanthes' proofs -- Cleanthes and the traditional gods -- Chrysippus' contribution -- Chrysippus and the traditional gods -- Other Stoic proofs -- Other (Stoic?) arguments in Sextus -- Polemics against the arguments pro the existence of God(s) -- Abolishing the gods leads to odd consequence: the atopical arguments pro the existence of the gods -- The counter-arguments -- Carneades and the data of Sextus and (...) Cicero -- The sorites arguments as a weapon against the traditional gods -- Epilogue -- Appendix I. Cleanthes' humn on Zeus: a running commentary -- Appendix II. Where is God? -- Appendix III. Alexinus' Parabolai. (shrink)
This paper argues that an examination of the ontology that underpins Descartes?s Fifth Meditation ontological proof of God?s existence will contribute to a better understanding of the nature and structure of the proof. Attention to the Cartesian meditator?s development of this ontology in earlier meditations also makes clear why this proof could not have been asserted before the Fifth Meditation. Finally, it is argued that Kant?s objections against the ontological proof have no force against Descartes? particular (...) version of the proof. (shrink)
Philosophers of religion debate what is meant by the word 'God,' in the conclusion of proofs of God's existence. If'God' is a proper name, there seems to be no good proof that a non-empirical entity has this name. If it is a common name, it seems that it must mean what classical theists mean by 'God' - and the existence of such a being is hard to prove. I defend a third possibility: that 'God' names a common name that (...) is the least prescriptive possible, while being sufficient to signify one kind of thing different from all others. (shrink)
I examine Edith Stein’s argument for the existence of God found in Finite and Eternal Being. Although largely Thomistic in its structure, the proof is unique in its details, starting with the life of the ego (Ichleben) and ascending to the being of God. The ego is shown to be contingent in its being as well as in the meaning-content through which it lives. Stein argues that this dependent being cannot be accounted for without a being that does not (...) need to receive its being, namely, God. She then turns to the felt security of being as a counter to Heideggerian Angst as a revelatory mood, arguing that security puts us into contact with divine being. She concludes by admitting that proofs rarely convince because of the infinite distance between creature and creator, but concedes to them a role, nonetheless, in shrinking the distance between belief and unbelief. (shrink)
Two claims have been explored, the first, that fool-proof proofs of the sort that there could be if there were a God like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not to be expected, on good religious grounds (a claim I found wanting); and second, that there cannot be philosophical proofs of God which work beyond reasonable doubt.The argument that there cannot be philosophical proofs beyond a reasonable doubt is supported by an examination of some of the fundamental (...) issues in the traditional discussions of proofs for God's existence, and by claims about the relativity of methodological rules to world-views which, I maintain, the traditional discussions indicate. I do not claim to have proved that relativity, only to have illustrated the claim that it is there.It is my further opinion, but I do not claim really to have proved it, that the failure of religious excuses for the lack of public demon strations constitutes a good reason for concluding that there is no God of the sort described as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; hence that if there is a God, it must be the God of the philosophers. However I admit that there might be sufficient hidden reasons which would offer persuasive excuses for the God of the ordinary believer.Lastly, I have made some comments about what I think is the more valuable way to view the “proofs for God.” Such an interpretation does justice to the otherwise baffling and continual philosophical disagreements better than rival theories. It is time we take these disagreements with utmost seriousness, and one can hardly do that while treating basic metaphysical arguments as fool-proof proofs. (shrink)
Esta reflexão pretende mostrar o discurso racional cartesiano na segunda prova da existência de Deus. Para tanto, Descartes se depara com uma pergunta central: qual a causa da existência da res cogitans que é finita e possui a ideia de infinito? A resposta é encontrada na desproporcionalidade ontológica entre o finito e o infinito. Essa desproporcionalidade é elucidada mediante dois conceitos: o princípio de causalidade que determina que a causa deve ser igual ou superior a coisa causada e o princípio (...) de criação contínua em que a causa que criou o ser não é menor do que aquela que o conserva em sua existência. As objeções destacadas no texto contra os argumentos cartesianos foram escolhas deliberadas que servem para elucidar a importância da racionalidade como fundamento para a prova da existência de Deus. A relação entre o entendimento e a liberdade, apresentada no texto sucintamente, justifica a impossibilidade da res cogitans ser causa de si mesma. Palavras-chave: Infinito; finito; causalidade; criação contínuaThis essay aims to show the rational Cartesian discourse on the second proof of God’s existence. In order to do so, Descartes faces a core question: which is the cause for the existence of the res cogitans that is finite in front of the idea of the infinite? The answer is found in the ontological disproportionality between the finite and the infinite. This disproportionality is elucidated through a couple crucial concepts: the principle of causality, which determines that the cause must be equal or superior to the caused thing and the principle of continuous creation, in which the cause that created the being is not inferior than the one that preserves its existence. The objections highlighted in the text against the Cartesian arguments were deliberated choices, to elucidate the relevance of rationality as the foundation for the proof of God’s existence. The relation between the understanding and the liberty, showed on the text even if succinctly, justifies the impossibility of the res cogitans to be the cause of itself. Key words: Infinite; finite; causality; creation continuous. (shrink)
This work criticises Thomas Aquinas’s "Fifth Way," also known as the teleological proof of the existence of God. The author argues that if God existed, one would expect human beings to be well-designed. But it is evident by comparing ourselves to cartoon characters that we are not well-designed. Therefore, God does not exist.
Nyāya, which is one of the orthodox Brahmanical schools in India, accepts the authority of both the Vedic scriptures and God as its composer. Nyāya has specialized in logic and argumentation from ancient times while at the same time gradually strengthening its theistic tendency. Nyāya polemicist, Udayana, is famous for his contribution to the rational proof of the existence of God. In this paper, I will consider a tiny part of his proof of the existence of God given (...) in his theistic monograph, the Nyāyakusumāñjali, and in particular a topic called prāmāṇyavāda, or the Theory of Validity, from the viewpoint of the historical development of this argument. In this topic, it is argued how we justify our cognition and undertake actions. Nyāya polemicists preceding Udayana argued this topic in order to justify the Vedic scriptures and to encourage people to perform the Vedic rituals. And this topic has had little relationship with theological context. However, Udayana seems to link this argument to his theory of theology in an implicit way. I will suppose in his argument the implicit linkage between the prāmāṇyavāda and the assumption of an omniscient being. (shrink)
Is the nonexistence of God conceivable? By St. Anselm.--Five proofs of God's existence, by St. Thomas Aquinas.--Comments on St. Thomas' Five ways, by F. C. Copleston.--Two proofs of God's existence, by A. E. Taylor.--God's existence as a postulate of morality, by I. Kant.--The existence of God, by J. J. C. Smart.--The problem of evil, by D. Hume.--The experience of God, by J. Baille.--Instinct, experience, and theistic belief, by C. S. Pierce.--The ethics of belief, by W. K. Clifford.--The will to believe, (...) by W. James.--Faith as passionate commitment, by S. Kierkegaard.--God as projection, by L. A. Feuerbach.--Bibliographical essay (p. 205-208). (shrink)
Richard Swinburne presents a substantially rewritten and updated edition of his most celebrated book. No other work has made a more powerful case for the probability of the existence of God. Swinburne gives a rigorous and penetrating analysis of the most important arguments for theism: the cosmological argument; arguments from the existence of laws of nature and the 'fine-tuning' of the universe; from the occurrence of consciousness and moral awareness; and from miracles and religious experience. He claims that while none (...) of these arguments are deductively valid, they do give inductive support to theism and that, even when the argument from evil is weighed against them, taken together they offer good grounds to support the probability that there is a God. The overall structure of the discussion and its conclusion have been retained for this new edition, but much has been changed in order to strengthen the argumentation and to take account of Swinburne's subsequent work on the nature of consciousness and the problem of evil, and of the latest philosophical and scientific writing, especially in respect of the laws of nature and the argument from fine-tuning. This is now the definitive version of a classic in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors make (...) claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. From arguments about the nature of infinity and the Big Bang, to religious experience and divine action, to the resurrection of Jesus and the problem of evil, the authors treat us to a remarkable display of intelligence and insight--a truly thought-provoking exploration of a classic issue that remains relevant to contemporary life. (shrink)
Basing his argument for the existence of God on the continuous nature of the temporal world, Braine here posits that the philosophy of religion cannot be continued as a separate discipline: the solution of its problems will be the fruit of the correct telesis of the problems of general philosophy in their complex interrelationships.
This book is a unique contribution to the philosophy of religion. It offers a comprehensive discussion of one of the most famous arguments for the existence of God: the ontological argument. The author provides and analyses a critical taxonomy of those versions of the argument that have been advanced in recent philosophical literature, as well as of those historically important versions found in the work of St Anselm, Descartes, Leibniz, Hegel and others. A central thesis of the book is that (...) ontological arguments have no value in the debate between theists and atheists. There is a detailed review of the literature on the topic (separated from the main body of the text) and a very substantial bibliography, making this volume an indispensable resource for philosophers of religion and others interested in religious studies. (shrink)
John Foster presents a clear and powerful discussion of a range of topics relating to our understanding of the universe: induction, laws of nature, and the existence of God. He begins by developing a solution to the problem of induction - a solution whose key idea is that the regularities in the workings of nature that have held in our experience hitherto are to be explained by appeal to the controlling influence of laws, as forms of natural necessity. His second (...) line of argument focuses on the issue of what we should take such necessitational laws to be, and whether we can even make sense of them at all. Having considered and rejected various alternatives, Foster puts forward his own proposal: the obtaining of a law consists in the causal imposing of a regularity on the universe as a regularity. With this causal account of laws in place, he is now equipped to offer an argument for theism. His claim is that natural regularities call for explanation, and that, whatever explanatory role we may initially assign to laws, the only plausible ultimate explanation is in terms of the agency of God. Finally, he argues that, once we accept the existence of God, we need to think of him as creating the universe by a method which imposes regularities on it in the relevant law-yielding way. In this new perspective, the original nomological-explanatory solution to the problem of induction becomes a theological-explanatory solution. The Divine Lawmaker is bold and original in its approach, and rich in argument. The issues on which it focuses are among the most important in the whole epistemological and metaphysical spectrum. (shrink)
There has been in recent years a plethora of defenses of theism from analytical philosophers such as Plantinga, Swinburne, and Alston. Richard Gale's important book is a critical response to these writings. New versions of cosmological, ontological, and religious experience arguments are critically evaluated, along with pragmatic arguments to justify faith on the grounds of its prudential or moral benefits. A special feature of the book is the discussion of the atheological argument that attempts to deduce a contradiction from the (...) theist's way of conceiving of God's nature. In considering arguments for and against the existence of God, Gale is able to clarify many important philosophical concepts including exploration, time, free will, personhood, actuality, and the objectivity of experience. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. The trouble with God; 2. God unlimited; 3. How to reason if you must; 4. The well-tempered universe; 5. What does it all mean?; 6. Moral equilibrium; 7. What is life without thee?; 8. It necessarily ain't so.
In classical India, debates over rational theology naturally become the occasion for fundamental questions about the scope and power of inference itself. This is well evinced in the classical proofs for God by the Hindu Nyāya tradition and the opposing arguments of classical Buddhists and Mīmāsā philosophers. This paper calls attention to, and provides analysis of, a number of key nodes in these debates, particularly questions of inferential boundaries and whether inductive reasoning has the power to support inferences to wholly (...) unique entities (like God). (shrink)
Charting a "middle way" between the extremes represented by Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, Garth Hallett explores the thesis that if belief in other minds is rational and true (as it surely is), so too is belief in God. He makes a strong case that when this parity claim is appropriately restricted to a single, sound other-minds belief, belief in God and belief in other minds do prove epistemically comparable. This result, and the distinctive path that leads to it, will (...) interest students and scholars in philosophy of religion and theology. (shrink)
Many people believe in angels and evil spirits, and popular culture abounds in talk about encounters with such entities. Yet the question of the existence of such spirits is ignored in the academy. Even the Christian Church, which one might expect to show keen interest in transcendent realities, does not appear to be paying much attention. In this book Phillip Wiebe defends the plausibility of the traditional Christian claim that spirits are real. Wiebe examines descriptions of encounters with both good (...) and evil transcendent beings in biblical times and in later Christian history, along with recent accounts of similar experiences. He argues that invisible beings can be postulated to explain events just as unobservable objects are postulated in many scientific theories. Beyond supporting claims for the existence of lesser spirits such as demons and angels, this empirical approach yields important results for assessing common arguments surrounding the existence of God - a question that has become artificially separated from the question of spirits as such. Grounding his argument in a wide range of phenomena - from near death experiences to demonic possession - Wiebe offers a sophisticated case for belief in God on philosophical and epistemological grounds. (shrink)
God and Goodness takes the experience of value as a starting point for natural theology. Mark Wynn argues that theism offers our best understanding of the goodness of the world, especially its beauty and openness to the development of richer and more complex material forms. We also see that the world's goodness calls for a moral response: commitment to the goodness of the world represents a natural extension of the trust to which we aspire in our dealings with human beings.
Modal basics -- Some solutions -- Theist solutions -- The ontology of possibility -- Modal truthmakers -- Modality and the divine nature -- Deity as essential -- Against deity theories -- The role of deity -- The biggest bang -- Divine concepts -- Concepts, syntax, and actualism -- Modality: basic notions -- The genesis of secular modality -- Modal reality -- Essences -- Non-secular modalities -- Theism and modal semantics -- Freedom, preference, and cost -- Explaining modal status -- Explaining (...) the necessary -- Against theistic platonism -- Worlds and the existence of God. (shrink)
How do we prove the existence of God? This book tackles head-on this fundamental question. It examines a cross-section of theistic proofs, explaining in clear terms what they are and what they try to accomplish.
God in the Age of Science? is a critical examination of strategies for the philosophical defence of religious belief. The main options may be presented as the end nodes of a decision tree for religious believers. The faithful can interpret a creedal statement (e.g. 'God exists') either as a truth claim, or otherwise. If it is a truth claim, they can either be warranted to endorse it without evidence, or not. Finally, if evidence is needed, should its evidential support be (...) assessed by the same logical criteria that we use in evaluating evidence in science, or not? Each of these options has been defended by prominent analytic philosophers of religion. -/- In part I Herman Philipse assesses these options and argues that the most promising for believers who want to be justified in accepting their creed in our scientific age is the Bayesian cumulative case strategy developed by Richard Swinburne. Parts II and III are devoted to an in-depth analysis of this case for theism. Using a 'strategy of subsidiary arguments', Philipse concludes (1) that theism cannot be stated meaningfully; (2) that if theism were meaningful, it would have no predictive power concerning existing evidence, so that Bayesian arguments cannot get started; and (3) that if the Bayesian cumulative case strategy did work, one should conclude that atheism is more probable than theism. Philipse provides a careful, rigorous, and original critique of atheism in the world today. (shrink)
The question of realism - that is, whether God exists independently of human beings - is central to much contemporary theology and church life. It is also an important topic in the philosophy of religion. This book discusses the relationship between realism and Christian faith in a thorough and systematic way and uses the resources of both philosophy and theology to argue for a Christocentric narrative realism. Many previous defences of realism have attempted to model Christian belief on scientific theory (...) but Moore argues that this comparison is misleading and inadequate on both theological and philosophical grounds. Using Speech Act theory and the work of non-realists and Wittgensteinians, he offers a new account of the meaningfulness of Christian language; and uses this to develop a regulative conception of realism according to which God's independent reality is shown principally in Christ and, on this basis, through Christian practices and the lives of Christians. (shrink)
Why is the philosophy of religion important? -- Is God real? -- How can God be known? -- Faith and reason or faith vs. reason? -- What is religious experience? -- Who is religious and what is faith? -- What is God? -- Does religion need the supernatural? -- Do miracles occur? -- What is evil and why does it exist? -- What happens after death? -- What is spirituality? -- How does religion affect personal ethics? -- How does religion (...) affect social ethics? -- What is a religious life? (shrink)
A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God "My road to atheism was paved by science . . . But, ironically, so was my later journey to God."--Lee Strobel During his academic years, Lee Strobel became convinced that God was outmoded, a belief that colored his ensuing career as an award-winning journalist at the Chicago Tribune. Science had made the idea of a Creator irrelevant--or so Strobel thought. But today science is pointing in a different direction. In recent years, (...) a diverse and impressive body of research has increasingly supported the conclusion that the universe was intelligently designed. At the same time, Darwinism has faltered in the face of concrete facts and hard reason. Has science discovered God? At the very least, it's giving faith an immense boost as new findings emerge about the incredible complexity of our universe. Join Strobel as he reexamines the theories that once led him away from God. Through his compelling and highly readable account, you'll encounter the mind-stretching discoveries from cosmology, cellular biology, DNA research, astronomy, physics, and human consciousness that present astonishing evidence in The Case for a Creator. Mass market edition available in packs of six. (shrink)
If God exists, where can we find adequate evidence for God's existence? In this book, Paul Moser offers a new perspective on the evidence for God that centers on a morally robust version of theism that is cognitively resilient. The resulting evidence for God is not speculative, abstract, or casual. Rather, it is morally and existentially challenging to humans, as they themselves responsively and willingly become evidence of God's reality in receiving and reflecting God's moral character for others. Moser calls (...) this 'personifying evidence of God,' because it requires the evidence to be personified in an intentional agent - such as a human - and thereby to be inherent evidence of an intentional agent. Contrasting this approach with skepticism, scientific naturalism, fideism, and natural theology, Moser also grapples with the potential problems of divine hiddenness, religious diversity, and vast evil. (shrink)
Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together with (...) the other texts presented in this edition, it also provides the best introduction to Clarke's philosophical views, which, in addition to their intrinsic interest, are historically important for the light they shed both on the philosophical positions within the Newtonian circle and on the exchange between Clarke and Leibniz, the most famous philosophical controversy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Denys Turner argues that there are reasons of faith why the existence of God should be thought rationally demonstrable and that it is worthwhile revisiting the theology of Thomas Aquinas to see why. The proposition that the existence of God is demonstrable by rational argument is doubted by nearly all philosophical opinion today and is thought by most Christian theologians to be incompatible with Christian faith. Turner's robust challenge to the prevailing orthodoxies will be of interest to believers as well (...) as non-believers. (shrink)
Atheism as a belief does not have to present intellectual credentials within academia. Yet to hold beliefs means giving reasons for doing so, ones which may be found wanting. Instead, atheism is the automatic default setting within the academic world. Conversely, religious belief confronts a double standard. Religious believers are not permitted to make truth claims but are instead forced to present their beliefs as part of one language game amongst many. Religious truth claims are expected to satisfy empiricist criteria (...) of evidence but when they fail, as they must, religious belief becomes subject to the hermeneutics of suspicion. This book explores religious experience as a justifiable reason for religious belief. It uniquely demonstrates that the three pillars of critical realism --ontological intransitivity, epistemic relativity and judgemental rationality -- can be applied to religion as to any other beliefs or theories. The three authors are critical realists by philosophical position. They seek to establish a level playing field between religion and secular ideas, which has not existed in the academic world for some generations, in order for reasoned debate to be conducted. (shrink)
After reviewing Kant’s well-known criticisms of the traditional proofs of God’s existence and his preferred moral argument, this paper presents a detailed analysis of a densely-packed theistic argument in Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason. Humanity’s ultimate moral destiny can be fulfilled only through organized religion, for only by participating in a religious community (or “church”) can we overcome the evil in human nature. Yet we cannot conceive how such a community can even be founded without presupposing God’s existence. (...) Viewing God as the internal moral lawgiver, empowering a community of believers, is Kant’s ultimate rationale for theistic belief. (shrink)