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Philosophical Arguments about God and Religion. Bell Ringer…First things first…answer some questions  What does the word “God” mean to you?  Do you.

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Presentation on theme: "Philosophical Arguments about God and Religion. Bell Ringer…First things first…answer some questions  What does the word “God” mean to you?  Do you."— Presentation transcript:

1 Philosophical Arguments about God and Religion

2 Bell Ringer…First things first…answer some questions  What does the word “God” mean to you?  Do you believe in a God?  If so, where does this belief come from? (If not, where does this belief come from?)  What is the purpose of (a) God?  Is God and religion the same thing?  Can the Universe exist with a God? (why/why not)  Is morality/ethics tied to the belief in a God?

3 Bell Ringer…Make a list… Why do People believe in God?  Religion includes God as part of their belief system.  Parents instill the idea.  Conclude on their own existence of a supreme being.  Life makes sense with God  Explains why humans exist  To keep things in the universe in Harmony and under control.

4 Agenda and Objectives…  Through notes and discussion, students will be able to differentiate between Theism, Deism, Atheism, and Agnosticism as well as identify the three major philosophical beliefs in supporting God’s existence.

5 Some Terms to Know…  Theism- the belief in a god or gods.  Atheism- the absence of belief in God, or an active disbelief in God.  Agnosticism- the “indecision concerning God’s existence,” or the view that the existence/non- existence of God can not be proven.  Deism- affirm the existence of God, but deny that God has revealed himself as it is claimed by the monotheistic religions  Evil-the intent to cause harm, “negative moral acts or thoughts that are cruel, unjust, or selfish.”

6 Bell Ringer….Review!  Theism  Atheism  Deism  Omnipotent  Omnipresent  Omniscient  Agenda and Objective: Through notes and discussion, students will identify the Ontological Argument and its critics.

7 For the Existence of God  For many, God is omnipotent, meaning “One having unlimited power or authority.”  Omniscient, “knowing everything that can be known.”  And also, omnipresent, meaning “the state of being everywhere at once.”

8 Arguments for Existence…  Ontological argument  Cosmological argument  Teleological argument  Moral argument

9 1,2, or 3  #1- Read and be prepare to discuss St. Anslem  #2- Read and be prepare to discuss St. Thomas Aquinas  #3- Read and be prepared to discuss William Paley

10 The Ontological Argument (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) I have two apples (2) I have two additional apples (3)  I have four apples.

11 The Ontological Argument (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) I have two apples (2) I have two additional apples (3)  I have four apples.

12 The Ontological Argument (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) I have two apples (2) I have two additional apples (3)  I have four apples. No Experience Necessary.

13 The Ontological Argument (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) I have two apples (2) I have two additional apples (3)  I have four apples. A priori Necessary.

14 (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) I have two apples (2) I have two additional apples (3)  I have four apples. A priori Necessary. Bachelor = Unmarried by definition = 4 by definition. f

15 (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) X is that which nothing greater can be conceived. (2) Existence in reality is better than existence in the mind. (3) God exists in reality. A priori Necessary. Bachelor = Unmarried by definition.

16 (1) Jim is a bachelor (2)  Jim is unmarried. (1) X is that which nothing greater can be conceived. (2) Existence in reality is better than existence in the mind. (3) X exists in reality. A priori Necessary. Bachelor = Unmarried by definition.

17 The Ontological Argument  St. Anslem  The argument for the existence of God is one that doesn’t depend on premises that are grounded in experience.  Central to Anselm’s argument is a distinction between two ‘kinds of existence’:  1. For a thing to exist in reality is for it to be part of reality, to really exist.  2. For a thing to exist in understanding is for someone to have an idea (concept, thought) of that thing. (like saying you have something ‘on your mind’.)  he knew God’s existence by faith (faith as knowledge)

18 Argument outline  Suppose you could conceive of God’s nonexistence  Then you could think of something greater than God-- something just like God, but existing  God is “a being than which none greater can be conceived.”  But nothing can be conceived as greater than God  So, God’s nonexistence is inconceivable!

19 Another way to think of it...  Anselm in effect defines God as a perfect being  A perfect being must have all perfections– omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence...  Existence is a perfection (or so Anselm seems to say)  Therefore, God must have existence – God must exist  To deny this is self-contradictory  It would be like saying: "Triangles have three sides by definition, but there is a triangle with only two sides"

20 The form of the argument  Note that Anselm's argument is a reductio ad absurdum  It offers a proof that God exists by  – Assuming that God doesn't exist, and  – Arguing that this leads to an absurdity  This would mean: we must reject the assumption that God doesn't exist.

21 Objections  There are various classic objections to the classic argument  One tries to show that the argument is invalid  – that if we reason the same way in other cases, we get false conclusions  Another tries to show that the argument is based on a confusion about the notion of existence

22 Gaunilo, a monk who was a contemporary of St. Anselm, offered an influential reply to the ontological argument.

23 Gaunilo’s objection  We could define ‘the perfect island’ as the island than which none greater can be conceived. Then, by the same reasoning, we could ‘prove’ the existence (in reality) of such an island.  But this is absurd. So there must be some fault in Anselm’s reasoning. (Note, this doesn’t show exactly what the fault is, only that there must be one.)  A possible reply: the perfect island, unlike God, can’t be conceived to exist in reality. For any island we think of, we can think of a greater island. The perfect island is like the greatest number.  Is God really different in this respect? Perhaps the idea that God is an ‘infinite being’ is relevant here.

24 Objection 2- Immanuel Kant  claims that ‘existence is not a predicate’.  (A predicate is a word or phrase whose function is to attribute a property to things, e.g. the predicate ‘red’ attributes the property of redness.)  When we say that a thing exists, claims Kant, we do not attribute to it a new property, in addition its other properties.  According to Anselm, if God didn’t exist (in reality), then he would lack a property, existence, that contributes to greatness. But Kant says this makes no sense, because existence is not a property, like redness, that a thing can either have or lack!

25 Huh?  “To see this more clearly, suppose that we give a complete description of an object, of its size, its weight, its color, etc. If we then add that the object exists, then in asserting that it exists we add nothing to the concept of the object. The object is the same whether it exists or not; it is the same size, the same weight, the same color, etc. The fact that the object exists, that the concept is exemplified in the world, does not change anything about the concept. To assert that the object exists is to say something about the world, that it contains something that matches that concept; it is not to say anything about the object itself.”

26 Getting to the point…  If Kant believes that existence is not a property of objects, then it is impossible to compare a God that exists to a God that does not!  A God that exists and a God that does not are qualitatively identical!

27 Good Morning!  Bell Ringer…  Agenda and Objective: Through notes and survey, students will identify the Teleological argument as well as evaluated one’s rational consistency in believing in God.  What is the Cosmological argument?  What is Pascal’s wager?

28 The Cosmological Argument  St Thomas Aquinas  Everything that exists must have a cause. The universe exists, therefore it must have a cause. This “first cause” is God.

29 Argument’s premises 1. the universe exists 2. everything that exists has a cause 3. causes precede their effects 4. the chain of cause & effect cannot go back in time indefinitely (an infinite regress) 5. therefore, there must be a ‘first cause’ that is not itself an effect (ie. it has no prior cause) 6. since everything has a cause, this first cause must be the cause of itself (ie. it must necessarily exist) 7. this self-caused first cause is God 8. therefore, God exists

30 Flaws…  it is conceivable that the chain of cause & effect extends back into infinity. By way of contrast, consider the future… do you suppose the future has a specific ending point?  It is based on the assumption that everything has a cause. This then begs the question – if this ‘first cause’ is God, what caused God?  if one accepts the idea of a ‘first cause’ (ie. something that has always existed), it can be argued that the universe may always have existed. The regress could end with the necessary existence of the universe. It need not end with the positing of God as a ‘first cause’.

31 Variations..  the Kalam cosmological argument ► relies on the premise that the universe has a beginning in time  the Modal cosmological argument ► is based on the premise that the universe stretches back into eternity

32 Blaise Pascal ( )  Does God exist?  Place your bet  Total uncertainty— no data  What should you do?

33 Pascal’s Wager  “Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”

34 The argument…  One does not know whether God exists.  Not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God does exist.  Believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist.  Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.

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36 The Teleological Argument  Teleological comes from the Greek word ‘telos’ – meaning ‘design’ or ‘purpose ’ 1. the complexity of life on earth and the harmonious organization of living organisms exhibits evidence of intelligent design 2. a design necessitates the presence of a designer ∴ that designer is God

37  William Paley’s argument from design.  argued that the complexity & efficiency of natural objects (ex. the eye, the brain, etc.) are evidence that they must have been purposefully designed.  How else could they have come to be as they are – perfectly adapted for the purpose they serve?

38  Paley uses a watch & its maker to draw an analogy.  Just by looking at a watch and all its intricate parts working together in unison, we can tell that it was designed by a watchmaker. So, just by examining the complexity of the eye and how it suits its purpose so well (to see), it must have been designed by some sort of ‘Divine Watchmaker’ (God).

39 Critics: David Hume  it assumes without justification that there is a significant resemblance between objects which occur naturally (ex. the eye) and those which have been designed by humans (ex. a watch). Is there a strong similarity between the two sufficient to make the analogy strong?  Hume argued that we cannot infer from the fact that examples of order in our universe have human causes (ex. the watch) that the universe as a whole has a cause & has been designed, because the universe is unique.  Therefore, because the universe is unique, we cannot rely on analogy to explain it.

40 Also…  If the world/universe was designed, who designed the designer?  the argument of design tells us little about God except God is a design-producing being. The argument doesn’t allow us to draw any conclusions as to God’s nature or character beyond that. The design argument doesn’t prove the existence of only one God, as there may be multiple designers.

41 Welcome Back!  Grab a computer, log on, an put to the side. (we’ll use them later)  Bell ringer…What are the three philosophical arguments for the existence of God?  Agenda and objective: Through notes students will identify the moral argument and through a survey students will test their consistency in their argument.

42 Darwin  the scientific theory of evolution now provides an explanation of how complex life develops without the need for a ‘designer’.  by a process of survival of the fittest explains how adaptations to environments have occurred, without needing to introduce the notion of God.

43 Kant’s Moral Argument argued that man must assume the existence of God and life after death if he is to make sense of his desire for happiness and his moral duty. believed that the uniting of man's desire for happiness with man's moral duty could not occur in this life or without God's power. Therefore, it is morally necessary (not rationally necessary) to assume God's existence.

44  It’s rational to be moral only if it’s rewarded  That doesn’t happen in this life  It must happen in another life  So, there must be an afterlife, and a just God

45 The Formal Moral Argument  (1) Morality consists of a set of commands. (2) For every command there is a commander. Therefore: (3) There is a commander that commanded morality. (4) Commands only carry as much authority as does their commander. (5) Morality carries ultimate authority. Therefore: (6) The commander that commanded morality carries ultimate authority. (7) Only God carries ultimate authority. Therefore: (8) The commander that commanded morality is God. Therefore: (9) God exists.

46 The Perfectionist Moral Argument  1) We ought to be morally perfect. (2) If we ought to be morally perfect, then we can be morally perfect. (3) We cannot be morally perfect unless God exists. Therefore: (4) God exists.  takes the fact that there is a gap between our moral duties and what we are capable of doing to imply the existence of God.  we cannot achieve moral perfection by our own strength, but we can do so with God’s help, which is available to us. God can forgive us; God can take the punishment for our sins; God can restore us to righteousness.

47 “battleground of rational consistency”

48 The Problem of Evil: How Can an All-Good, All-Powerful God Exist and There Still Be Evil in the World?

49 What is EVIL? There are two types of evil:  Moral evil: deliberately caused by humans e.g cruelty  Natural evil: things which happen accidentally such as earthquakes and floods. Many people think that the existence of evil and suffering in the world shows that there is no God or if he exists, he(she) is unkind.

50 The Problem of Evil  If God exists, He is all good, all knowing, and all powerful  If He is all good, He is willing to prevent evil  If He is all knowing, He knows how to prevent it  If He is all powerful, He can prevent it  But evil exists  So, God does not exist

51 Good Morning! Bell Ringer  What are two types of evil?  Agenda and Objectives: Through readings and discussions students will analyze the debate over God and suffering.

52 Good Morning! Bell Ringer…  What is the Teleological argument?  What is the ontological argument?  What is cosmological argument?  What is a criticism for each argument?  Agenda and Objectives: Through notes, discussion, and a reading students will understand the moral argument for existence as well as identify arguments pertaining to evil.

53 Welcome Back!  Bell Ringer…review for your quiz!  Agenda and Objective: Through notes and discussion, students will identify the Ontological Argument and its critics.

54 Good morning…bell ringer  Review with your neighbor Hick and Dostoevsky’s view about a Moral God.  Agenda and Objectives: Through readings and discussions students will analyze the debate over God and suffering.

55 Good Morning…Bell Ringer (Article questions…)  List 3 arguments of Mrs. Schnapper that tie morality to God.  How are these arguments refuted?  What is her argument on page 107? Why is it flawed?  Why do we try to act good? (pages )  Agenda and Objectives: Through readings and discussions students will analyze the debate over God and suffering.

56  God and evil are not reconcilable: evil is real, so is God, and that situation is senseless.  Suffering (e.g., of children and animals) is never made up and is unforgiveable. It has no purpose or rationale: that is why faith is not rational and does not make sense Dostoevsky

57 John Hick  experience of evil is part of the process by which we evolve into moral beings Response: the horrific suffering necessary for such moral development is inconsistent with the existence of a loving God!

58 Why does God allow suffering? FREE WILL was given by God but sometimes people do not use it wisely. Because gave them freedom they have the opportunity to make wrong choices – and this is when we see evil and suffering!

59 Let’s Debate! But first, let’s review some arguments Atheists would have with evil.  Reply 1: evil is simply the absence of the good or real: it follows from being imperfect (Augustine) Response: why, then, does God create at all?  Reply 2: evil is defined from our perspective Response: this makes evil (& good) unreal  Reply 3: evil is necessary to appreciate the good; it allows us to become moral beings Response: why can’t God produce good without causing evil? Is evil then ultimately good? And why so much evil? What does a dying infant learn through suffering?  Reply 4: evil results from free choices Response: this doesn’t explain natural evil (e.g., storms)

60 : Freud: religion provides us with the delusion of a father figure who protects us from the anxieties of life Kant: morality requires the coincidence of virtue and happiness, which can be accomplished only by God : Marx: religion is our “opium” to compensate for socio-political alienation Second, Review of agnosticism…We don’t know if God exists. So why do people believe in God?

61 "Dawkins Theist-Atheist Scale” (page 50 from Richard Dawkin’s God Delusion)  1.00: Strong theist. 100 percent possibility of God. In the words of C. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.'  2.00: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there  3.00: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.'  4.00: Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'  5.00: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I don't know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical.'  6.00: Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'  7:00: Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung 'knows' there is one.'

62 Debate Paper

63 Debate Scenario  Your teacher is in the midst of an existential funk. She is questioning not only her own existence but the existence of a Judean-Christian god. Please give her advice…  Is she wasting her time with all this ballyhoo about some god, the creator of all things?  Should she should snap herself out of her disbelief and realize that there is a god who is ultimately good, all powerful, and all knowing?  Or should she just not worry about it, knowing that there is no way to prove either case and just roll the dice and wait for the outcome when she dies. (Is this really just a cop- out?)


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