Peter Kreeft is a Professor of Philosophy and a Catholic. He is one of the almost three dozen writers at Strange Notions, a blog devoted to discussion between atheists and Catholics.
Recently he blogged outlining 20 arguments that support the existence of God.
The main theistic arguments (Cosmological, Design, Moral, Religious experience, Ontological) are all there, of course. But in addition there are slightly different versions of these main arguments, plus less well known and generally weaker arguments (e.g. the Argument from desire, the Common consent argument and the Argument from truth). Pascal’s Wager, not really an argument for the existence of God at all, also appears.
People have also developed arguments against the existence of God, but these aren’t outlined, or answered, here.
How good are these arguments?
None of these arguments are “proofs”, and don’t claim to be. But Kreeft suggests that the cumulative effect of all the arguments, including the relatively weaker ones, “demonstrate the existence of a being that has some of the properties only God can have (no argument proves all the divine attributes); but all twenty taken together, like twined rope, make a very strong case.”
It will be no surprise that some of them, taken together, convince me – my next post will give an assessment of which arguments, both for and against God’s existence, convince me the most, and will ask for readers’ own views.
But they don’t convince others
It is sometimes said that a good argument is one that will convince an open-minded person who knows the facts. But theistic and anti-theistic arguments don’t seem to work that way – people generally seem to find the arguments for their point of view convincing, but those opposing their viewpoint are not at all convincing.
So it is that the most recent comment includes this: “i don’t understand why these ‘arguments’ are still being trotted out as though they may have some, yet unforeseen, validity”
Technically, all these arguments have validity (i.e. the conclusions logically follow from the premises), the real problem this commenter is alluding to is that he (I am assuming) doesn’t agree with the conclusions, and presumably don’t agree with some of the premises. But assessment of the reasonableness of premises is not a cut and dried matter – different people will legitimately disagree about them – so it is hard to see how any of these arguments could be unquestionably proved or disproved.
What about you?
How do you respond to the cumulative ‘force’ of these 20 arguments?
I have just completed my summary, over 5 pages, of the best half dozen theistic arguments and the best 3 anti-theistic arguments. You can read them, plus an introductory and conclusion page, at Is there a God?