Presentation on theme: " Theist—one who believes in a personal god who rules the world. Agnostic—one who neither believes nor disbelieves in god. Atheist—one who disbelieves."— Presentation transcript:
Theist—one who believes in a personal god who rules the world. Agnostic—one who neither believes nor disbelieves in god. Atheist—one who disbelieves in god. Deist—one who believes that god created the universe and then abandoned it. Pantheist—one who believes that the universe is god.
Modern archaeology has failed to find confirming evidence for many of the Bible’s historical claims. Does this undercut the credibility of its non- historical claims? Why or why not?
God as Creator
Cosmological arguments for the existence of God attempt to derive the existence of God from the existence of the universe.
1.Some things are caused. 2.Nothing can cause itself. 3.Therefore, everything that is caused is caused by something other than itself. 4.The chain of causes cannot stretch infinitely backwards in time. 5.If the chain of causes cannot stretch infinitely backward in time, there must be a first cause. 6.Therefore, everything that is caused has a first cause, namely, God.
Even if there is a first cause, it doesn’t have to be God. The notion of an infinite string of causes is no more self-contradictory than the notion of an infinite string of numbers. So the universe itself may be eternal.
1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2.The universe began to exist. 3.Therefore, the universe had a cause, namely God.
Modern physics recognizes that some events have no cause. The “big bang” could have been the result of a prior “big crunch” either in this universe or some other.
God is eternal, but the universe seems to be only about 15 billion years old. Why, after an eternity of time had passed, did God decide to create a universe?
Teleological arguments for the existence of God try to derive the existence of God from the design or purpose of things.
Suppose you were walking across a meadow and came across a watch. Could you believe that the watch had always been there? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to believe that someone had designed it for the purpose of keeping time?
1.The universe resembles a watch. 2.Every watch has a designer. 3.Therefore, the universe probably has a designer, namely, God.
If God needs a universe to accomplish his ends, he is not omnipotent. Even if there is a designer, it need not have any of the other attributes traditionally associated with God, such as omniscience or omnibenevolence. The universe is as much like a living thing as a mechanism and living things reproduce without need of an external agent.
1.The universe exhibits apparent design. 2.The best explanation of this apparent design is that it was designed by a supernatural being. 3.Therefore it’s probable that the universe was designed by a supernatural being, namely, God.
Apparent design can also be explained by evolution. Evolution is a better explanation than the God-hypothesis because it is simpler, more conservative, has greater scope, and is more fruitful.
If there were structures that were so complex that they could not possibly have evolved through natural selection, there would be reason to believe that evolution was false. Michael Behe, a Lehigh University biochemist, claims to have found such structures. However, most biologists reject the notion that the parts of an irreducibly complex system could not have evolved independently of that system.
Suppose that life on Earth is the result of intelligent design. Some hypothesize that God was the intelligent designer, and others hypothesize that aliens were the intelligent designers. Which hypothesis – the God hypothesis or the extraterrestrial hypothesis – is the better explanation? Which hypothesis does better with respect to the criteria of adequacy?
Many people believe that the remarkable fine-tuning of many of the universe’s physical properties lends credibility to the notion that it was designed. If certain physical properties were slightly different then we wouldn’t exist. However, this fine-tuning needs to be explained only if it’s possible for the universe to be tuned differently than it is.
From an engineering point of view, human beings do not seem to be very well- designed—we get bulging disks, fragile bones, torn ligaments, varicose veins, cataracts, hearing loss, etc. Is this evidence against an intelligent designer?
Miracles are a violation of natural law by a supernatural being.
1.There are events that seem to be miracles. 2.The best explanation of these events is that they were performed by a miracle worker. 3.Therefore, there probably is a miracle worker, namely, God.
An oceanographer and a meteorologist have shown that the Red Sea could have parted naturally as a result of a wind of the sort described in the Bible. Does this undercut the notion that it was parted by God? Why or why not?
The miracle worker may not have any of the properties traditionally associated with God. Something may seem to be a miracle simply because we are unaware of the natural laws at work.
Many of the “miracles” associated with Jesus were of the same kind performed by magicians of his day. Origen claimed that they would have been fraudulent if used to make money but Jesus used them to inspire religious awe. Is Origen’s reasoning cogent? Why or why not?
Five miraculous events recorded in the Bible are unconfirmed by archaeology: ◦ (1) the parting of the Red Sea, (2) the stopping of the Sun, (3) the reversal of the sun’s course, (4) the feeding of thousands, (5) the resurrection of saints. Is the fact that they are unconfirmed reason to believe that they didn’t occur?
1.People have experiences that seem to be of God. 2.The best explanation of these experiences is that they are of God. 3.Therefore, it’s probable that God exists.
Michael Persinger has discovered that religious experience can be generated by activating the temporal lobes of the brain. Does the fact that religious experience can be produced electronically undercut the claim that they are produced supernaturally? Why or why not?
Religious experiences can be explained as the result of abnormal states of consciousness brought on by drugs, meditation, sensory deprivation, etc. These explanations are better than the God hypothesis because they are simpler, more conservative, more fruitful, and have more scope.
1.God, by definition, is the greatest being possible. 2.If God exists only in our minds, then it is possible for there to be a being greater than God, namely a being like God that exists in reality. 3.But it is not possible for there to be a being greater than God. 4.Therefore, God must exist in reality.
Consider the most perfect island imaginable. If it only existed in our minds, it wouldn’t be the most perfect island imaginable. Therefore, it must exist in reality.
To say that something exists only in the understanding is to say that the concept of the thing doesn’t apply to anything in reality. Contrary to what Anselm would have us believe, this doesn’t involve a contradiction.
1.God, by definition, possesses all possible perfections. 2.Existence is a perfection. 3.Therefore, God exists.
Suppose someone discovers a new animal—a gangle—that has eleven noses, seven blue eyes, bristly hair, sharp teeth and wheels in the place of feet. Suppose now that someone says that, in addition, gangles exist. Do we learn something new about the nature of gangles?
Existence is not a property of things. Existence is not a perfection. (It’s not always better to exist than not to exist.) The first premise of Descartes’s argument should read: “If God exists, then He possesses all possible perfections.” The conclusion, then, would be: “If God exists, then He exists.”
By some estimates, humans have worshipped more than three thousand different gods throughout history. So monotheists don’t believe in thousands of other gods. The difference between atheists and monotheists, then, is that atheists believe in one less god than monotheists. If monotheists are rationally justified in not believing in thousands of other gods, are atheists equally justified in not believing in the god of the monotheists? Why or why not?
If you wager that God exists, and He does, you win everything. If He doesn’t, you lose nothing. So you should wager that God exists.
Herb Silverman claims that if God exists, He would prefer to be with intelligent, honest, rational people who base their beliefs on evidence rather than faith. So he proposes Silverman’s wager: “If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by not believing in Him, while if He does exist, one will lose everything by believing.” Is this a better bet than Pascal’s?
God may not care whether people believe in Him. God may punish those who believe on purely selfish grounds. God may not like gamblers. It may not be true that we lose nothing by believing in God.
Suppose that we are visited by aliens from outer space and find that they have no religion and have never heard of any of the gods worshipped by humans. Would this undermine the credibility of our religions? Would it be appropriate to try to try to evangelize the aliens and convert them to one of our religious? Why or why not?