One of the most central issues in the Philosophy of Western Religions is the existence of God; or, to put it more precisely, proving the existence of God. There are varied ways that Philosophers have gone about this, each with their own sets of criticisms. This Unit will run through some of the classical and modern examples of these forms of arguments.
Chapter 8, The Ontological Argument & The Lost Island Objection by St. Anselm and Gaunilo of Marmoutiers (respectively), cover an interesting argument that attempts to prove God exists using pure reason while the other replies using an analogy to point out the problems with its line of reasoning. Chapter 9, The Cosmological Argument by St. Thomas Aquinas, covers what are collectively known as “Aquinas’ Five Ways,” the most important of which attempts to prove God’s existence by showing that God is the only reasonable way to explain the existence of the universe. Chapter 10, Objections to the Cosmological Argument by Fred Curry, covers the problems with the line of thinking used in Aquinas’ Cosmological Argument. Chapter 11, The Teleological Argument by William Paley, covers a classic argument in which Paley attempts to prove God’s existence through examining the complexities present in the universe. Chapter 12, Objections to the Teleological Argument, is a classic piece by the 18th century philosopher David Hume, where he responds to the claims made in teleological arguments. Chapter 13, Argument from Design, discusses one of the more popular modern approaches to prove the existence of God. Chapter 14, Criticisms of the Argument from Design, attempts to point out flaws in modern versions of the Argument from Design. Chapter 15, The Wager by Blaise Pascal, is a classic argument by the 17th century Philosopher about the importance of belief with regards to the afterlife.