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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

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As surely as the possibility of God’s existence is self-evident to mankind, so it seems is the possibility of His non-existence. While virtually every culture throughout history has believed in at least one deity, the arguments for and against the existence of Christianity’s God have raged on for centuries. In his Institutes, John Calvin argued that God planted the knowledge of His existence in the heart of every man, saying:

That there exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a man, being aware that there is a God, and that he is their maker, may be condemned by their own conscience when they neither worship him nor consecrate their lives to his service.

The fervency of the faith that Christians hold in the existence of God necessarily intensifies the desire to prove His existence extrinsically. As Saint Anselm said in his Proslogion, “For I seek not to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand.” Many theologians and philosophers have attempted to bridge this gap between understanding and belief, perhaps attempting to make the transition from what Socrates would call mere opinion, belief without explanation, to knowledge, belief accompanied by adequate explanation. Creationism is an example of an a posteriori attempt to prove God’s existence; however, maybe the most debated (and in some ways, most dense) argument for God’s existence is the a priori ontological proof for God’s existence, first asserted by the 11th century theologian, Saint Anse...

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...attributes, and personality of God.

Works Cited
1. Baird, Forrest E. and Walter Kaufmann. “Anselm’s Proslogion.” In Philosophical Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2010.

2. Baird, Forrest E. and Walter Kaufmann. “St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.” In Philosophical Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2010.

3. Baird, Forrest E. and Walter Kaufmann. “René Descartes’ Meditations.” In Philosophical Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2010.

4. Baird, Forrest E. and Walter Kaufmann. “Anselm (and Gaunilo’s) Gaunilo and Anselm: Debate.” In Philosophical Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2010.

5. Calvin, John. "Book I." In Institutes of the Christian Religion. Rome: Hendrickson Publication, 2007.
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