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Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Existence Of God: Theories Of Thomas Aquinas, St. Anselm, And Wil - 1068 words
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.. d find no reasonat all that there must at one time have been an infinite goodness, to base acomparison on. I find this reasoning absurd and am in no way convinced of theexistence of a God because of this argument.The Fifth Way: The Argument From Harmony In his final argument Aquinas bases it on the possession of knowledgeand writes that things that lack knowledge work towards a goal. He argues thatit is not by chance that people reach their goals. There must then be somethingpossessing infinite knowledge guiding natural things, thus God.
I disagree with Aquinas' reasoning here again. He does not take intoaccount the possibility of the concept of "learning" and does not consider thatover time, through the "survival of the fittest", "trial and error", etc.evolution is possible and much more probable than the existence of a God, andthat through evolution comes the gaining of knowledge and that is how man hasacquired today's wisdom. Therefore in his final argument Aquinas again fails toprove (to me at least) the existence of God. The second reading is by St. Anselm (1033-1109) who wrote severaltreatises on theological subjects
St. Anselm writes of the greatness of God and how if a person hears thata being exists, which nothing greater can be conceived of, he understands,although he does not understand it to exist. If this is understood, then itexists in the understanding and that which nothing greater can be conceivedcannot exist only in the understanding because then it would be possible for itto exist greater, in reality. Therefore if it (God) exists in the understandingit must also exist in reality. I find this argument totally futile in that just because someone couldunderstand that God exists in his mind and also understands God entirely doesnot mean that he/she (God) exists. If I understand (for example) dragons andnot only understand them in my mind but entirely, that does not mean they exist.What of writers? Not only must Stephen King understand a character in his mindbut entirely, inside and out, what he thinks, dreams (character) and doesbecomes part of King's mind in order to truly portray this character that Kinghas "created". Does this make this character a reality? I think not and do notcredit St.
Anselm with anything for this portion of his argument. He (St. Anselm) goes on to write later of the conceivement of a beingbetter than God, and the absurdity of this. For if this was to occur theCreature would rise above the Creator. He goes on to explain how conceiving anobject and understanding it are totally different.
These two things, conceivingand understanding lay the basis for most of the writing and basically it seemsthat he is talking more about faith than actuality. He seems to restrict mostof his ideas to the minds and hearts of men and leave out the real aspect inquestion: Is there any way of truly proving that God exists? I think not andthrough St. Anselm's writings he has done nothing to convince me of otherwise.William Paley: The Watch and the Watchmaker William Paley (1743-1805) was a leading evangelical apologist. Thiswriting comes from the first chapter of his most important work, Natural Theory,or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from theAppearances of Nature (1802). Paley described a scene in which a person finds a stone and assumes thatit has always been there, but when that same person finds a watch andautomatically assumes differently the a question arises: Is finding a watch anydifferent than finding a stone? And ultimately, does a God exist and if not howare we, and everything around us, here? Paley goes on to describe the innerworkings of the watch comparing them to everyday life and the workings of nature.He uses the fact that one in a million men know how the inner workings ofcertain parts of a watch work and still no doubt arises in our minds as to theexistence of it's maker.
He does this to show that we shouldn't doubt theexistence of God just because we don't know how he works. Also how if we founda watch and it didn't work perfectly we should not expect flawlessness, for itis not necessary for a machine to be perfect for us to see the design it wasmade. Thus explaining evil in the world and the problems in today's societyeven though God exists. He writes how absurd it is to assume that the watch isa result of the common workings of "metallic nature" and relates this toScience's explanation of the evolution of man in an attempt of discrediting it.In general he compares the watch and how we know it was made to the world welive in and more specifically to us, mankind. Paley has many good points and his use of the watch as a metaphor forlife in his writing is the work of genius.
In contrast though, I believe hisarguments to be flawed in that we know there is only one way to construct awatch (a person, a watchmaker, builds it) and when it comes to the question ofthe world we live in and our life itself, there is much uncertainty. We havebeen told by Scientists that there are perfectly good explanations as to theexistence of the universe and that of man. This is the same as in the argumentsof Thomas Aquinas that it is much easier to believe in a visible, measurableconcept such as the principle of nature, instead of something so complex it isnear in-conceivable, and not able to be seen or measured, like the existence ofGod. Although I enjoyed reading Paley and am amazed at the intricate nature ofhis work I am still a skeptic when it comes to the existence of God and nothingshort of first hand experience will change that. In conclusion, I have spent the most time writing on Thomas Aquinas forthe fact that I believe him to be the most thorough and discerning of the three.He argues both sides and although his arguments for the existence of God donothing to convince myself, he does raise some valid points with the logic ofhis arguments being brilliant. He should be recognized as an extraordinaryreligious scholar (as he is) who examines both sides of an argument on a subjectthat at the time (early 1200's) it was forbidden to even question (the existenceof God).
I have enjoyed these readings and consider myself more well-versed onthe subject because of them.
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