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Encyclopedia > Arguments against the existence of God

Many arguments about the existence of God have been proposed over time. This article lists some of the more common ones. In philosophical terminology this article introduces schools of thought on the epistemology of the ontology of God. The term philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom. ... Terminology is the set of all the terms related to a given subject field or discipline. ... Article may refer to the following: in grammar: a specific particle of speech. ... In music, the introduction is a passage or section which opens a movement or a separate piece. ... In most educational systems, a School is a semi-automonous unit in a university which study a particular discipline, such the School of Journalism which studies journalism. ... Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek ον = being and λόγος = word/speech) is the most fundamental branch of metaphysics. ... The term God, capitalized in English language as a proper noun, is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ...

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What is God? (Definition of God's existence)

See main articles: Definition, God, Deity, Ontology

What does it mean to assert "God exists"? Does it say something about the words we use, the universe we live in, the results we can expect from experiments, the choices we should make, or does it assert nothing at all? Schools of thought vary. Look up Definition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For alternative meanings see definition (disambiguation) A definition may be a statement of the essential properties of a certain thing, or a statement of equivalence between a term and that terms meaning. ... The term God, capitalized in English language as a proper noun, is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ... Insert non-formatted text hereInsert non-formatted text here:This article is about deities or gods from a non-monotheistic perspective. ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek ον = being and λόγος = word/speech) is the most fundamental branch of metaphysics. ...


In this context, the term "God" has typically been used to mean the monotheistic concept of a singular Supreme Being. The common definition of God assumes some combination of qualities such as omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence. Typically, proofs will define God as one such quality, show something must exist with that quality, assert therefore "God" exists, then imbue that God with all manner of qualities not neccesitated by the definition by which he was proved. The exact definition must be followed carefully in any such argument so that what is declared as proven to exist at the end of the proof is the same thing the proof starts with in its definition of what it is to be proven that exists. Further if by one argument something with quality A exists, and by another argument something with the quality B exists, it is not yet proved that anything with both qualities exists. The term God, capitalized in English language as a proper noun, is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ... Monotheism (in Greek monon = single and Theos = God) is the belief in a single, universal, all-encompassing deity. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Omniscience is the capacity to know everything, or at least everything that can be known. ... Benevolence is a faculty from the discipline of Phrenology. ...


This definition is not the only possible definition of "god." Many polytheistic religions have given the name "god" to several beings, all of whose existence is posited by these faiths. Reported mythologies affirm that these gods have various agendas, can trick one another, and sometimes oppose each other, all attributes that would appear to contradict omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Still, all of them count as Gods in ordinary language. Polytheism is belief in, or worship of, multiple gods or divinities. ... Insert non-formatted text hereInsert non-formatted text here:This article is about deities or gods from a non-monotheistic perspective. ... Mythology is the study of myths: stories of a particular culture that it believes to be true and that feature a specific religious or belief system. ...


In terms of the philosophy of language, one Wittgensteinian approach to the problem would be to extract a working definition of "God" from the various literatures and traditions that speak of Gods and their activities. How do people use the word "God?" What do they mean when they speak of "Gods?" In order to assess the validity of any attempted argument for the existence of a God, we must first satisfy ourselves of what would fulfil those criteria. Philosophy of language is the branch of philosophy that studies language. ... Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), pictured here in 1930, made influential contributions to logic and the philosophy of language, critically examining the task of conventional philosophy and its relation to the nature of language. ...


The problem of the supernatural

One problem immediately posed by the question of the existence of a God is that human traditional beliefs usually grant God various supernatural powers, including the power to work miracles. Gods can supernaturally conceal themselves and reveal themselves for their own purposes, as for example in the tale of Baucis and Philemon. The supernatural (Latin:super- exceeding+nature) comprises forces and phenomena that cannot be perceived by natural or empirical senses, and whose understanding may be said to lie with religious, magical, or otherwise mysterious explanation —yet remains firmly outside of the realm of science. ... According to many religions, a miracle is an intervention by God in the universe. ... In Greek mythology, Baucis and Philemon were an old couple who welcomed the disguised gods, Zeus and Hermes. ...


The supernatural abilities of God are often believed to rule out any attempt to use empirical methods to investigate God's existence. In Karl Popper's philosophy of science, the existence of a supernatural God is a non-falsifiable hypothesis, not susceptible to scientific investigation. By contrast, adherents of the intelligent design hypothesis believe that empirical or mathematical evidence that shows the existence of an intelligent creator does in fact exist, and make the hypothesis of a God's existence more likely. The characterization phase can require extended and extensive study, even centuries. ... Karl Popper Sir Karl Raimund Popper (July 28, 1902 – September 17, 1994), was an Austrian-born, British philosopher of science. ... The philosophy of science is the branch of philosophy which studies the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences such as physics and biology, and the social sciences, such as psychology and economics. ... Falsifiability is an important concept in the philosophy of science that amounts to the apparently paradoxical idea that a proposition or theory cannot be scientific if it does not admit consideration of the possibility of its being false. ... Intelligent Design (or ID) is the controversial assertion that certain parts of existence are best explained by positing an intelligent designer. ...


Logical positivists, such as Rudolph Carnap and A. J. Ayer view any talk of gods as literally nonsense. For the logical positivists and adherents of similar schools of thought, statements about religious or other transcendent experiences could not have a truth value, and were deemed to be without meaning. Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism) holds that philosophy should aspire to the same sort of rigor as science. ... Rudolf Carnap (May 18, 1891 - September 14, 1970) was a German philosopher. ... Alfred Jules Ayer (October 29, 1910 - June 27, 1989), better known as simply A. J. Ayer (and called Freddie by friends), was a British philosopher. ... Nonsense is an utterance or written text in what appears to be a human language or other symbolic system, that does not in fact carry any identifiable meaning. ...


Confusing talk about talk with talk about existence

Semantics is distinguished from ontology (knowledge of existence) in being about the use of a word more than the nature of the entity referenced by the word. This is reflected in the argument, "That's only semantics" when someone tries to draw conclusions about what is true about the world based on what is true about a word. In general, semantics (from the Greek semantikos, or significant meaning, derived from sema, sign) is the study of meaning, in some sense of that term. ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek ον = being and λόγος = word/speech) is the most fundamental branch of metaphysics. ...


How do we know?

See main article: Epistemology

One can not be said to "know" something just because one believes it. Knowledge is distinguished from belief by justification. Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. ... Knowledge is the awareness and understanding of facts, truths or information gained in the form of experience or learning (a posteriori), or through introspection (a priori). ... Belief is assent to a proposition. ... Justification can mean: justification (jurisprudence) justification (typesetting) justification (theology) In epistemology, justification of a belief is what renders it worth believing in terms of its probable truth. ...


Positions on the Existence of God and the Possibility of Proof

Postions on the existence of God can be roughly divided into two camps: Theist and Atheist. Both of these camps can be further divided into two groups each, based on the belief of whether or not their position can be conclusively proven.


God exists, and this can be proven

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the Thomist tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas and the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council, affirms that it is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that God's existence can in fact be rationally demonstrated. Some other Christians in different denominations hold similar views. On this view, a distinction is to be drawn between (1) doctrines that belong essentially to faith and cannot be proved, such as the doctrine of the Trinity or the Incarnation, and (2) doctrines that can be accepted by faith but can also be known by reason. The existence of God is said to be one of the latter. As a theological defense of this view, one might cite Paul's claim that pagans were without excuse because "since the creation of the world [God's] invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made" (Rom. 1:20). The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC, is an official exposition of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, first published in French in 1992 with the authorization of Pope John Paul II.[1] To correspond exactly with the official text in Latin,[2] which appeared in 1997, five... Thomism is the philosophical school that followed in the legacy of St. ... St Thomas Aquinas Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – March 7, 1274) was an Italian Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition. ... The First Vatican Council was summoned by Pope Pius IX by the bull Aeterni Patris of June 29, 1868. ... The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian body with over 1. ... This article concerns the Holy Trinity of Christianity and related religious denominations. ... Incarnation, which literally means enfleshment, refers to the conception, and live birth of a sentient creature (generally human) who is the material manifestation of an entity or force whose original nature is immaterial. ...


Another apologetical school of thought, a sort of synthesis of various existing Dutch and American Reformed thinkers (such as, Abraham Kuyper, Benjamin Warfield, Herman Dooyeweerd), emerged in the late 1920's. This school was instituted by Cornelius Van Til, and came to be popularly called Presuppositional apologetics (though Van Til himself felt "Transcendental" would be a more accurate title). The main distinction between this approach and the more classical evidentialist approach mentioned above is that the Presuppositionalist denies any common ground between the believer and the non-believer, except that which the non-believer denies, namely, the assumption of the truth of the theistic worldview. In other words, Presuppositionalists don't believe that the existence of God can be proven by appeal to raw, uninterpreted (or, "brute") facts, which have the same (theoretical) meaning to people with fundimentally different worldviews, because they deny that such a condition is even possible. They claim that the only possible proof for the existence of God is that the very same belief is the necessary condition to the intelligibility of all other human experience and action. In other words, they attempt to prove the existence of God by means of appeal to the alleged transcendental necessity of the belief -- indirectly (by appeal to the allegedly unavowed presuppositions of the non-believer's worldview) rather than directly (by appeal to some form of common factuality). In practice this school utilizes what have come to be known as Transcendental Arguments for the Existence of God. In these arguments they claim to demonstrate that all human experience and action (even the condition of unbelief, itself) is a proof for the existence of God, because God's existence is the necessary condition of their intelligibility. The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organisationally independent. ... Portrait of Abraham Kuyper by Jan Veth Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a Dutch Calvinist theologian, scholar, and statesman. ... Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) was a Dutch Juridical scholar by training, who by vocation was a philosopher, and the founder of a new approach called, the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea. ... Cornelius Van Til Cornelius Van Til (born 1895 in Grootegast, The Netherlands; died 1987) was a Christian philosopher, Reformed theologian, and presuppositional apologist. ... Presuppositional apologetics is a school of Christian apologetics, a field of Christian theology that attempts to (1) present a rational basis for the Christian faith, (2) defend the faith against objections, and (3) attack the alleged flaws of other worldviews. ... Transcendental in philosophical contexts In philosophy, transcendental experiences are experiences of an exclusively human nature that are other-worldly or beyond the human realm of understanding. ... Transcendental reasoning is an inference pattern based upon the prerequisite conditions for the possibility of a given fact. ...


God exists, but this can't be proven

Others have suggested that the several logical and philosophical arguments for the existence of God miss the point. The word god has a meaning in human culture and history that does not correspond to the beings whose necessity is proven by such arguments, assuming they are valid proofs. The real question is not whether a "most perfect being" or an "uncaused first cause" exist; the real question is whether Yahweh or Vishnu or Zeus, or some other deity of attested human religion, exists, and if so which deity. The proofs do not resolve that issue. Blaise Pascal suggested this objection in his Pensées when he wrote "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — not the god of the philosophers!" The Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 BC to 300 CE), Aramaic (10th Century BC to 0) and modern Hebrew scripts. ... For other uses of the name Vishnu, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ... Statue of Zeus The Greek sculptor Phidias created the 12-m (40-ft) tall Statue of Zeus in about 435 bc. ... Portrait of Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ... The Pensées (literally, thoughts) represented an apology for the Christian religion by Blaise Pascal, the renowned 17th century philosopher and mathematician. ...


Some Christians note that the Christian faith teaches salvation is by faith, and that faith is reliance upon the faithfulness of God, which has little to do with the believer's ability to comprehend that in which he trusts. In other words, if Christian theology is true, then God's existence can never be demonstrated, either by empirical means or by philosophical argument. The most extreme example of this position is called fideism, which holds that faith is simply the will to believe, and argues that if God's existence were rationally demonstrable, faith in His existence would become superfluous. In The Justification of Knowledge, the Calvinist theologian Robert L. Reymond argues that believers should not attempt to prove the existence of God. Since he believes all such proofs are fundamentally unsound, believers should not place their confidence in them, much less resort to them in discussions with non-believers; rather, they should accept the content of revelation by faith. Reymond's position is similar to that of his mentor, Gordon Clark, which holds that all worldviews are based on certain unprovable first premises (or, axioms), and therefore are ultimately unprovable. The Christian theist therefore must simply choose to start with Christianity rather than anything else, by an unreasoned "leap of faith". This position is also sometimes called Presuppositional apologetics, but should not be confused with the Van Tillian variety discussed above. Salvation means being saved from suffering of some kind. ... This article discusses faith in a religious context. ... Christian theology practices theology from a Christian viewpoint or studies Christianity theologically. ... In Christian theology, fideism is any of a number of positions. ... Calvinism has been known at times for its simple, unadorned churches and lifestyles, as depicted in this painting by Emmanuel de Witte where the 17th century congregation stands to hear a sermon. ... Gordon Clark Gordon Haddon Clark (August 31, 1902-April 9, 1985) was an American philosopher and Calvinist theologian. ... For the algebra software named Axiom, see Axiom computer algebra system. ... Presuppositional apologetics is a school of Christian apologetics, a field of Christian theology that attempts to (1) present a rational basis for the Christian faith, (2) defend the faith against objections, and (3) attack the alleged flaws of other worldviews. ...


An intermediate position is that of Alvin Plantinga who holds that belief in the existence of God can be rational and indeed a species of knowledge, even though the existence of God cannot be demonstrated. After all, there are kinds of knowledge that are rational but do not proceed through demonstration: sensory knowledge, for instance. Alvin Plantinga (born 15 November 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in metaphysics and in the philosophy of religion. ...


God does not exist, and this can be proven

Strong atheism or positive atheism is the philosophical position that God or gods do not exist. It is contrasted with weak atheism, which is the lack or absence of belief in God or gods, without the claim that God or gods do not exist. The strong atheist positively asserts, at least, that no God or gods exist, and may go further and claim that the existence of some or all gods is logically impossible. For example, strong atheists commonly claim that the combination of attributes which the Christian God is asserted to have (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, transcendence, omnibenevolence, etc) is logically contradictory, incomprehensible, or absurd, and therefore that the existence of the Christian God is a priori impossible. Strong atheism or positive atheism is the philosophical position that God or gods do not exist. ... Weak atheism or negative atheism is the lack of belief in any God or gods, without a positive denial of the existence of any god or gods. ... The term God, capitalized in English language as a proper noun, is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ... This article is about deities or gods from a non-monotheistic perspective. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Omniscience is the capacity to know everything, or at least everything that can be known. ... Omnipresence is defined, in a general sense, as the ability to be present in every place at the same time; unbounded or universal presence. ... Transcendental in philosophical contexts In philosophy, transcendental experiences are experiences of an exclusively human nature that are other-worldly or beyond the human realm of understanding. ... Omnibenevolence is the property of being perfectly good, attributed by some religions to God. ... A priori is a Latin phrase meaning from the former or less literally before experience. In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or prior to, experience. ...


God has not been shown to exist

Weak atheism argues that merely pointing out the flaws or lack of soundness in all arguments for the existence of God is sufficient to show that God's existence is less probable than his nonexistence; by Occam's Razor (the principle of parsimony), the burden of proof lies on the advocate of that alternative which is less probable. By this reasoning, an atheist who is able to refute any argument for the existence of God encountered is justified in taking an atheist view; atheism is thus the "default" position, though some argue that it is more proper to consider agnosticism as the default. This objection is often stated in terms that relate it to the burden of proof: It is incumbent upon advocates of a God's existence to establish that fact, and they have not done so. Weak atheism or negative atheism is the lack of belief in any God or gods, without a positive denial of the existence of any god or gods. ... Occams Razor (also spelt Ockhams Razor), is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar, William of Ockham. ... In science, parsimony is the trait of being the least complicated explanation for an observation. ... Burden of proof is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. ... Atheism is the state either of being without theistic beliefs, or of actively disbelieving in the existence of deities. ... Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims, particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods or deities, are either unknown or inherently unknowable. ...


Arguments for the existence of God

Main article: Arguments for the existence of God

These arguments can be classified under two headings. First are the strictly logical or metaphysical arguments; these arguments seek to prove that the existence of a being with at least one attribute that only God could have is logically necessary. This article is in the process of being merged with Arguments against the existence of God. ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). ... Metaphysics (Greek words meta = after/beyond and physics = nature) is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of first principles and being (ontology). ... The term God, capitalized in English language as a proper noun, is often used to refer vaguely to a Supreme Being. ...


A dispute arose as to whether there are a number of proofs of the existence of God or whether all are not merely parts of one and the same proof (cf. Dr. C. Braig, Gottesbeweis oder Gottesbeweise?, Stuttgart, 1889). While all such proofs would end in the same way, by asserting the existence of God, they do not all start at the same place. St. Thomas calls them aptly (Summ. theol., I, Q. ii, a.3) Viæ; roads to the apprehension of God which all open on the same highway. St Thomas Aquinas Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – March 7, 1274) was an Italian Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition. ...


Metaphysical arguments

History of Metaphysical Arguments

  • 1078: St. Anselm, Proslogion.
  • 1264: St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa.
  • 1637: Descartes, Meditations.
  • 1680: Spinoza, Ethics.
  • 1709: Leibniz, New Essays Concerning Human Understanding.
  • 1776: Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Part IX
  • 1787: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason.
  • 1831: Hegel, Lectures of 1831.
  • 1884: Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic.
  • 1941: Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God.
  • 1960: Malcolm, "Anselm's Ontological Argument".
  • 1970: Lewis, "Anselm and Actuality".
  • 1974: Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity.
  • 1995: Gödel, Collected Works Volume III.

[1]


Taxonomy (kinds of Metaphysical Arguments)


Arguments include:

The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of God. ... The Absolute Infinite is Georg Cantors concept of an infinity that transcended the transfinite numbers. ... In theology and the philosophy of religion, an ontological argument for the existence of God is an argument that Gods existence can be proved a priori, that is, by intuition and reason alone. ... Pantheism (Greek: pan = all and Theos = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... Panentheism (Greek words: pan=all, en=in and Theos=God) is the view that God is immanent within all Creation and that the universe is part of God or that God is the animating force behind the universe. ... Look up Cosmology in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For the jazz band, see: Cosmology (band) Cosmology, from the Greek: κοσμολογία (cosmologia, κόσμος (cosmos) world + λογια (logia) discourse) is the study of the universe in its totality and by extension mans place in it. ...

Empirical arguments

Other arguments avail themselves of data beyond definitions and axioms. Some of these arguments require only that one assume that a non-random universe able to support life exists. Others are more strongly tied to the testimony of certain witnesses or the propositions of a specific revealed religion. These arguments include: For information on the last book of the New Testament see the entry on the Book of Revelation. ...

A teleological argument (or a design argument) is an argument for the existence of God based on evidence of design in nature. ... A telos (from the the greek word for end, purpose or goal) is an end or purpose, in a fairly constrained sense used by philosophers such as Aristotle. ... Intelligent Design (or ID) is the controversial assertion that certain parts of existence are best explained by positing an intelligent designer. ... The anthropic principle in its most basic form states that any valid theory of the universe must be consistent with our existence as carbon-based human beings at this particular time and place in the universe. ... This article is about witnesses in law courts. ... The Christological argument for the existence of God is a relatively modern argument. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life, teachings, death by crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as portrayed in the New Testament writings of his early followers. ... This 11th-century portrait is one of many images of Jesus in which a halo with a cross is used. ... The New Testament, sometimes called the Greek Testament or Greek Scriptures is the name given to the part of the Christian Bible that was written after the birth of Jesus. ... The Argument from consensus or argument from common consent can be summarized as follows. ... The argument from morality is one of several arguments for the existence of God. ... Transcendental reasoning is an inference pattern based upon the prerequisite conditions for the possibility of a given fact. ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). ... // What is science? There are different theories of what science is. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... This article is in the process of being merged with Arguments for the existence of God. ...

Subjective arguments for the belief in God

Inductive arguments for belief in God

  • Another class of philosophers asserts that the proofs for the existence of God present a fairly large probability but no absolute certainty. A number of obscure points, they say, always remain. In order to overcome these difficulties there is necessary either an act of the will, a religious experience, or the discernment of the misery of the world without God, so that finally the heart makes the decision. This view is maintained, among others, by the English statesman Arthur Balfour in his book The Foundations of Belief (1895). The opinions set forth in this work were adopted in France by Brunetiére, the editor of the Revue des deux Mondes. Many orthodox Protestants express themselves in the same manner, as, for instance, Dr. E. Dennert, President of the Kepler Society, in his work Ist Gott tot? (Stuttgart, 1908).

Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area  - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 1st UK 49,138,831 377/km² Ethnicity... The Right Honourable Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (25 July 1848 - 19 March 1930) was a British statesman and the thirty-third Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... 1895 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The Revue des Deux Mondes is a monthly French language magazine. ...

Arguments for belief in God grounded in subjective experience

  • The Scotch School led by Thomas Reid taught that the fact of the existence of God is accepted by us without knowledge of reasons but simply by a natural impulse. That God exists, this school said, is one of the chief metaphysical principles that we accept not because they are evident in themselves or because they can be proved, but because common sense obliges us to accept them.
  • The Argument from a Proper Basis argues that belief in God is "properly basic"--that is, similar to statements such as "I see a chair" or "I feel pain." Such beliefs are non-falsifiable and, thus, neither able to be proved nor disproved; they concern perceptual beliefs or indisputable mental states.
  • In Germany, the School of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi taught that our reason is able to perceive the suprasensible. Jacobi distinguished three faculties: sense, reason, and understanding. Just as sense has immediate perception of the material so has reason immediate perception of the immaterial, while the understanding brings these perceptions to our consciousness and unites them to one another (Stöckl, Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, II, 82 sqq.). God's existence, then, cannot be proved--Jacobi, like Kant, rejected the absolute value of the principle of causality--it must be felt by the mind.
  • In his Emile, Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserted that when our understanding ponders over the existence of God it encounters nothing but contradictions; the impulses of our hearts, however, are of more value than the understanding, and these proclaim clearly to us the truths of natural religion, namely, the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.
  • The same theory was advocated in Germany by Friedrich Schleiermacher (d. 1834), who assumed an inner religious sense by means of which we feel religious truths. According to Schleiermacher, religion consists solely in this inner perception, and dogmatic doctrines are unessential (Stöckl, loc. cit., 199 sqq.).
  • Many modern Protestant theologians follow in Schleiermacher's footsteps, and teach that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated; certainty as to this truth is only furnished us by inner experience, feeling, and perception.
  • Modernist Christianity also denies the demonstrability of the existence of God. According to them we can only know something of God by means of the vital immanence, that is, under favorable circumstances the need of the Divine dormant in our subconsciousness becomes conscious and arouses that religious feeling or experience in which God reveals himself to us. In condemnation of this view the oath against Modernism formulated by Pius X says: "Deum ... naturali rationis lumine per ea quae facta sunt, hoc est per visibilia creationis opera, tanquam causam per effectus certo cognosci adeoque demostrari etiam posse, profiteor." ("I declare that by the natural light of reason, God can be certainly known and therefore His existence demonstrated through the things that are made, i.e., through the visible works of Creation, as the cause is known through its effects.")

Thomas Reid Thomas Reid (April 26, 1710 - October 7, 1796), Scottish philosopher, and a contemporary of David Hume, was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense, and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. ... The term common sense (or as an adjective, commonsense) describes beliefs or propositions that seem, to most people, to be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge. ... Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (January 25, 1743 - March 10, 1819), was a German philosopher who made his mark on philosophy by coining the term nihilism and promoting it as the prime fault of Enlightenment thought and Kantianism. ... In philosophy, reason (from Latin ratio, by way of French raison) is the faculty by means of which or the process through which human beings perform thought, especially abstract thought. ... Emile (1762) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a treatise on education. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ... The soul according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is the ethereal substance — spirit (Hebrew:rooah or nefesh) — particular to a unique living being. ... Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (November 21, 1768 - February 12, 1834) was a theologian and philosopher. ... 1834 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Modernism, modernist Christianity, and liberalism are labels applied to proponents of a school of Christian thought which rose as a direct challenge to more conservative traditional Christian orthodoxy. ... Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye, 1929-30: The modern style is noted for its rigorous geometrical forms. ... Pope Pius X (1903-1914), pictured in 1904, wearing the 1834 Triple Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI Saint Pius X, né Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, (2 June 1835 - 20 August 1914) was Pope from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII. He was the first pope since the Counter-Reformation Pope... In its widest sense, creationism (from the Latin creatio) refers to the theological doctrine that all material in the universe was created by a divine agency, such as God, out of nothingness (ex nihilo). ...

Arguments against the existence of God

Main article: Arguments against the existence of God

While some theists argue that a god entirely transcends logic and that logical discourse about him is therefore meaningless, others would disagree with the assertion that a god has incompatible or incoherent properties. Each of the following arguments aims at proving that some particular conception of a god either is inherently meaningless, contradictory or contradicts known scientific and historical facts, and that therefore a god thus described cannot exist. This article is in the process of being merged with Arguments for the existence of God. ... Theism is the belief in one or more gods or goddesses. ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). ... The Incompatible-properties argument is the idea that no description of God is consistent with reality. ... An incoherency argument is a logical argument that attempts to show that two or more propositions are contradictory, and therefore that at least one (and possibly more) of those propositions must be incorrect. ... Reductio ad absurdum (Latin for reduction to the absurd, traceable back to the Greek ἡ εις το αδυνατον απαγωγη, reduction to the impossible, often used by Aristotle) is a type of logical argument where we assume a claim for the sake of argument, arrive at an absurd result, and then... // What is science? There are different theories of what science is. ... History Forums - History is Happening -Discuss all historical topics, as well as current events, in an academic setting. ...


Deductive arguments against the existence of God

  • Logically contradictory definitions show that the object so defined can not exist. A God who can do "anything" is logically contradictory because by logic he can't both cause a thing to be both True and False. This is often expressed as: Can God create a rock too big for himself to lift? Whether the answer is yes or no, God therefore can't do "anything". Responses to the self contradictory argument range from God is not limited to logic, to God can do "anything logic allows", to God has powers beyond our understanding but whether limited to logic or others things is unknowable, to God is "most powerful", to God has as least these powers (A, B, etc). The argument is a simple proof that a mindlessly broad brush definition of God is unhelpful in proving anything.
  • The argument from free will contests the existence of an omniscient god who has free will by arguing that the two properties are contradictory.
  • The Transcendental Argument for the Non-existence of God contests the existence of an intelligent Creator God by demonstrating that such a being would make logic and morality contingent, which is incompatible with the presuppositionalist assertion that they are necessary, and contradicts the efficacy of science. A more general line of argument based on TANG, materialist apologetics, seeks to generalize this argument to all necessary features of the universe and all god-concepts.
  • The "chicken or the egg" argument states that if the Universe had to be created by God because it must have a creator, then God, in turn would have had to be created by some other God, and so on.
  • Theological noncognitivism, as used in the literature, usually seeks to disprove the god-concept by showing that it is meaningless in some way.

The argument from free will is an argument against the existence of God which contends that omniscience and free will, properties ascribed to God by most monotheistic religions, are incompatible, and that any conception of God which incorporates both properties is therefore inherently contradictory. ... Omniscience is the capacity to know everything, or at least everything that can be known. ... Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to ourselves. ... The Transcendental Argument for the Non-existence of God (also called TANG) was first explicitly formulated by Michael Martin (philosopher) in a 1996 article in New Zealand Rationalist & Humanist [1]. It was first intended as a reply to the Transcendental argument for the existence of God, which argues that logic... Intelligent Design (or ID) is the controversial assertion that certain parts of existence are best explained by positing an intelligent designer. ... Theological noncognitivism is the argument that religious language, and specifically words like god, are not meaningful. ...

Subjective arguments against the existence of God

  • The argument from inconsistent revelations contests the existence of the Middle Eastern, Biblical deity called God as described in holy scriptures, such as the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Bible, or the Muslim Qur'an, by identifying contradictions between different scriptures, contradictions within a single scripture, or contradictions between scripture and known facts.
  • The problem of evil (or theodicy) in general, and the logical and evidential arguments from evil in particular contest the existence of a god who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent by arguing that such a god would not permit the existence of evil, which can easily be shown to exist.
  • The argument from nonbelief contests the existence of an omnipotent god who wants humans to believe in him by arguing that such a god would do a better job of gathering believers.
  • The argument from poor design contests the existence of an intelligent Creator God by arguing that much of nature is poorly designed.
  • The atheist-existentialist argument for the non-existence of God, if God is supposed to be a perfect sentient being: As presented by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness, it states that since existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. Sartre's phrasing is that God would be a pour-soi [a being-for-itself; a consciousness] who is also an en-soi [a being-in-itself; a thing]: which is a contradiction in terms. The argument is echoed thus in Salman Rushdie's novel Grimus: "That which is complete is also dead."
  • The "no motivation" argument states that if god is omnipotent, then he would not be motivated to act in any way, specifically creating the universe, since God would have anything God wanted in infinite amounts and would have no desires since there is no reason for God to have any. Since the universe exists, there is a contradiction and an omnipotent God cannot exist.

The Argument from Inconsistent Revelations, also known as the Avoiding the Wrong Hell Problem, is an argument against the existence of God. ... Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. ... 11th century Targum Tanakh [תנ״ך] (also spelt Tanach or Tenach) is an acronym for the three parts of the Hebrew Bible, based upon the initial Hebrew letters of each part: Torah [תורה] (The Law; also: Teaching or Instruction), Chumash [חומש] (The five, also Pentateuch or The five books of... Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life, teachings, death by crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as portrayed in the New Testament writings of his early followers. ... The holy jewish scripture: The Torah. ... Islam   listen? (Arabic: al-islām) the submission to God is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second largest and fastest-growing religion. ... The Quran (Arabic: al-qurān literally the recitation; also called Al Qurān Al KarÄ«m or The Noble Quran; or transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... In the philosophy of religion, “the problem of evil” is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god. ... Theodicy is a branch of theology that studies how the existence of a good or benevolent God is reconciled with the existence of evil. ... In the philosophy of religion, “the problem of evil” is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Omnibenevolence is the property of being perfectly good, attributed by some religions to God. ... Evil is a term describing that which is regarded as morally bad, intrinsically corrupt, wantonly destructive, inhumane, or wicked. ... The argument from nonbelief (also, the argument from divine hiddenness) is a recently-developed argument against the existence of God that is garnering interest in the philosophical community (J.L. Schellenberg, Daniel Howard-Snyder, and Theodore Drange are some of the important participants). ... In biology, what can be termed the argument from poor design is a counter-argument against the argument from design in which it is asserted that the existence of what is characterized as poor design in nature is evidence in favor of the theory of evolution, especially by means of... Intelligent Design (or ID) is the controversial assertion that certain parts of existence are best explained by positing an intelligent designer. ... For information about the band, see Atheist (band). ... Existentialism is a philosophical movement emphasizing individualism, individual freedom, and subjectivity. ... Jean Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ... Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology (1943) is a philosophical treatise by Jean_Paul Sartre that is regarded as the beginning of existentialism. ... Jean Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905–April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ... Salman Rushdie Salman Rushdie (born June 19, 1947, in Bombay, India) is an Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent. ...

See also

This article is in the process of being merged with Arguments against the existence of God. ... This article is in the process of being merged with Arguments for the existence of God. ... Atheism is the state either of being without theistic beliefs, or of actively disbelieving in the existence of deities. ... Strong atheism or positive atheism is the philosophical position that God or gods do not exist. ... Weak atheism or negative atheism is the lack of belief in any God or gods, without a positive denial of the existence of any god or gods. ... Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth values of certain claims, particularly theological claims regarding the existence of God, gods or deities, are either unknown or inherently unknowable. ... Rationalism, also known as the rationalist movement, is a philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching. ... Look up Polemic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Polemic is the art or practice of inciting disputation or causing controversy, for example in religious, philosophical, or political matters. ... Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... Gödels ontological proof is a formalization of Saint Anselms ontological argument for Gods existence by the mathematician Kurt Gödel. ... Apologetics is the field of study concerned with the systematic defense of a position. ... Metaphysics (Greek words meta = after/beyond and physics = nature) is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of first principles and being (ontology). ...

External links and references

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
    • Ontological Arguments about "arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists"
    • Pragmatic Arguments about arguments that encourage a belief in God without, necessarily, demonstrating that God exists.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Does God Exist? (1243 words)
The first is an argument that we must not treat Jesus as merely a great human teacher, that he was either a liar, a lunatic, or God incarnate.
Even if some or all of the arguments for the existence of God were judged to be plausible, if there were also convincing arguments against the existence of God then this would be reason to question whether those arguments for God’s existence really are as successful as they seem to be.
To read a summary of the arguments, begin with the overview of the four proofs of the existence of God.
BIGpedia - God - Encyclopedia and Dictionary Online (3989 words)
For instance, many Christian fundamentalists consider the God of Islam (Allah) to be a false god or demon (although theologians and linguists argue that "Allah" is merely the Arabic word for "God," and not the literal name of a specifically Muslim god).
Many Jews consider the messiah of Christianity (Jesus) to be a false god and some monotheists (notably fundamentalist Christians) hold that there is one triune God, and that all gods of other religions are actually demons in disguise (as in 2nd Corinthians 11 verse 14).
God is usually held to have the properties of holiness (separate from sin and incorruptible), justness (fair, right, and true in all His judgements), sovereignty (unthwartable in His will), omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing), omnibenevolence (all-loving), and omnipresence (all-present).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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