God/arguments for

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This page documents commonly advanced arguments for the existence of God, and any responses or refutations to them.

The List

this list is incomplete

mathematical arguments

  • [[]]: the definition of God is that he possesses only positive qualities. Not existing would be a negative quality, therefore he must exist. This boils down to a statement that "If an entity possessing only positive qualities existed, then it couldn't not exist." – which doesn't prove anything at all.

metaphysical arguments

  • The cosmological argument argues that there was a "first cause", or "prime mover" who is identified as God.
  • The ontological argument is based on arguments that a "being greater than God can not be conceived".
  • The pantheistic argument defines God as All and is an argument similar to monism and panentheism.
  • The mind-body problem argument postulates that it is impossible to grasp the relation of consciousness to materiality without introducing a divinity.
  • Arguments that some observed non-physical quality (such as justice, beauty, love or religious experience) is of fundamental importance and not an epiphenomenon.

empirical arguments

  • The teleological argument (argument from design) argues that the universe's order and complexity shows signs of purpose (telos), and that it must have been designed by an intelligent designer with properties that only a god could have.
  • The anthropic argument focuses on basic facts, such as our existence, to prove God.
  • The moral argument argues that objective morality exists and that therefore God exists.
  • The transcendental argument for the existence of God argues that logic, science, ethics, and other things we take seriously do not make sense if there is no God, and that atheist arguments must therefore ultimately refute themselves if pressed with rigorous consistency. (By contrast, its criticisms include a transcendental argument for the non-existence of God.)
  • The Will to Believe Doctrine was pragmatist philosopher William James' attempt to prove God by showing that the adoption of theism as a hypothesis "works" in a believer's life. This doctrine depended heavily on James' pragmatic theory of truth where beliefs are proven by how they work when adopted rather than by proofs before they are believed (a form of the hypothetico-deductive method).

arguments from history

  • The argument from the life of Jesus asserts that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, that in this he was either deluded, deceitful or truthful, and that it is possible to assess Jesus's character sufficiently from the accounts of his life and teaching to rule out the first two possibilities.
  • The argument from the Resurrection of Jesus asserts that there is sufficient historical evidence for Jesus's resurrection and that this vindicates his claim to be Son of God and a fortiori God's existence. There is common ground between theists and atheists that if the resurrection occurred substantially as described in the Bible, then Christianity is substantially true; non-Christians simply dispute the premise.
  • Islam asserts that the life of Mohammed and especially the giving of the Koran by an Angel similarly vindicates Islam.
  • Judaism asserts that God intervened in key specific moments in history, especially at the Exodus and the giving of the Ten Commandments, thus demonstrating his special care for the Jewish people, and a fortiori his existence.
  • Mormonism similarly asserts that the miraculous finding of the Book of Mormon vindicates Mormonism.