Saturday, February 24, 2018

Twenty Arguments for God -- Part 1

Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God

The Argument from Change
The Argument from Efficient Causality
The Argument from Time and Contingency
The Argument from Degrees of Perfection
The Design Argument
The Kalam Argument
The Argument from Contingency
The Argument from the World as an Interacting Whole
The Argument from Miracles
The Argument from Consciousness
The Argument from Truth
The Argument from the Origin of the Idea of God
The Ontological Argument
The Moral Argument
The Argument from Conscience
The Argument from Desire
The Argument from Aesthetic Experience
The Argument from Religious Experience
The Common Consent Argument
Pascal's Wager

WOW! So much to tackle here I doubt even Lawrence Taylor could take them all out!  So, let's start out with just a couple.  And remember this is just an introduction there is more to read at the original site (by Peter Kreeft) and there is much more to read on all of these from so many different quality sources.  Without further ado (what does "ado" really mean anyways!?), let's start with Pascal's Wager.

History of the "Argument"

Well first, let me explain why I put argument in quotes there.  To be honest, it's because this really isn't an argument for God's existence.  Arguments for God's existence typically end with something like "... therefore God exists."  Or, "... therefore it is reasonable to believe that God exists."  Or something like that.  This apologetic statement comes from--well it was really just made famous by Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) (I know, another long-dead guy who wrote in riddles, stick with me here) in a fragmented, unfinished work called Pensées (French for "thoughts," I don't think the title was well thought out--rimshot).  Though Pascal was the philosopher, mathematician, theologian that made the idea famous it has been bandied about a lot by others including some ancient Greek philosophers--read the link here if you really want more info.

The "Form" of the "Argument"

Again, I use quotation marks because there really isn't a formal argument here, more like a question about where you should put your trust.  If God exists belief in God means you stand to gain everything.  If God does exist and you don't believe in God, you lose everything.  If God doesn't exist, belief in God gains you little but disbelief in God also doesn't gain you anything.  It's kinda like a heads I win tails I don't lose.  It might sound a bit calloused, but there's something to be said for this.  It might be easier to look at a table:

You bet that God existsYou bet that God does not exist
God exists+ (infinite gain)- (infinite loss)
God does not exist- (finite loss)+ (finite gain)


The easiest and most common objection to this is simply, "Believe in which God?" or, which version of Christianity.  There is no easy answer, which is one of the reasons why I don't typically use this type of argument with an unbeliever.


Does this really convince people to believe in God?  Should we be setting up people with "fire insurance" style Christianity?  What this wager is good for is to show that there's nothing inherently bad about belief in God.  To get belief in God back in the playing field of ideas.  Again, this is merely an introduction to the idea and there are many who take it much deeper than we have space for here.  But, suffice it to say, this isn't a bad idea.  Belief in God has infinite gains if God exists and is still a gain even if God doesn't exist.  It's a win-win situation.

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