How do we prove that things exist?
There are three main ways of proving that something exists. (These can be applied to all of the topics for this part of the course.)
1) Personal Experience- e.g. I have seen it, so I know that it exists.
2) Reliable Evidence- e.g. I haven't seen it but I have been convinced by the accounts of others. This could be video footage, other people's stories of their experiences or the Bible.
3) Logic- e.g. I believe in God because I think it is more logical to believe that He exists.
They can also be used as reasons not to believe in something:
- A lack of personal experience
- Not been convinced by accounts/ do not think evidence is reliable
- Think it is illogical to believe
Beliefs and Titles
A theist believes in God
An atheist does not believe in God.
An agnostic is unsure about their beliefs. They need more proof to be convinced.
Make sure you don't get theist and atheist mixed up!
The Design (teleological) argument
The design argument was thought of by William Paley. Paley used a watch to express his ideas- if you found a watch on the street, even if you had never seen one before, you would know that it had been designed because of the way in which all the parts work together so well. As it has been designed, it must have had a designer- the watchmaker. He said that it was the same with the Universe- it is so perfect that it must have been designed! He said that only God could have designed something so complicated, so therefore God exists. (It's got a few holes in it, I know, but we'll get to that!)