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 IAmAnAtheist » The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

Two Christians having lunch.

Fran: My brother’s really causing me problems. He’s decided that he doesn’t think God exists, and he says there’s no way to prove that He does. I don’t know what to do.

Edward: Prove to him that God exists.

Fran: How? He’s incredibly stubborn.

Edward: Does he consider himself to have intellectual integrity?

Fran: Definitely. To an annoying extent, actually.

Edward: Good; then you can try this argument. God is perfect, right?

Fran: Sure.

Edward: Would you agree that something is flawed if it doesn’t exist?

Fran: I don’t think that something that doesn’t exist can be flawed.

Edward: What I mean is, would you agree that something that exists is better than something that doesn’t exist?

Fran: If it’s a disease, for example, it would be better if it didn’t exist.

Edward: That’s not what I mean. I mean, isn’t something beneficial less good if it doesn’t exist.

Fran: Obviously. If it doesn’t exist, it isn’t being beneficial.

Edward: So a God that doesn’t exist would be flawed because He couldn’t do anything, right?

Fran: Well — yes.

Edward: Right. So since God is perfect, He can’t be flawed. If he can’t be flawed, then he can’t not exist because that would be a flaw. Therefore a perfect God must exist. Therefore God exists.

Fran: I don’t think you can argue that way. Wouldn’t the conclusion be that either God exists or God isn’t perfect?

Edward: But we know that God is perfect.

Fran: Well, yeah, but I still don’t think you can argue that way. If you could, then you could argue that the perfect planet must exist because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be perfect.

Edward: Earth was created perfect. It was just corrupted.

Fran: If it was corruptible, then it wasn’t perfect. There must be another perfect planet. Or you could argue that unicorns are the most wonderful thing imaginable, and they wouldn’t be wonderful if they didn’t exist, so unicorns exist.

Edward: You’re twisting the whole thing. You can’t just use the argument for anything you want.

Fran: I don’t think I’m twisting it, I just think it’s got problems. We could argue that the universe is the most amazing thing ever created, and that it would be more amazing if it happened through natural processes than if an intelligent being created it, so therefore God didn’t create the universe.

Edward: No, you can’t argue that way. It only works for God because it only works for things that exist necessarily. The universe doesn’t exist necessarily. It’s something God chose to do.

Fran: If it’s only for things that exist necessarily, then you’re saying the argument only works for things that we already know exist. So if we already know God exists, what’s the point of the argument?

Edward: I guess that’s true. I just thought it was neat.

Fran: Neat isn’t going to do it for my brother.


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Posted on June 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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