We were going to talk about Sigmund “Ziggy” Freud‘s great howl of derision directed at belief in God, “The Future of an Illusion,” but, well, it’s Sunday. Our infantile, neurotic belief in Something just will not let us disrespect Maybe-It today.
So to balance out last Thursday’s well-received “20 Arguments for Atheism,” here is Professor Peter Kreeft‘s assembly of counter-balancing arguments for the existence of God. A number of these have appeared before in The God Project Dot Net, of course. The first five you’ll recognize as Aquinas’ “Five Ways,” and #10 as Anselm’s ontological proof.
- Change — everything changes, and every change is caused by something else; there must be something that caused the first change
- Existence — everything that exists was caused by something else; something must have existed first without a cause
- Death — usually called “contingency,” but “death” is more dramatic: since everything dies or stops, given enough time there would be nothing at all, unless there is something that is eternal
- Degrees of Perfection — comparative scales of qualities like goodness, beauty, wisdom, heat imply a “perfect” something
- Design — there is too much natural order in the universe to be accounted for by self-ordering or chance
- Miracles — there are enough historical accounts of miracles occurring to make it likely some actually did
- Time — if there was no creator, there was no moment of creation and so no first moment in time; therefore, the past is infinite, which is a logical impossibility (the “Kalaam” argument)
- Timeless Truths — certain concepts such as numbers and mathematics appear to be eternal and unchanging, implying the existence of an eternal mind to contain them
- Descartes’ “Idea of God” — every idea has a cause; even atheists know what the idea of God means; so, this idea must point to something that is real
- Ontological argument — the existence of God is self-evident from Its definition as the being that “lacks no conceivable perfection,” including existence
And 10 arguments from human psychology:
- Common Consent — God is very likely to exist because most people for most of human history have thought It did
- Religious Experience — it’s difficult to believe that so many otherwise sane people who claim religious experience were all deluded
- Desire — “No one has ever discovered a single case of an innate desire for a nonexistent object”
- Natural Moral Law — assuming moral laws are just as real and consistent as physical laws, what created them?
- Conscience — most people respect their conscience; but it can’t be relative or it would have no meaning; so respecting conscience implies eternal standards
- Saints — “If there are saints [and a multitude of wannabes] there is a saint-maker”
- Beauty — some forms of beauty in nature, art and the works of Amy Adams are so awe-inspiring as to imply a supernatural source
- Search for Meaning — as Viktor Frankl said, our greatest truth appears to be a search for meaning in our lives, which implies we have a purpose
- Love — love seems to see intrinsic value in things that can not be accounted for by materialism
- Pascal’s Wager — in a paragraph of his “Pensees” headed “Infinity–Nothing,” Pascal argued that it is more logical to believe than not to believe because you lose nothing but (potentially) gain everything
A Note: I’ve found it helps not to reject these arguments without mulling on them a bit. Rational belief is neither easy nor intuitive. Personally, having thought about #3 above (“Desire”) for a day or two, I like it very much.