Is proof for the existence of god necessary essay

Alvin Plantinga compares the question of the existence of God to the question of the existence of other minds , claiming both are notoriously impossible to "prove" against a determined skeptic. One approach, suggested by writers such as Stephen D. Unwin, is to treat particular versions of theism and naturalism as though they were two hypotheses in the Bayesian sense, to list certain data or alleged data , about the world, and to suggest that the likelihoods of these data are significantly higher under one hypothesis than the other.

In almost all cases it is not seriously suggested by proponents of the arguments that they are irrefutable, merely that they make one worldview seem significantly more likely than the other. However, since an assessment of the weight of evidence depends on the prior probability that is assigned to each worldview, arguments that a theist finds convincing may seem thin to an atheist and vice versa.

Philosophers, such as Wittgenstein , take a view that is considered anti-realist and oppose philosophical arguments related to God's existence. For instance, Charles Taylor contends that the real is whatever will not go away. If we cannot reduce talk about God to anything else, or replace it, or prove it false, then perhaps God is as real as anything else.

In George Berkeley 's A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge of , he argued that a "naked thought" cannot exist, and that a perception is a thought; therefore only minds can be proven to exist, since all else is merely an idea conveyed by a perception. From this Berkeley argued that the universe is based upon observation and is non-objective. However, he noted that the universe includes "ideas" not perceptible to humankind, and that there must, therefore, exist an omniscient superobserver, which perceives such things.

Berkeley considered this proof of the existence of the Christian god. Lewis , in Mere Christianity and elsewhere, raised the argument from desire. He posed that all natural desires have a natural object. One thirsts, and there exists water to quench this thirst; One hungers, and there exists food to satisfy this hunger. He then argued that the human desire for perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect happiness, and other intangibles strongly implies the existence of such things, though they seem unobtainable on earth.

The Existence Of God : God

He further posed that the unquenchable desires of this life strongly imply that we are intended for a different life, necessarily governed by a God who can provide the desired intangibles. Existence in absolute truth is central to Vedanta epistemology. Traditional sense perception based approaches were put into question as possibly misleading due to preconceived or superimposed ideas.

But though all object-cognition can be doubted, the existence of the doubter remains a fact even in nastika traditions of mayavada schools following Adi Shankara.

Rules and reasons are not enough for an ethics without God | Aeon Essays

Aspects of Krishna as svayam bhagavan in original Absolute Truth, sat chit ananda , are understood originating from three essential attributes of Krishna's form, i. One form of the argument from beauty is that the elegance of the laws of physics, which have been empirically discovered, or the elegant laws of mathematics , which are abstract but which have empirically proven to be useful, is evidence of a creator deity who has arranged these things to be beautiful and not ugly.

The argument from consciousness claims that human consciousness cannot be explained by the physical mechanisms of the human body and brain, therefore, asserting that there must be non-physical aspects to human consciousness. This is held as indirect evidence of God, given that notions about souls and the afterlife in Christianity and Islam would be consistent with such a claim.

Critics point out that non-physical aspects of consciousness could exist in a universe without any gods; for example, some religions that believe in reincarnation are compatible with atheism, monotheism, and polytheism. The notion of the soul was created before modern understanding of neural networks and the physiology of the brain. Decades of experimentation lead cognitive science to consider thought and emotion as physical processes although the experience of consciousness still remains poorly understood.

The teleological argument , or the argument from design, asserts that certain features of the universe and of living things must be the product of an intelligent cause. Philosopher Stephen Toulmin is notable for his work in the history of ideas [39] that features the rational warrant: a statement that connects the premises to a conclusion. Hinman uses a wide range of studies, including ones by Robert Wuthnow, Andrew Greeley, Mathes and Kathleen Nobel to establish that mystical experiences are life-transformative in a way that is significant, positive and lasting.

First, the people who have these experiences not only do not exhibit traditional signs of mental illness but, often, are in better mental and physical health than the general population due to the experience. In other words, they provide a framework for navigating life that is useful and effective. Finally, he discusses how both religious experience and belief in God is, and has always been, normative among humans: [45] people do not need to prove the existence of God. If there is no need to prove, Hinman argues, and the Trace of God for instance, the impact of mystical experiences on them , belief in God is rationally warranted.

Some have put forward arguments for the existence of God based on inductive reasoning. For example, one class of philosophers asserts that the proofs for the existence of God present a fairly large probability though not absolute certainty.

A number of obscure points, they say, always remain; an act of faith is required to dismiss these difficulties. This view is maintained, among others, by the Scottish statesman Arthur Balfour in his book The Foundations of Belief Many orthodox Protestants express themselves in the same manner, as, for instance, Dr. In article 3, question 2, first part of his Summa Theologica , Thomas Aquinas developed his five arguments for God's existence. These arguments are grounded in an Aristotelian ontology and make use of the infinite regression argument.

The cosmological, or "first cause" argument asserts that since everything that begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, the universe must have had a cause which was itself not caused. This ultimate first cause is identified with God. Christian apologist William Lane Craig gives a version of this argument in the following form: [50]. The ontological argument has been formulated by philosophers including St.

The argument proposes that God's existence is self-evident. The logic, depending on the formulation, reads roughly as follows: [51]. Whatever is contained in a clear and distinct idea of a thing must be predicated of that thing; but a clear and distinct idea of an absolutely perfect Being contains the idea of actual existence; therefore since we have the idea of an absolutely perfect Being such a Being must really exist.

Thomas Aquinas criticized the argument for proposing a definition of God which, if God is transcendent, should be impossible for humans. Kant concluded that the proof is equivocation, based on the ambiguity of the word God. If existence is not a predicate, then it is not necessarily true that the greatest possible being exists. Arguments from testimony rely on the testimony or experience of witnesses, possibly embodying the propositions of a specific revealed religion.

Swinburne argues that it is a principle of rationality that one should accept testimony unless there are strong reasons for not doing so. The school of Vedanta argues that one of the proofs of the existence of God is the law of karma. In a commentary to Brahma Sutras III, 2, 38, and 41 , Adi Sankara argues that the original karmic actions themselves cannot bring about the proper results at some future time; neither can super sensuous, non-intelligent qualities like adrsta by themselves mediate the appropriate, justly deserved pleasure and pain.

The fruits, according to him must be administered through the action of a conscious agent, namely, a supreme being Ishvara. Each of the arguments below aims to show that a particular set of gods does not exist—by demonstrating them to be inherently meaningless, contradictory , or at odds with known scientific or historical facts—or that there is insufficient proof to say that they do exist.

The following empirical arguments rely on observations or experimentation to yield their conclusions. The argument from inconsistent revelations contests the existence of the deity called God as described in scriptures —such as the Hindu Vedas , the Jewish Tanakh , the Christian Bible , the Muslim Qur'an , the Book of Mormon or the Baha'i Aqdas —by identifying apparent contradictions between different scriptures, within a single scripture, or between scripture and known facts.

Relatedly, the argument from parsimony using Occam's razor contends that since natural non-supernatural theories adequately explain the development of religion and belief in gods, [71] the actual existence of such supernatural agents is superfluous and may be dismissed unless otherwise proven to be required to explain the phenomenon. The argument from "historical induction" concludes that since most theistic religions throughout history e.

Mencken wrote a short piece about the topic entitled "Memorial Service" in Roberts' popular quotation:. I contend that we are both atheists.

Introduction

I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. The argument from nonbelief contests the existence of an omnipotent God who wants humans to believe in him by arguing that such a god would do a better job of gathering believers. The problem of evil contests the existence of a god who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent by arguing that such a god should not permit the existence of evil or suffering.

The theist responses are called theodicies. Similarly, the argument from poor design contends that an all-powerful, benevolent creator god would not have created lifeforms, including humans, which seem to exhibit poor design.


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Richard Carrier has argued that the universe itself seems to be very ill-designed for life, because the vast majority of the space in the universe is utterly hostile to it. This is arguably unexpected on the hypothesis that the universe was designed by a god, especially a personal god.

Reasons people choose atheism

Carrier contends that such a god could have easily created a geocentric universe ex nihilo in the recent past , in which most of the volume of the universe is inhabitable by humans and other lifeforms— precisely the kind of universe that most humans believed in until the rise of modern science. While a personal god might have created the kind of universe we observe, Carrier contends that this is not the kind of universe we would most likely expect to see if such a god existed.

Aeon for Friends

He finally argues that, unlike theism, our observations about the nature of the universe are strongly expected on the hypothesis of atheism, since the universe would have to be vast, very old, and almost completely devoid of life if life were to have arisen by sheer chance. The following arguments deduce, mostly through self-contradiction, the non-existence of a God as "the Creator". Some arguments focus on the existence of specific conceptions of God as being omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect. Similar to the subjective arguments for the existence of God, subjective arguments against the supernatural mainly rely on the testimony or experience of witnesses, or the propositions of a revealed religion in general.

Atheistic Hindu doctrines cite various arguments for rejecting a creator God or Ishvara. It is also argued in this text that the existence of Ishvara God cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. For instance, it argues that an unchanging God cannot be the source of an ever-changing world. It says God is a necessary metaphysical assumption demanded by circumstances. The Sankhya- tattva-kaumudi , commenting on Karika 57, argues that a perfect God can have no need to create a world, and if God's motive is kindness, Samkhya questions whether it is reasonable to call into existence beings who while non-existent had no suffering.

Samkhya postulates that a benevolent deity ought to create only happy creatures, not an imperfect world like the real world. They argue that there is no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there is no need for an author to compose the Vedas or a god to validate the rituals. In that regard, the power of the mantras is what is seen as the power of gods. Several authors have offered psychological or sociological explanations for belief in the existence of God. Psychologists observe that the majority of humans often ask existential questions such as "why we are here" and whether life has purpose.

William James emphasized the inner religious struggle between melancholy and happiness, and pointed to trance as a cognitive mechanism. Sigmund Freud stressed fear and pain, the need for a powerful parental figure, the obsessional nature of ritual, and the hypnotic state a community can induce as contributing factors to the psychology of religion.

Pascal Boyer 's Religion Explained , based in part on his anthropological field work, treats belief in God as the result of the brain's tendency towards agency detection. Boyer suggests that, because of evolutionary pressures, humans err on the side of attributing agency where there isn't any.

In Boyer's view, belief in supernatural entities spreads and becomes culturally fixed because of their memorability. The concept of "minimally counterintuitive" beings that differ from the ordinary in a small number of ways such as being invisible, able to fly, or having access to strategic and otherwise secret information leave a lasting impression that spreads through word-of-mouth.

Scott Atran 's In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion makes a similar argument and adds examination of the socially coordinating aspects of shared belief. In Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion , Todd Tremlin follows Boyer in arguing that universal human cognitive process naturally produces the concept of the supernatural.

Tremlin contends that an agency detection device ADD and a theory of mind module ToMM lead humans to suspect an agent behind every event. Natural events for which there is no obvious agent may be attributed to God c.