Proof of God
There are several methods being used in an attempt to prove God must exist. Two are presented here.
First, there is an ontological argument, where a sequence of statements reaches the conclusion that God exists in reality.
As mentioned in several other topics in this site, some people have the need for a belief in God while others do not. This argument rests solely on thinking about 'something which nothing greater can be thought' and whether a conclusion can be drawn from that thinking.
Step 4 states it is impossible to think of an entity greater than this conceptual (does not exist in reality) 'greatest of all thought' but that also exists in reality. Having reached that logical conclusion about the limit on thinking about reality, step 5 follows with the observation that entity that is 'something than which nothing greater can be thought' must exist in reality because nothing greater than it can also exist in reality. Step 6 concludes therefore whatever this is that is called 'something than which nothing greater can be thought' must exist in reality.
St Anselm posits in step 1 that God is a concept at the limit of our understanding, but this concept is simply an expression of whatever we choose to call something at the limit of understanding, which could be a wizard behind the curtain like in Oz that magically affects our reality even though there is no way to use our senses to detect this supernatural presence. Since this is only a thought exercise, having nothing to do with any observation of the universe, the 'something than which nothing greater can be thought' could even be the FSM.
If someone is comfortable believing there is 'something than which nothing greater can be thought' and that 'something' exists in reality then that belief is the personal choice (in this case just a thought exercise, like in step 6). Some people have that need while others do not; everyone does not have the same religious needs. If I am supposed to succumb to this logical reasoning via these 6 steps then I must be deficient in logic where the thought exercise is not adequately convincing.
Second there is a presentation of causality, from this article within a multiple part series about Edward Feser's book The Last Superstition.
The scenario described involved pulling the trigger on a gun and out flies the bullet. In the sequence, something that was at rest becomes moving or changing. In this trigger per se series, all changes in potentials are caused by something before them so the mechanical sequence must begin with a first mover. From the article, Feser in his book might use a different example with a man moving a stone with a stick.
In this proposal, an unmoved mover is the first cause of every change. The unmoved mover is in any event that to which every motion traces back.
The immediate problem in this presentation is the use of the mechanical example, whether pulling a trigger on a gun or pushing a stone with a stick. In the example, there is the simultaneous transition from one mechanical step to the next but it all begins from the first mechanical action, with the movement of the finger on trigger. Of course there is always a first cause when only a mechanical sequence is the scenario. This description is essentially the same as the cascade of dominoes where the first push causes the first bone to fall into the second bone and the instantaneous impact imparts enough force for each bone to begin falling toward the next bone. Nature is spontaneous and simultaneous but here those sequential actions are mechanical not spontaneous, and a mechanical action always begins the sequence, so there must always be someone to initiate the first mechanical motion.
There is always a clear first mover when there is a mechanical sequence. However, nature is spontaneous and simultaneous, and does not always 'behave' like the mechanical falling of dominoes so a first mover does not exist. Nature does not rely on a mechanical push from an outside force to begin something, like when the water vapor density becomes too great to resist the pull of gravity and the first rain drop falls from a cloud. There is no mechanical push for the first atom to decay in a sample, where the rule within nature for radioactive elements is an elemental change in the nucleus at a certain rate and yet there is no apparent physical outside force for one particular atom to decay rather than an adjacent apparently identical atom that does not decay. As the relative charge differential increases between cloud and ground, eventually the leaders of positive and negative charge meet and the bolt of lightning occurs in that instant.
Everything in nature has some process, whether it is periodic division in an embryo, or generation of energy from combustion of wood in a fireplace, or the curl of a particular wave on a beach.
The unmoved mover, or the first cause, argument always revolves around a mechanical scenario. Nature is not mechanical. When the sperm fuses with the egg and the genetic material combines, there is no clatter of dominoes during the progression of development. Where is the first cause in any of that natural change?
The first cause argument is sometimes applied to a description of a natural process by first dividing the sequence into time slices so one defined event is certain to occur before another and so the first event causes the second event. Because one event is always before another event in time, there must always be a first event before all others in time, so the first event before all others in time is the first cause. A time slice for easier analysis of a process does not also mean that nature works that way. The falling of dominoes follows an expected sequence but natural processes are not mechanical sequences.
When the erosion over many years weakens the foundation below a rock and eventually the rock slides down the slope a few inches, did the continuous force of gravity eventually overcome the coefficient of friction between the rock and the slope resisting that force, or did an external supernatural force push the rock to begin the motion? If the latter then apparently natural forces are supposedly only the reaction to a supernatural force. That God pushes each and every drop out of a cloud renders life quiescent and rather meaningless, where everything is managed and nothing is truly spontaneous and natural.
The bottom line is always: some people have the need to believe there is a supernatural actor, the wizard behind the curtain (the something greater than which can be conceived in reality), that is responsible for the apparently unexplainable events. Other people can accept that nature has processes always interacting and often in motion and those natural processes continue whether we understand them or not.
The belief in God is a personal attribute, based on one's world view and a personal inclination toward that dependence. Either one believes in a god or not, with logical arguments or thought exercises probably having little impact on that trait.
created - November 16, 2013
last change - 11/16/2013
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