Before I start the paper there are a few points that must be established. First is a clear definition of Philosophy of Religion, which is the area of philosophy that applies philosophical methods to study a wide variety of religious issues including the existence of God. The use of the philosophical method makes Philosophy of Religion distinct from theology, which is the study of God and any type of issues that relate to the divine. Now there are two types of theology, Revealed and Natural Theology. Revealed Theology claims that our knowledge of God comes through special revelations such as the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the Koran. Saint Thomas Aquinas indicates that Revealed Theology provides what he calls “Saving Knowledge”, which is knowledge that will result in our salvation. Now Natural Theology is our knowledge of God that one ascertains through natural reasoning, or reasoning that is unaided by special revelations. Saint Thomas noted that this type of reasoning can provide knowledge of God’s nature, or even prove his existence, but can never result in the person attaining salvation for as he states, even demons know that God exists. A note must be made before we press on; as one might notice Natural Theology is akin to philosophy of religion in the sense that both use human reasoning in their attempts to explain the divine. The main difference between them of course is the range of the topics considered.
The Ontological Argument, which argues from a definition of God’s being to his existence, is the first type of argument we are going to examine. Since this argument was founded by Saint Anslem, we will be examining his writings. Saint Anslem starts by defining God as an all-perfect being, or rather as a being containing all conceivable perfections. Now if in addition of possessing all conceivable perfections t...
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... look like an angel.
Both Bubar and Fackenheim claim that there argument is not one that argues from a religious experience; hence they are immune to the fallacies of that argument. Yet critics counter that they are presenting an argument from a religious experience, one that is incompletely stated. One might remark that many people, who claim to have had glimpses of God, as Fackenheim puts it, are in both of these philosophers mind delusional. Charles Guiteau who assassinated President Garfield acted upon what he thought was instructions from God. As John Baillie puts it, there must be some criteria to distinguish fake encounters from real. We simply cannot take Bubar’s word that certain glances are illusionary while others are not.
In conclusion I am left pretty much in the same place as I have started. It is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God philosophically. For every philosopher who publishes his or her opinions on the subject, three more are there to tear it down. In the end I think it is best that man does not figure out the answer to this lifelong question. Some things are better left unanswered.
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