Do we need to be able to prove God’s existence in order for belief in God to be rational?
Discussion How to Argue for God
Instruction: First, watch the video, “How to Argue for God?” The video explores several different ways in which people argue for God’s existence. Then, answer the questions below based upon relevant material from the video.
*You should answer the questions by addressing material explicitly brought up in the video. I want to see that you have watched the video and thought about the various points raised in it. If it is unclear whether you have watched the video, you will receive reduced credit, or no credit at all, for the assignment.
**The response to each question must be at least 100 words in length.
(1) Do you think believe in God is rational? Do we need to be able to prove God’s existence in order for belief in God to be rational?
(2) Whether you believe God exists or not, what do you think might be the best evidence that God exists? Do you think that God’s existence might explain the facts we see in nature and in our lives better than a purely naturalistic/scientific account?
(3) Is God’s existence necessary for there to be contingent beings, such as ourselves? Assuming that God is a necessary being, do you think we can know anything about what that being is like? Can we know, for instance, whether that being is a personal being (with thoughts, desires, and intentions), rather than an impersonal mechanistic being?
(4) Irregardless of whether or not you think there is justification for believing in God, do you think that belief in God is ultimately a force for good in the world? Why or why not?
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Moral arguments for God’s existence form a diverse family of arguments that reason from some feature of morality or the moral life to the existence of God, usually understood as a morally good creator of the universe. Moral arguments are both important and interesting. They are interesting because evaluating their soundness requires attention to practically every important philosophical issue dealt with in metaethics. They are important because of their prominence in popular apologetic arguments for religious belief. Evidence for this can be found in the amazing popularity of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity (1952), which is almost certainly the best-selling book of apologetics in the twentieth century, and which begins with a moral argument for God’s existence. Many ordinary people regard religion as in some way providing a basis or foundation for morality. This fact might seem to favor religious arguments for morality rather than moral arguments for religious belief, but if someone believes that morality is in some way “objective” or “real,” and that this moral reality requires explanation, moral arguments for God’s reality naturally suggest themselves. The apparent connection between morality and religion appears to many people to support the claim that moral truths require a religious foundation, or can best be explained by God’s existence, or some qualities or actions of God.
After some general comments about theistic arguments and a brief history of moral arguments, this essay will discuss several different forms of the moral argument. A major distinction is that between moral arguments that are theoretical in nature and practical or pragmatic arguments. The former are best thought of as arguments that begin with alleged moral facts and argue that God is necessary to explain those facts, or at least that God provides a better explanation of them than secular accounts can offer. The latter typically begin with claims about some good or end that morality requires and argue that this end is not attainable unless God exists. Whether this distinction is hard and fast will be one of the questions to be discussed, as some argue that practical arguments by themselves cannot be the basis of rational belief. To meet such concerns practical arguments may have to include a theoretical dimension as well.
1. The Goals of Theistic Arguments
2. History of Moral Arguments for God’s Existence
3. Theoretical Moral Arguments for God’s Existence and Divine Command Theories of Moral Obligation
4. Arguments from Moral Knowledge or Awareness
5. Arguments from Human Dignity or Worth
6. Practical Moral Arguments for Belief in God
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