The existence of God has been a topic of debate for centuries. There are various arguments for the existence of God, and each argument has its strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will evaluate the most common arguments for the existence of God, as well as the most compelling objections against them. We will also discuss which arguments we find most persuasive and why.
Before we get involved any further, I will clarify here that this could apply to any sort of Abrahamic, Prime Mover, Necessary Being etc. style deity.
The ontological argument for the existence of God states that the concept of God exists in our minds and that if God exists only in our minds, then God is not a necessary being. However, if God is a necessary being, then God must exist in reality as well. This argument has been debated for centuries, and its strength lies in its logic*. However, its weakness is that it relies on the concept of God being necessary, which is a matter of opinion.
*By strength of logic, I refer to the structure of the argument and the fact it is logically valid.
There’s a variety of different ontological arguments that slightly change the shape of the claim and objections, but they do rely on one accepting premises that are matters of opinion.
The cosmological argument for the existence of God states that everything that begins to exist must have a cause, and that cause must be God. The strength of this argument is that it is based on observable phenomena, such as the Big Bang theory. However, its weakness is that it assumes that God is the only possible cause, and that there could not be other causes that we are not aware of. In fact, the cosmological argument in its most basic form is really only effective at making the argument for the first cause, and could equally be used for naturalism.
It also suffers as there are some things that seem to have no direct cause, like quantum twitches (virtual particles) and assumes the universe as a whole has to play by the same rules as everything contained within the universe.
Please note, there are various forms of the cosmological argument and they are worth looking into for a full understanding.
- Cosmological Argument (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
- Why Do I Believe No Gods Exist?
- Knowledge and Certainty (addressing the Kalam through theories of knowledge)
The teleological argument for the existence of God states that the universe and its inhabitants are so complex that they must have been designed by an intelligent being, which is God. The strength of this argument is that it is based on empirical evidence, such as the complexity of DNA. However, its weakness is that it assumes that complexity equals design, and that there could not be other explanations for the complexity of the universe.
Douglas Adam’s puddle analogy shows another flaw in the argument from design, however, I do admit to being in awe of how the universe works.
The moral argument for the existence of God states that moral laws require a moral lawgiver, which is God. The strength of this argument is that it explains why we have a sense of morality, and why we feel compelled to follow moral laws. However, its weakness is that it assumes that morality is objective and that there could not be other explanations for why we have a sense of morality.
Even if morality is objective that would not entail a deity. Whilst a particular God might entail a form of objective morality, moral objectivism doesn’t entail a deity.
Pascal’s Wager is an argument for the existence of God that states that it is better to believe in God, even if there is no evidence for God’s existence, because the consequences of not believing in God are much worse than the consequences of believing in God. The strength of this argument is that it is practical and pragmatic. However, its weakness is that it assumes that belief in God is a matter of choice, and that we can simply choose to believe in God even if we do not find the arguments for God’s existence convincing.
Pascal’s Wager is one of those arguments that wasn’t actually designed for atheists, it’s for those who are starting to doubt, starting to lose their faith, and to encourage them to “keep it up” – effectively, we could put Pascal’s Wager in a very modern phrase, “Fake it till you make it!”
Objections to the Arguments for the Existence of God
One of the most compelling objections to the arguments for the existence of God is the problem of evil. If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, then why does evil exist in the world? Another objection is the problem of the uncaused cause. If everything that exists must have a cause, then what caused God? These objections are difficult to refute, and proponents of the arguments for the existence of God have developed various responses to them.
In conclusion, the arguments for the existence of God are complex and multifaceted. Each argument has its strengths and weaknesses, and each objection to these arguments is compelling in its own right. Ultimately, whether or not one believes in God is a matter of personal belief and conviction. It is up to each individual to evaluate the arguments and objections for themselves and come to their own conclusions.
Please let me know if you would like any more detail on any of them.
For some of the best arguments against gods, do check out the Real Atheology website: https://realatheology.com/ and their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/RealAtheology.
I’m Joe. I write under the name Davidian, not only because it is a Machine Head song I enjoy but because it was a game character I used to role-play that was always looking to better himself.
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