the beginning human beings created God.
Few of us these days has a sence of the 'holy'. And nowadays if anyone
speaks of being surrounded by the 'unseen', most of us do not think immediately
of spiritual entitities, but of physical ones - of atoms, particles and
In this issue of Shebang we examine Proofs of God' s Existence
DOING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS?
IS CURRENTLY COMMEMORATIING THE CENTENARY OF NIETZSCHE'S DEATH
Friedrich (Wilhelm) Nietzsche died in Weimar on August 25, 1900.
In 1882 Nietzsche declared that God is dead.
But, talking of the
death of God implied that He must at some point have existed. If
God does exist, He must realise that if your friends have to scrabble
around to prove your existence, you may be in trouble.
- a noted atheist - was asked what he would say if he were suddenly to
Russell replied, 'I would say, "You didn't give us enough evidence"'.
There are thinkers, though, who love the fact that the question
of God's existence is not subject to proof.
For them, the whole point of their religious belief is that LEAP OF
The Reverend Charles Dodgson - otherwise known as Lewis Carroll,
author of 'Alice In Wonderland' - was a professional logician and mathematician.
The very fact that his religion fell outside the laws of logic might
have been precisely what apealed to him.
We at Shebang interviewed a Cambridge philosopher on
this subject, who agreed to be quoted:
'All right',he said, 'Let me tell you: One of Cambridge's foremost Professors
of Logic goes to Church on a Sunday and drinks wine which she accepts
as Christ's blood and she eats a f***ing biscuit as if it were the flesh
of Christ. A Professor of logic!'
We suggest that for that Professor of Logic a lapse in logic is a break
from logic. And that's its appeal!
no less, was ready in the 1960s with the best possible evidence, if it
was true: a book entitled ``God exists, I have met him''
during the second World War said, ``You don't find many atheists in a
landing-craft heading for Normandy.'' We keep being told that people are
losing interest in religion.
And yet it isn't just in Muslim and Hindu societies that the existence
of God remains largely unquestioned.
More than 90% of Americans have some kind of religious belief
is Shebang's round-up of
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
(1724-1804) categorised for God's existence into those which are: ontological,
cosmological, and 'by design' (or 'physicotheological' as he
Their premisses are supposed to derive from reason alone.
These are the arguments that fascinate thinkers. ts.
Their source is not observation of the world.
The best-known ontological argument was proposed by St.
Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th. century A.D
The ontological approach (most famously exemplified by
Saint Anselm of Canterbury (d.1108 CE) - see below)
takes the idea of God as the starting point for demonstrating
the existence of God.
Ontological arguments have fascinated philosophers for almost a thousand
The first, and best-known, ontological argument was proposed by St. Anselm
of Canterbury in the 11th. century A.D.
In his Proslogion, St. Anselm claims to derive the existence
of God from the concept of a being than which no greater can
St. Anselm reasoned that, if such a being fails to exist, then a
greater being -- namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived,
and which exists -- can be conceived.
But this would be absurd: nothing can be greater than a being than
which no greater can be conceived.
So a being than which no greater can be conceived -- i.e. God --
Other famous ontological arguments were developed by Rene Descartes, Gottfried
Leibniz, and, more recently, by Charles Hartshorne, Alvin Plantinga and
Kurt Gödel. (For a Starlab researcher's approach to Gödel's
ideas, see below)
Graham Oppy, somewhat satirically, has laid out some forms of ontological
(1) By definition, God is a being which has every perfection.
Existence is a perfection.
Hence God exists.
(2 ) I conceive of a being than which
no greater can be conceived.
If a being than which no greater can be conceived does not exist,
then I can conceive of a being greater than a being than which no
greater can be conceived -- namely, a being than which no
greater can be conceived that exists.
I cannot conceive of a being greater than a
being than which no greater can be conceived.
Therefore, a being than which no greater can be conceived exists.
(3) It is possible that it is necessary that God exists. Hence, God exists.
(4) It is analytic, necessary and a priori that for any F, the FG is F.
Hence, the existent God is existent.
Hence, God exists.
(5) The word `God' has a meaning that is revealed in religious experience.
The word `God' has a meaning only if God exists. Hence, God exists.
(6) I exist.
Therefore something exists.
Whenever a bunch of things exist, their mereological sum also exists.
Therefore the sum of all things exists.
Therefore God -- the sum of all things -- exists.
(7) God must exist.