The Existence of God
For centuries, the idea of God has been a part of man's history. Past and present, there has always been a different integration consisting of the believers and the non-believers of God. The group of those who have « faith»
In God tend to be related to one religion or another. On the other hand, the skeptics find the existence of God somewhat puzzling and try to seek the answers through scientific methods. Even as of today with all the modern technologies and the development of sciences, we still do not have a definitive answer to the question « does God exist?»
Among many philosophers and scholars who have tried to answer this question, we shall look upon Rene Descartes' theory on the existence of God. In terms of believers and non-believers, Descartes would be one of the believers. Before we go any further, we must ponder upon several questions. What is God? Does God exist? If such God does exist, then where does this being come from? Why do believers and non-believers hold on to their beliefs as they do? What significance does the existence of God have upon mankind? These are only the tip of the iceberg amongst the vast array of unanswered questions related to God.
Though there are so many uncertainties as we have just mentioned, the existence of all other uncertainties in our world may explain why the existence of God is so real to many people. For the believers, God provides a convenient answer to all these questions except for the answers regarding God itself. The following are some of the general arguments for the existence of God.
The first argument comes from the theory of design; there are orders in the universe which can't be occurring by mere chance. Secondly, the existence of God explains the arguments regarding the efficient causality; as the world exhibits orderly causal sequences, something had to start it all up. Thirdly but not the least, God provides an answer to the question of the origin of life and its destination after death. ( For the sake of convenience, we shall borrow some theological ideas from Christianity, the Christian God, to exemplify our comparisons.) As an example, God is the creator of all, and there is a place in
heaven, a kingdom of God, for those who have faith in God. This helps believers understand their identity and alleviate the fear of death.
Now then, let us look upon how Descartes responds to the question of what God is? Descartes' hypothesis on his theory starts with the idea of a God who is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, and perfect. In his earlier Meditations, he claims that God may be a deceiver; he, however, concludes later that God is a non-deceiver because an act of
deceit would be an attribute of moral imperfection. According to Descartes, this idea of a supremely intelligent and supremely powerful being, who created everything that exists, can not and does not come from within him who is imperfect. Moreover, this perception did not originate from the experiences of the world, nor was this drawn from the senses. Rather, he believes that this perception of God is prior to his own perception, and it could only actually arise from a perfect being. Thus Descartes concludes the only remaining option to be that this perception was innate in him.
If we assume that God is perfect, then we may wonder why human beings, a creation of God, are created imperfect and liable to make mistakes? Since an imperfect creation was made by God, doesn't this mean that he is imperfect? Yet, Descartes claims that God gave humans no faculty for making mistakes, and we are constituted as a mediator between God and nothingness. The reasoning behind the justifications made by Descartes is related to « free will.»
Descartes states that the faculty of judgement is not infinite in human beings; human error is not dependent upon God but is rather a mere defect. On the other hand, free will is a
freedom to choose which is infinite. Furthermore, he implies that the fact that the boundaries of will extending further than the finite intellect is the very source of human error.
From this discussion, it is clear that humans do have the capacity to err. Even if we considered that the above statements were true, couldn't we make an argument about why God has created such imbalance between the magnitudes of the will and the intellect? Then this imbalance can be accounted as a defect no matter what the justification may be; moreover, this implies that God did indeed make a mistake by creating a being that has faculties that lack perfection. From this we can derive at the possibility that God may be imperfect, and this is a contradiction to Descartes' argument of God as a perfect being.
In the «
Descartes attempts to prove his hypothesis of the existence of God based on the theory of clarity and distinctness of perception. He begins this theory by mentioning that ideas of certain things which are outside of him have their own truth and natures. These ideas were not fabricated by him, and they have not entered him through the sense experience. Since he knows these ideas clearly, he claims that they are something and are true. Descartes states that those that he can clearly and distinctly perceive are the only things that fully convince him as being true. From this concept, he constructs a logic which supposedly proves his hypothesis; the clear and distinct perception of the undoubted existence of God means that existence is inseparable from God.
From this assumption, Descartes jumps to the conclusion that God does indeed exist; however, can this be considered as a legitimate reasoning and be accepted as a proof beyond reasonable doubt? Must everything that Descartes perceives be true as long as it is clear and distinct? Isn't he revolving in a loop of circular reasoning by assuming as true the very point that he is trying to prove? Let us ponder upon what Descartes has said before for the sake of argument. In « Meditation Four,»
He clearly states that «
The will extends further than the intellect «
(p85.) He also stated that the faculty of choosing, his will, is finite. If this is so, then the faculty of knowing the truth, his intellect, must be also be finite. Furthermore, Descartes himself acknowledges the fact that he is not perfect. From these premises, I believe that we have the grounds to speculate that the perceptions based on his finite faculties of knowledge hold the potential of having mistakes.
In the above discussion, I was trying neither to prove nor disprove the existence of God; I was, however, trying to offer some skepticism upon statements which many people have claimed about the existence of God. Although Descartes embraces quite a grand statement on the issues of God, I felt that his beliefs were biased towards his own perception and lacked evidence in proving that God exists to the point beyond reasonable doubt.
I believe that neither Descartes nor modern science have been able to successfully prove whether God exists or not.
What's really important, no matter whether such a being exists or not, is that the ideology of God has certainly existed throughout the history of man. Moreover, the power of this ideology of God has proven to be overwhelming among the believers who have faith in its religion. Even for the non-believers or so called atheists, the ideology of God has an affect and/or an influence on them in one way or another. On a larger scale, it is not an exaggeration to say that our society is built on the ideology of God. What is your opinion? « In God we trust?»
In our individual routines, each and every one of us strive to be the Best that we are capable of being. How peculiar this is; we aim for similar Goals, yet the methods we enact are unique. Just as no two people have the same Fingerprint, no two have identical theories on how to live life. While some Follow religious outlines to aspire to a level of moral excellence, others Pursue different approaches. Toward the end of the Nineteenth-Century and on Through the mid-Twentieth, a movement followed « existentialism,»
A philosophical Theory of life, in order to achieve such a level. Even though the idea of Existentialism is complex, certain themes are common amongst philosophers and Authors: moral individualism, freedom of choice, responsibility, alienation.
Fundamental to understanding existentialism is the conception of moral Individualism. Existentialism rejects traditional ethical endeavors. Philosophers since the time of Aristotle, circa Third-Century B. C. E. (before the Common era), have held that everyone should aim for a common peak of ethical Achievement. Aristotle argued for the existence of a divine being, described as The « Prime Mover,»
Who is responsible for the unity and purposefulness of nature.
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Descartes «I think therefore I am» Man wills, refuses, perceives, understands, and denies many principles. As explained by Rene' Descartes, man is a thinking thing, a conscious being who truthfully exists because he is certain that it is so. All that man perceives is internally present and not external to him or his mind. The focal Descartes Views On God Sample essay topic, essay writing: Descartes Views On God - 725 words
Descartes Views on GodFrom reading some of his works, one might assume that Rene Descartes does not believe in the existence of a heavenly being, a God that presides over humans and gives us faith. I do not believe this to be the case. Hume and Descartes on the Theory of Ideas David Hume and Rene Descartes are philosophers with opposing views about the origination of ideas. Descartes believed there were three types of ideas which are, innate, adventitious and those from imagination. He stated since he exists and his idea of what a perfect being is, such as God, then God exists. Hume, on the other The Believers: the Church The small group of Jesus' followers that gathered in Jerusalem after his departure did not call themselves anything special, they considered themselves to be Jews. The word Christian came into use years later and was originally a derogatory term used by outsiders. This group of Jews became known as Jews of the Way. During the Descartes and the Material World Can you doubt that the material world exists? If you can't, does it follow that Descartes' method of doubt is useless?
It is very difficult to know for certain if the material world exists or not because we are dealing with metaphysical philosophy. Metaphysical philosophy is the branch of philosophy concerned with the basic nature of