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Arguments for the Existence of God

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Presentation on theme: "Arguments for the Existence of God"— Presentation transcript:

1 Arguments for the Existence of God
Adapted from the work of Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. acelli

2 Argument from design

3 God as the Designer Where there is a design there must be a designer
Consider the different nationalities, personalities, likes, dislikes creativity etc. that exists amongst people CONCLUSION: there must be a universal designer

4 The Human Brain The human brain best represents this argument
Most complex piece of design in the universe Consider what the brain is responsible for and capable of doing Is it truly reasonable to think that the human brain developed by chance—by chance it is more advanced than other animals??? If it were developed by chance we would all be the same

5 Anthropic Principle Universe has been specifically designed from the beginning for human life to evolve If the temperature of the primal fireball that created the Big Bang was a trillionth of a degree off, the carbon molecule would not have developed The same is true for the development of the hemoglobin molecule s_view_on_big_bang_theory/

6 Atheism and Argument from Design
Improbable argument that the universe was created by chance Relatively few atheists among neurologists, brain surgeons and astrophysicists A universe designed and ruled by chance has no intelligence Therefore, there must be a cause for human intelligence that transcends that universe

7 Evolution Beautiful example of design Scientific evidence of evolution
No scientific evidence of natural selection as the mechanism of evolution NOTE: Catholics do believe in evolution—we are not creationists

8 The first cause argument

9 Principle of Sufficient Reason
Everything that is has some adequate or sufficient reason why it is We look for physical, psychological and supernatural causes We may never find the cause, but there must be one if something exists Never deny this principle

10 The First Cause The universe is a vast and complex chain of causes
Without a first cause, there would be an infinite number of causes It would have to explain itself If it didn’t, it would also need a cause, and would not therefore be the first cause It would have to transcend all other causes If we can prove there is such a first cause, we have proven there is a God

11 Why??? Without a first cause, the whole universe is unexplained
Each thing would be explained only in the “short run” or in relation to something else The Principle of Sufficient Reason would be violated Consider a chain with many links: each link is held by the one before it, but the whole chain is held by nothing

12 Contingent and Necessary Beings
Contingent: beings that need causes; their essence does not contain the reason for their existence; DEPENDENT Necessary: a being whose essence is to exist The universe contains only contingent beings If there is not independent being, there are no dependent beings Sine dependent beings exist, there has to be an independent = GOD

13 STA’s First Version of the Argument
CAUSE OF MOTION The chain of movers must have a first mover because nothing move itself Moving: any kind of change (not just location)

14 STA’s Second Version of the Argument
CAUSE OF A BEGINNING TO EXISTENCE If there were no first cause of the universe’s coming into being, then there could be no second causes Second causes are dependent on the first cause

15 STA’s Third Version of the Argument
CAUSE OF PRESENT EXISTENCE If everything could die, then eventually everything would die NOTHING COULD START AGAIN Universal death since a being that has ceased to exist cannot cause anything else to exist There must be a necessary being that cannot cease to be

16 STA’s Fourth Version of the Argument
CAUSE OF GOODNESS OR VALUE Must be a first cause of perfection, goodness or value Need a standard (the ideal) by which things are ranked Without a most-perfect being, there is no standard to judge by All of our judgments would be meaningless


18 Obligation To Be and Do Good
Everyone knows that he is obligated to be and do good Obligation could only come from God Therefore, everyone knows God by this moral intuition = conscience

19 Conscience Modern definition: feeling that I have done or am about to do something wrong Traditional definition: knowledge of what is right and wrong—intellect applied to morality Intuitive knowledge not rational or analytical Knowledge of my absolute obligation to goodness (justice, charity, virtue and holiness) Second-place knowledge: moral facts (what’s right/wrong)

20 Authority of Conscience
Must admit its authority for this argument to work Most people admit the premise (though it may be explained differently) Once you admit the premise of the authority of conscience, you must admit the conclusion of God The only possible source of absolute authority is an absolutely perfect will, a divine being

21 Why must the authority come from a divine being?
If the moral idea exists only in the mind of people, what right do they have to impose this idea of theirs on me? There is no instinct that should always be obeyed Instinct doesn’t tell us what we ought to do Society cannot determine conscience as it doesn’t mean something above human beings

22 Forming our Conscience
First obligation to our conscience is to form it We may not always hear the voice right Must seek the truth If our conscience seems to be going against the truth, it is not working properly In other words, don’t merely rely on the feelings—rely on knowledge

23 JOURNAL TOPIC Reflect on the following quotation from Peter Kreeft’s article “Argument from Conscience”: “Conscience tells you that you ought to do or not do something, while instincts simply drive you to do or not to do something. Instincts make something attractive or repulsive to your appetites, but conscience makes something obligatory to your choice, no matter how your appetites feel about it.”

24 The Argument from pascal’s wager

25 Pascal 17th Century philosopher, scientist and mathematician
Lived in a time of great skepticism, and thus forms his work Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments Doesn’t prove God’s existence but argues it’s safer to assume He does than to assume he doesn’t

26 The Wager Suppose you hear reports that your house is on fire and your children are inside. You do not know whether the reports are true or false. What is the reasonable thing to do—to ignore them or to take the time to run home or at least phone home just in case the reports are true?

27 Hedging Your Bets with God
It is foolish not to “bet” on God, even if you have no certainty or proof that your bet will win Believing in God only as a bet is not deep or mature or adequate faith, but it’s a start—it’s enough to “dam the tide of atheism” Appeals to the instinct for self-preservation (to be happy and not unhappy)

28 Betting is Better than Agnosticism
The agnostic says it is better not to wager at all If you don’t wager, you have no chance of winning—you automatically lose

29 Only One LOGICAL Choice
Once it is determined that not choosing isn’t an option (because you can’t win if you don’t choose), there are two choices 1) God does not exist (atheism) 2) God does exist (theism) ***atheism is a bad bet = no chance of winning

30 Theism = Winning If you believe in God and He exists, you win everything If you believe in God and He doesn’t exist, you lose nothing However, if you don’t believe, and He does exist, you lose everything!

31 Is it worth the price??? Whatever you must give up to bet on God is finite (only of this world) The prize is infinite (eternal happiness) Giving up illicit pleasures to gain infinite happiness is reasonable Living with peace, hope, joy, etc. makes this life good and the possibility of the next life VERY good

32 Practical Objection to the Wager
The listener just cannot bring himself to believe According to Paschal, if you’re unable to believe, it is because your passions are blinding you Instead of concentrating on the proofs of God, diminish your passions

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