April 21st, 2013
Interestingly, there is an argument used by atheists to demonstrate that God is impossible, which picks up on the ontological argument. This argument is traditionally called the reverse ontological argument. Instead of demonstrating that God a maximally great being that exists necessarily, the reverse form is used to demonstrate that God is impossible. To give a context for the atheistic argument here are the two most popular versions of the theistic ontological argument:
The Anselmian Ontological Argument (Theistic)
- God exists in the understanding
- God is a possible being
- If X exists only in the understanding and is a possible being, then X might have been greater
- Suppose God exists only in the understanding
- God might have been greater (2, 4, 3)
- God is a being than which a greater is not possible
- So, a being than which nothing greater is not possible is a being which is greater is possible
- Since 4 led to a contradiction 4 must be false
- God exists not only in the understanding alone—God exists in reality as well
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April 10th, 2012
I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus is my Lord and saviour.
‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.’ C.S Lewis’ oft-quoted remark encapsulates much of what I will say here in rambling form.
I’m not sure how I came by faith (apart from vague notions of grace and providence) but it has been transformative. First an apology: this piece of autobiography will no doubt seem sterile compared to the other inspiring accounts I have read here however I wanted to explore Max’s request (perhaps for self-indulgent reasons): there was nothing dramatic in my conversion and I have never had anything that resembles a full-blown religious experience.
My childhood was one of rather superficial, middle of the road Anglicanism (CoE) but church was reserved for Christmas and Easter which I opted out of upon turning 16. Despite these biannual outings to church, my parents never expressed clear religious leanings and have become increasingly agnostic: once the children left home these excursions ceased. I was an unreflective atheist for much of my childhood but gradually this changed to a self-satisfied agnosticism when I began to study philosophy in a thoroughly secularised environment
Prior to my rather late ‘higher’ education I had begun to experiment with drugs and engage in promiscuous behaviour: my relativistic outlook provided the perfect justification for the self-centred life that I had chosen. The department in which I studied (and the university as a whole) was unashamedly naturalistic – theism was explored as an interesting historical curiosity that had been vanquished by David Hume and no contemporary theistic arguments were considered on the reading lists (or if they were, they were not highlighted by the lecturers as being worthy of the level of scrutiny which they perhaps deserved).
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November 26th, 2011
The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette. Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations. Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University. He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media. You can view his website at moondogsmediahouse.com.
You could describe me as a binge thinker. Often perfectly satisfied hanging out on the periphery of ignorance. I occasionally strolled into the hallowed halls of academia–mostly when challenged by opposing worldviews–and then only selectively dipping my toe into the apologetics pool. I could bandy about words like existential, presupposition, relativism—and quote what little I understand from Francis Schaeffer—“Ah, what an intellectual high!”
Each binge is informative, satisfying, and provides quick, easy answers in debate to support my Christian worldview—in many cases just to replenish my ever weakening apologetic force-field. I have given my life to Christ and believe there is rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith; however, I was not loving God–with all of my mind—it was more like by the seat of my pants.
Truthfully I have never jumped entirely into the apologetic pool and certainly had no idea of how deep the waters ran. That is until I encountered the likes of Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Alister McGrath, and John Lennox. Up until then I was quite content challenging my skeptic and atheist friends with my devastating charm and sophisticated good looks—or was it my full-throttled arrogance and freshman understanding of the brilliant text Introduction to Philosophy “A Christian Perspective” by Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg?!
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July 29th, 2011
In 1974 Alvin Plantinga developed a modal version of the ontological argument, which is as follows:
- The property of being maximally great is exemplified in some possible world.
- The property of being maximally great is equivalent, by definition, to the property of being maximally excellent in every possible world.
- The property of being maximally excellent entails the properties of omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection.
- A universal property is one that is exemplified in every possible world or none.
- Any property that is equivalent to some property that holds in every possible world is a universal property.
- Therefore, there exists a being that is essentially omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect (God).
Ax =df x is maximally great
Bx =df x is maximally excellent
W(Y) =df Y is a universal property
Ox =df x is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect
1 ◊(∃x)Ax pr