Proving the Existence of God, Part 1

Many undertake the immense task of attempting to prove the existence of God. It has been a topic of much debate among religious and non-religious scholars for centuries. The current trend for proving the existence of God is to require “scientific proof” of God’s existence. This is popular because it is widely held that it is a task that cannot be accomplished, which is simply not the case. God’s existence can be proven, and can be done scientifically. That will be the purpose of this series of posts. In this post I will outline the three possible stances one can take on the existence of God. The following posts will outline the criterion for what will be considered scientific evidence, the giving of the evidence, and most likely a summary post. Enjoy this series and feel free to comment in support of my points or in opposition to them. I will also be adding link to the other posts at the bottom of each post as I continue the series.

There are three stances regarding the existence of God. The first of these three stances is commonly known as Agnosticism. This stance holds the view that one cannot know if God does or does not exist. In summary, God is unknowable. The view becomes self-defeating because it boils down to the assertion one knows enough about God to affirm that God cannot be known. The statement is contradictory and leads to a view that is likewise contradictory and cannot, therefore, be held to be a viable option. With this in mind, agnosticism is ruled out as a possible stance on the existence of God.

The second view is termed Atheism. Generally, this view holds that the non-existence of God is a certainty and, therefore, critiques belief in God or spiritual beings. Dawkins wrote, “God almost certainly does not exist.” If one takes this position, however, they become dogmatic in their belief and do not leave open the possibility that God exists. This openness is essential since according to the majority of atheists there are no “proofs” of God’s existence. With this openness it becomes possible for the atheist to assume that if God exists, then there would be evidence to demonstrate his existence.

This is where the “burden-of-proof” argument enters into the discussion. The atheist asserts that it is the responsibility of the one who claims that God exists to produce the evidence to show that it is such. This further leads to the claim that it is by empirical evidence and empirical evidence alone that God’s existence is demonstrated. One method, which is more successful at discrediting the claim, is to find something that is contradictory in the claim itself thus proving that the claim is irrational by its very nature. Since a negative cannot be proven, that is the non-existence of God, the atheist undertakes the task of invalidating any positive arguments or proofs for the existence of God. J.L. Mackie expressed this well when he wrote:

In the end, therefore, we can agree with what Laplace said about God: we have no need of that hypothesis. This conclusion can be reached by an examination precisely of the arguments advanced in favour of theism, without even bringing into play what have been regarded as the strongest considerations on the other side, the problem of evil and the various natural histories of religion.

The final view on the existence of God is known as theism. There are two possible stances among theists. One stance claims, “God exists but cannot be demonstrated as such.” The other stance states, “God exists and can be demonstrated as such.” Since the former view does not apply to the discussion at hand, it will be ignored. The latter view makes the bold claim that God’s existence can be proven, and this is where the contention lies. Is there sufficient evidence to lead to the conclusion that God, in fact, does exist? It is to this point I will turn in the next post.

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