Essay 1

Submitted By jleague
Words: 884
Pages: 4

Traditional theologians offered three main arguments for the existence of God. These three arguments are the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and ontological argument. Of these three arguments, the ontological argument is the most plausible argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument has been subjected to many criticisms, many of which can be refuted or counter argued. The ontological argument is the most plausible argument for the existence of God for a few reasons. The ontological argument calls for reasoning within the argument in order to support the conclusion that God exists. The theologian, Saint Anselm, supported his ontological argument by using a priori premises. Anselm “suggested that both atheists and theists should agree that the idea of God is the idea of the greatest being that we can think of” (Rauhut, 176). This premise is based upon reason and as a result, it is separate from premises based on experience. All humans regardless upon theistic stance can agree upon the definition of God whereas premises based upon experience can be refuted by someone who has not had the same experience. Anselm then continues his argument using logic within his next premise by stating that something that exists in reality is greater than something that exists in thought (Rauhut, 177). This premise is plausible because something that exists can provide physical interaction to achieve a change in condition while something thought of in the mind will not change physical condition. For example, drinking warm water that exists will keep you alive longer than thinking of drinking cold water, therefore drinking warm water is better than drinking “cold thought water”. Anselm connects the previous premises with the idea that if God was only a thought, someone can think of something that is greater than God (Rauhut, 177). This premise directly contradicts the common understanding of what the definition of God, illustrated in the first premise. This leads to Anselm’s next premise that if God was only a thought, then we can think of something greater than God, which would be a God that exists. If God is the greatest thing that can exist then God cannot be a thought. God must exist in order to be the greatest being that we can think of. By using the human definition of God and employing logic, Anselm provided a sound argument that a significant portion of humanity can relate with without drawing from the possible bias of personal experiences justifying the existence of God. The most significant criticism to ontological arguments can be attributed to the thoughts of a monk, Gaunilo. Gaunilo challenges ontological arguments by raising the question: if the existence of a perfect being, God, can be established, then can other objects be proved as perfect by using similar reasoning? (Rauhut, 180) Gaunilo’s criticism is known as reduction ad absurdum or an argument that leads to an absurd conclusion. To provide an example of Gaunilo’s reasoning, take the existence of a perfect cheeseburger. The perfect cheeseburger is a cheeseburger in which no other cheeseburgers can be better, but, what if the perfect cheeseburger only exists in the mind? Then wouldn’t a cheeseburger that exists be better than the perfect cheeseburger of the mind? This leads to the notion that if the perfect cheeseburger exists only in the mind, than a cheeseburger that is real is more perfect. In conclusion, the perfect cheeseburger exists in reality. The logic behind Gaunilo’s argument is valid and leads one to realize that in fact, there is something amiss within the ontological argument due…