Arguments for God
Arguments for God
I came across a set of arguments for the existence of God. These arguments seem to float around constantly in one form or another, so I thought it would be good to have a page about refuting them.
"If we believe in God, the argument runs, then if he exists then we will receive an infinite reward in heaven while if he does not then we have lost little or nothing.Since this has nothing to do with inferring the existence of any god - only attempting to justify a belief - it's irrelevant and needn't even be considered here. But it's flawed in other ways that are worth mentioning.
If we do not believe in God, the argument continues, then if he exists then we will receive an infinite punishment in hell while he does not then we will have gained little or nothing.
Either receiving an infinite reward in heaven or losing little or nothing is clearly preferable to either receiving an infinite punishment in hell or gaining little or nothing. It is therefore in our interests, and so rational, to believe in God."
"Part of what we mean when we speak of “God” is “perfect being”; that is what the word “God” means. A God that exists, of course, is better than a God that doesn’t. To speak of God as a perfect being is therefore to imply that he exists. If God’s perfection is a part of the concept of God, though, and if God’s perfection implies God’s existence, then God’s existence is implied by the concept of God. When we speak of “God” we cannot but speak of a being that exists. To say that God does not exist is to contradict oneself; it is literally to speak nonsense."This is definitely one of the more ridiculous arguments. To know something is perfect you have to be aware of its existence already; you can't define something beforehand and expect to prove its existence by virtue of the very fact you've defined it as both perfect and existing. That's just blatantly assuming the conclusion as a premise, begging the question. To say that something exists because we assume that if it did, it would be perfect, is certainly "to speak nonsense." Language doesn't control reality, it describes it.
Cosmological Argument from Contingency:
"Because the universe might not have existed (i.e. is contingent), we need some explanation of why it does. Wherever there are two possibilities, it suggests, something must determine which of those possibilities is realised. As the universe is contingent, then, there must be some reason for its existence; it must have a cause. In fact, the only kind of being whose existence requires no explanation is a necessary being, a being that could not have failed to exist. The ultimate cause of everything must therefore be a necessary being, such as God."The argument maintains a double standard. The universe requires a cause, but the 'necessary being' arbitrarily doesn't. This is of course for the sole reason of supporting its existence. There's no reason to assume that such a being exists or even can exist.
Kalam Cosmological Argument:
"[The] kalam cosmological argument begins by arguing that the past is finite. The idea that the universe has an infinite past stretching back in time into infinity is, the argument notes, both philosophically and scientifically problematic; all indications are that there is a point in time at which the universe began to exist. This beginning must either have been caused or uncaused. It cannot have been uncaused, though, for the idea of an uncaused event is absurd; nothing comes from nothing. The universe must therefore have been brought into existence by something outside it. The kalam argument thus confirms one element of Christianity, the doctrine of Creation."An entity being "outside the Universe" is a nonsensical concept. In science the Universe is literally everything that exists, all matter, all energy and spacetime. There is no 'outside'.
"The universe is a highly complex system. The scale of the universe alone is astounding, and the natural laws that govern it perplex scientists still after generations of study. It is also, however, a highly ordered system; it serves a purpose. The world provides exactly the right conditions for the development and sustenance of life, and life is a valuable thing. That this is so is remarkable; there are numerous ways in which the universe might have been different, and the vast majority of possible universes would not have supported life. To say that the universe is so ordered by chance is therefore unsatisfactory as an explanation of the appearance of design around us. It is far more plausible, and far more probable, that the universe is the way it is because it was created by God with life in mind."Ordered does not mean purposeful. Inferring purpose or design from apparent order alone is nonsensical, we have no basis of comparison other than the current Universe. If we had a few others with known properties to compare then the appearance of ours would mean something, but we don't.
Formal Moral Argument:
"The form of morality [implies] that it has a divine origin: morality consists of an ultimately authoritative set of commands; where can these commands have come from but a commander that has ultimate authority?"Morals aren't based on an "Ultimately authoritative set of commands," let alone composed of them; they're not absolute, they even change over time and vary between cultures.
Perfectionist Moral Argument:
"A problem: how can it be that morality requires perfection of us, then morality cannot require of us more than we can give, but that we cannot be perfect? The only way to resolve this paradox, the argument suggests, is to posit the existence of God."The premise that morality requires perfection of us is false, the argument is unsound. Morality is a product of instinct and knowledge. It doesn't require anything from us in the sense that this argument implies; it seems to reify the concept, as if it literally required something in the way we humans expect things of each other. Moral instincts exert influence in the same way any other instinct does, and people make reasonable expectations of others based on their own. It's not some magical obligation from on-high.
Argument from Religious Experience:
"Personal religious experiences can prove God’s existence to those that have them. One can only perceive that which exists, and so God must exist because there are those that have experienced him. While religious experiences themselves can only constitute direct evidence of God’s existence for those fortunate enough to have them, the fact that there are many people who testify to having had such experiences constitutes indirect evidence of God’s existence even to those who have not had such experiences themselves."What the argument fails to mention is the fact that people from all religions claim to have these experiences. Most of these gods are mutually exclusive and contradictory so at the very least we know that the majority of these experiences are delusions.
Argument from Miracles:
"The occurrence of miracles demonstrates both the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. If the Bible is to be believed, then Jesus’ ministry was accompanied by frequent miraculous signs that his claims and his teachings were endorsed by God the Father. His resurrection from the dead was, of course, the greatest of these, and is still taken by many today to be a solid foundation for their faith. Miracles typically involve the suspension of the natural operation of the universe as some supernatural event occurs. That can only happen, of course, given the existence of some supernatural being."Having miracles as a premise is a pretty flagrant assumption. As with religious experiences, the problem of mutual exclusivity arises: lots of religions are based on such claims and none of them are more likely than any other, yet because they're mutually exclusive we know that it's impossible for them all to be true. Some of them are definitely delusions, but billions of people believe them regardless. If people can be wrong on such a scale then what reason is there to think they're right in this instance? What makes a Christian miracle a cut above the rest in likelihood? Wishful thinking.
Back to main...