Philosophies of Religion Generally Fall Term Paper

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Nevertheless, personal experience is a powerful method of argument, especially when the credibility of the individual is not called into question. The moral argument in favor of the existence of God is weak because the existence of human morality does not in itself mean that God is the origin of morals. Rather, God has often been used as a motive to prompt people to act a certain way, according to religious scripture or doctrine. Miracles pose a significant problem for the philosopher of religion, because if an act is deemed miraculous, it supercedes the laws of nature. However, the laws of nature are always subject to God; therefore, a miracle cannot theoretically exist.

Pascal's "wager" is yet another theistic philosophy of religion, one that is based primarily on self-interest. Pascal suggested that believing in God is a "better bet" than not believing in God. The individual who believes has nothing to lose and everything to gain, whereas the non-believer could stake his soul on a simple philosophical principle. Pascal's wager is weak in that it offers no proof of the existence of God. Like many theistic arguments, Pascal's wager relies heavily on a Christian concept of God and of Heaven and Hell.

Atheistic arguments can be as logically weak as their theistic counterparts. For instance, placing the entire burden of proof on the theist is akin to a philosophical cop-out, because just as there is no clear-cut proof of the existence of God, there is also no clear-cut proof of the non-existence of God. Nevertheless, without the burden of proof people could claim the existence of all sorts of phantasmagoric creatures like unicorns. Therefore, the atheist makes a sound claim with this "primary presumption." Atheists also point out that many arguments in favor of God are contradictory. For example, God is presented as a perfect and benevolent being. Yet the world is ripe with imperfection and evil. Similarly, God is usually defined as being omniscient and omnipotent. Yet human beings clearly have free will. Religions have presented many means of navigating through these conflicts, but no counterargument is eminently successful.

All philosophies of religion have strengths and weaknesses. Some are more personally appealing than others. A thorough examination of all the major theistic and atheistic arguments only proves the difficulty of proving the existence or non-existence of God. Moreover, most of the aforementioned arguments suppose a certain definition of God, endowing God with a set of human-imposed qualities. It is entirely possible, for instance, that God is causeless and neutral, even imperfect. While none of the arguments persuade me to personally take up their cause, I cannot help but appreciate the blank assertion by the atheist that the burden of proof will always rest with the philosopher who tries to prove the existence of God.

Works Cited

Holt, Tim. "Arguments for Atheism." Philosophy of Religion.info. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/atheisticproofs.html.

Holt, Tim. "Arguments for the Existence of God." Philosophy of Religion.info. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theisticproofs.html.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Holt, Tim. "Arguments for Atheism." Philosophy of Religion.info. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/atheisticproofs.html.

Holt, Tim. "Arguments for the Existence of God." Philosophy of Religion.info. http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theisticproofs.html.

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