The or is not true does not make

The question
of whether God (or the Gods) exist has been one of the first questions humans
have ever tackled. From Socrates and Aristotle, to Descartes and Hitchens. There
have been many debates, experiments, books, entire thesis’s and even
encyclicals written on this very subject. Although the argument cannot be
conclusively proven by one side or another, we are going to take look at the
existing schools of thought and where I believe the answer lies.

While the definition of God has changed throughout the
years, the underlying general belief structure has existed among all civilizations
and cultures.  When you break down the core tenants of each religion, they
always boil down to the exact same fundamental belief and truth: “Do no harm”,
from a sociological perspective. From a logical perspective, believing
something is or is not true does not make it so. It is a logical fallacy. I,
for example, could earnestly believe that elephants are dogs and that the earth
is flat. It does not make it correct.  By the same token, I also cannot
say that because I’ve never seen an elephant, an elephant does not exist until
proven otherwise. That statement is unequivocally wrong.  So, because I
cannot prove nor disprove a point, I must logically allow for the possibility
of its existence. There are, of course, multiple counter arguments that equally
hold weight in this debate. If God were so omnibenevolent, how could he allow
such suffering and pain? If God were real, why not just appear and solve the
debate once and for all? Some of these arguments we will get to in depth.

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One school of thought on the existence of God comes from
Descartes. In his Ontological Argument, Descartes sets out to prove,
philosophically, God’s existence.  In his Ontological Argument, Descartes
posits “solely from the definition of a supreme being, it follows that He must
necessarily exist.” (Popkins
and Stroll, page 167).  Descartes argued that God’s existence
can be deduced from his nature, just as other
geometric ideas can be
deduced from the nature of shapes. He suggested that the concept of God is that
of a perfect being, holding all perfections. He assumed that existence is a
predicate of a perfection. Thus, if the notion of God did not include
existence, it would not be supremely perfect, as it would be lacking a
perfection. Consequently, the notion of a supremely perfect God who does not
exist, is unintelligible. Therefore, God must exist. Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and contemporary of
Descartes.  He found Descartes’ premise to be flawed, and countered it
with the following: Descartes had argued that God had existence in the same way
as a triangle has three sides. Kant would agree, if you had a triangle then you
did indeed have an object with three sides. But if you do not have the
triangle, you have neither its three angles or its three sides. If you accept
that there is a God, it is logical to accept also that His existence is
necessary, but you do not have to accept that there is a God. St. Thomas
Aquinas also criticized Descartes’ Ontological Argument. He claimed that in
order for God to be perfect, then His existence must first be proven and not
the other way around.

Another school, which believes that it is possible to
discover religious knowledge by natural procedures, otherwise known as the
Argument from Design, can be demonstrated by acceptable options.  It
purports “to establish the existence of God from an examination of and
induction from information that we have gained about the universe.” This
argument is one of the most pervasive, that various versions of the argument
have been presented that attempt to prove the existence of God from the latest
developments in physical and biological sciences. David Hume was one of
Design’s greatest proponents.  He established that “our studies of nature
reveal an orderliness and pattern in the features of the physical, chemical,
and biological aspects of the world.” His argument was that the more we study
the sciences, the more we realize how interconnected everything is to itself
and its surroundings. Hume compared it to mechanical watch, how each individual
gear moves in harmony to work as whole, and was intelligently designed to do
so. “Therefore, there must be some kind of intelligent deity who is the author
or cause of the effects in nature.” (Popkins and Stroll, page 155). Yet, Hume
himself criticized his own theory.  “Criticizing the analogy between
human productions and nature. The works of man and those of nature do not
resemble each other sufficiently so that we can have any strong reason to
suspect that they have similar causes.” (Popkins and Stroll, page 157).

 Hume is basically going back on his original premise, stating that
although the rules of nature work similarly to those of man-made objects and
machines, the complexity and totality of such mechanisms in nature and science
are far, far more complex than any human hands could design.  Because of
this, there is no actual comparison between one and the other, making the
argument invalid. As the skeptic, Philo puts it: “If we see a house,
cleanthes, we conclude, with greatest certainty, that it had an architect or a
builder because this is precisely that species of effect which we have
experienced to proceed from that species of cause. But surely you will not
affirm that the universe bears such a resemblance to a house that we can with
the same certainty infer a similar cause, or that the analogy is here entire
and perfect. The dissimilitude is so striking that the utmost you can hear
pretend to is a guess, a conjecture, a presumption concerning a similar
cause.” In short, above all else, something cannot come from nothing.

Which leads us into our new argument, Cosmological
Argument. Much like the argument of Design, stems from our personal
experiences. We interact with things, see they move, change, etc., and we
observe the reactions from a cause and effect perspective.  In order for
these events to occur, “there must be either a cause in the sense of a
prior event, or a reason for the occurrence of the event.” (Popkins and Stroll, page 163). One thing cannot occur in a vacuum. There must
come something before it, a cause, which creates the new state, the effect. If
no beginning exists, then nothing can succeed its original state.  This is
the theory of ‘First Cause’.  When comparing the argument to modern
science, it is generally accepted that the universe began with what we call
‘The Big Bang.’  Philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle and Maimonides
would then argue “what caused the big bang?” That is where the Divine
comes in and, thus, proves the existence of God. However, Hume also poke a hole into this theory. No valid argument can
establish the existence of a supreme being or of anything else. “Since we
can always conceive what it would be like for any describable object to exist,
to be part of the temporal and spatial world, or not to exist, then no
demonstration that a specific entity must exist can be decisive. The denial of
the conclusion of demonstration cannot be disproven; and hence nothing has
actually been established by any reasoning that purports to establish that some
particular being must exist.” (Popkins and Stroll, page 164). In laymen’s
terms, Hume is arguing that we can always imagine how any object can exist, it
cannot be disproven.  One could easily substitute God with, say, a Flying
Spaghetti Monster and have the same logical conclusion, without ever having proven
the existence of either.

After carefully looking over all the arguments and counter
points of all points, I must side with the thesis that there is, in fact, a
God. The tests I use are as follow: What qualities must God possess and can the
existence of God be disproven? The first
question is probably the easiest to answer. God would be an infinite being,
existing outside of time and space while still being an active part thereof. Additionally,
God must possess the following qualities: omnipotence, omnipresence, Omni
benevolence, and omniscient. All of these qualities God can have and still
exist in our existence. Then we get to the
question of whether the existence of God can be disproven. Using all philosophical, logical, and scientific methods
that we possess, there is simply no way we can pointedly and with certainty
proclaim that God does not, and cannot, exist. There is enough evidence, be it
historical, sociological, rational or philosophical, which make a compelling
argument for the existence of God. So, while an argument can be made, and both
sides have arguments with merit, I cannot help but believe that behind all life
and the mysteries of the cosmos, that out of chaos order appears by itself. There
would need to be a catalyst, and no natural phenomena can compellingly argue
that it is the work of something other than an Intelligent Design. At the end of the day, some things can only be taken as
faith.

All in all, there are multiple arguments for the existence and
nonexistence of God. The existence of God has been proven by the theories of
Ontological argument, the Cosmological argument, and the argument of Design. The
arguments for the nonexistence of God are the empirical and rational arguments.