Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Final Report: God - Section 14
Does God Exist
Does God exist? It’s the question that has plagued us all since the beginning of time. At one time or another, everyone has asked that very question. Whether we realize it or not, one’s own individual answer to that question is the very basis to their philosophy, which in turn makes it a major determining factor in the way that we live and behave in day to day life. In the next pages I will be comparing and contrasting the different theories and “proofs” of whether God does exist and then give my thoughts on the matter.
One of the first proofs is called The Design Argument. The basis behind the theory is that everywhere around us, it’s evident that everything was designed because everything works so perfectly in unison. Supporters of the Design Argument say, as stated in Philosophy the Basics, “Just as by looking at a watch we can tell that it was designed by a watchmaker, so, they argue we can tell by looking at the eye that it was designed by some sort of Divine Watchmaker. It is as if God has deliberately left evidence of his or her existence all around us in the world.” (Warburton, 11). This argument is particularly faulty in my eyes because even if it’s plausible that the world was “designed,” it doesn’t mean that God created it. Which God was it? Maybe it wasn’t even a God that created or designed the universe, but just someone or group of people who possess a higher knowledge than we humans. Also, there are plenty of other theories that could just as well explain how things came to be, like The Fine Tuning Argument, which is based on the belief that the chances of all the elements of our universe synchronously working as one is unfathomably small. Therefore, advocates of this theory say that our world must have been created by a higher power. However the same use of an inaccurate analogy can be cited, just as the case of The Design Argument. Just because the chances are slim, doesn’t mean we’re something other worldly special. This is best showcased in another quote from Philosophy the Basics:
Imagine that you have bought a ticket for a national lottery. There are, perhaps, many millions of tickets, but only one will win. It is statistically highly unlikely that you will win. But you might. If you do, however, this doesn’t demonstrate more than your good luck: it doesn’t follow from the fact that, from amongst all those millions of losing tickets, your winning ticket was chosen that this must have been the result of something more than a random selection. (Warburton, 15)
These two “proofs” that God exists are the two that sound most feasible in my eyes, however, I don’t believe that any of the explanations we as humans have conceived are the whole truth. This brings me to my “proof.” Faith.
I myself am a Christian, born and raised in church, and thus probably why I don’t believe in the church. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that our modern church isn’t what God would want. It’s more of a social stigma pressuring you to go to church rather than a personal wanting to be closer to and to worship whatever God you choose. Religion should be a personal experience. Nevertheless, faith is the cornerstone to any relationship whether it be religious or not. For this reason, I truly believe that we will never know undoubtedly whether God is real or whether he created the universe we live in today. God probably isn’t withholding information from us for no reason, I think we are simply incapable of comprehending his existence or any of the reasons/explanations for it. The fact of his existence is beyond our grasp of the world and so are the physics behind it. This all leads back to the free will argument and the problem of evil, which is where many people have trouble believing that an all good, all powerful, and all knowing God exists.
Free will is one of the greatest privileges we have as humans. Even though society limits what is acceptable to do or say, we are always free to think what we like. This is very important, the fact that we can dream, aspire, create, and reflect on our lives and experiences. It’s crucial to the personal and societal growth of mankind. If we couldn’t do these things, we wouldn’t be able to learn from past experiences, create new inventions, or possess the drive to do bigger and better things. Just as Eve had the choice to eat or not to eat the apple, we have the choice to follow, embrace, and be faithful to God. He isn’t going to force you to follow his word, he wants you to be faithful instead of jumping on the bandwagon along with everyone else. Unfortunately though, the free will we were granted comes with a price, known as the problem of evil that I mentioned before.
The problem of evil is a deal breaker for many people. This is understandable because one would think that an omnipotent God would never allow the terrible evils that go on in our world today. I believe the reason the problem of evil causes such a road block is that it’s simply a touchy subject when you begin to break down why the suffering is or isn’t justified. Many theorists tackle this problem by explaining that God’s view isn’t skewed by time. He sees everything as a whole and if some suffering is needed for the progression of mankind, then no one’s pain or loss is in vain. This can see where this statement could hold some truth but I believe it leaves out the crucial aspect of the human influence. I don’t believe it was in God’s plan all along for children to starve or for innocent people to suffer terrible pains caused by evil people, but it’s quite obvious that our society is in an unstable state as it is right now. It is our power of choice and free will to make bad decisions that led us here. One might ask how long our economy and government will be able to hold up at the current pace. It’s no surprise to hear people all around hinting that a fundamental reform may be the only way to repair the damage done to our government, caused by the questionable decisions made by our predecessors. This rebuild and change would surely cause suffering of many people, but in the long term could bring great prosperity to society in the aftermath.
This sounds entirely narcissistic, as if suffering is okay as long as it’s not you or your loved ones who are suffering. But, if you believe that God created us in his image, giving us the life to live, then one must also believe that God knows what’s best for you. When you think of it in these terms, suffering nor death should bother someone who believes in heaven, because if they follow God’s word and try their best to live an honest life, then the rest will be handled by God. You’ll live peacefully in heaven with no sorrow or pain. In respect to the entire time mankind has been on earth, my life is just a tiny speck. If my even more incredibly small time possibly spent suffering can help better my country, state, or even the world, then I have to believe it was worth it in the end. I would say many people disagree, that no one should have to suffer or go through pain and then all would be well in our perfect utopia. This, I believe, is impossible. The idea of a perfect society completely contradicts the existence of our free will, which brings me to the other side of the problem of evil.
Senseless suffering is unfair and no one should wish pain upon any other human being, but we’ve all come to realize that there will always be someone who wants to cause someone else pain for whatever reason. It’s part of the free will contract. If there was no bad, no pain or suffering, there would be no good, justice, or happiness either. Evil and good are both needed to counteract one another so that we may appreciate the good when it comes and respect the evil and suffering for what it is and what it represents. Even though there are thousands of people going hungry or dying for someone else’s actions all around the world, many Americans sit comfortably in their La-Z-Boy, watching TV, complaining about cold coffee, all the while blaming God for all the terrible deeds that he lets happen. I believe the blame is to be placed upon us as a society. We are given free will and the power to change the world yet we choose act selfishly. This selfishness is what brings societies to their knees, and many times God is a scapegoat for bad times, when our decisions driven by greed are the real culprit.
All of this is the effect of our ability to act freely. I for one much prefer having the free will to at least think for myself, rather than living a boring, routine life. We have to be grateful of whatever freedoms we have and use them properly. Faith is an essential part in this grand scheme because faith in God empowers people to act honestly and help people around them. Faith helps us understand the evil in the world. It is the product of our own decisions and is ultimately inevitable. In the end, no human is perfect, but it’s our duty to do the best we can to improve ourselves and in turn better our own societies. This is the reason we were given free will and also the reason evil and suffering still exists. It’s easy to blame someone else, your parents, your government, God, but at some point we have to acknowledge that the things happening today are the consequences of our own actions of yesterday.
1. Warburton, Nigel. “God.” Philosophy the Basics. 5th ed. New York, New York: Routledge,