Understandings of God

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Different understandings of God from the cosmologi

  • God as the temporal first cause-Argument from motion and cause, focus on God as the efficient cause
  • God as the sustainer of motion, causation and existence-Argument from contingency and explain cause in esse
  • God as the explanation of why there is something rather than nothing-principle of sufficient reason
  • Gods exsitence as necessary-Contingency, cause and motion arguments explain uncaused, unmoved
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Key Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

  • Flew:"a gross howler" to start an argument with premise "everything has a cause" and then to conclude there is something which does not have a cause, is a logical fallacy. Denying the infinite yet saying God is infinite is nonsense
  • Hume:It is a common error in human reasoning to say that when we observe two things happening together, one is the cause of the other. We have no proof for this. We can only say that there is constant conjuction, not that there is a cause. Therefore no need for a first cause. 
  • Hume-The only worthwhile knowledge is that which can be empirically tested. We have no way of testing the claim that the universe had a cause so therefore the statement is meaningless. (Also Kant) 
  • Hume-Rejected the principle of sufficient reason on the grounds that it commits the fallacy of composition-just because everything in the universe has a reason, doesnt mean the whole universe must
  • Russell-Rejected the idea of making a special case of God, and calling him a necessary being. He said this was meaningless
  • Russell-No reason why the universe shouldnt just be a brute fact-not at all in need of a total explanation " I should say the universe is just there"
  • Science-Although the big bang theory supports the idea of a start to the universe, if oscillating state theory is true, the universe vcould still be infinite with continual bangs and crunches going on forever. No need for a first cause
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The strengths of the argument/how successful it is

  • We are able to measure time, so we cannot be in actual infinte universe. This is the Kalam Argument. If you could add anything to infinity, it would be true or "actual" infinity. Since more things are always happening in the universe then it must have had a start. 
  • It is a posteriori- so people can witness cause and effect and people can see that this must start somewhere.
  • In science the simplest explanation is always to be chosen. God is the simplest explanation for why there is something not nothing (Swinburne)
  • Since has shown there was a start to the whole universe, by their big bang theory 
  • Science cannot tell us what caused the big bang 
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How reasonable is it to believe in God based on th

NOT REASONABLE

  • "On the face of it, it might seem reasonable because...it is based on a posteriori experience. So people can observe cause and effect for themselves.
  • "However...I think that Kant is right when he says you cant experience the cause of the whole universe so this isnt really a valid rational basis for belief 
  • Whils some people would think the argument is rational because it fits with science in particular the big bang theory which agrees that the universe began out of nothin
  • However...quantum physics has thrown this in doubt because it shows that there are uncaused events in the universe
  • There are many other logical failures with the argument for example Flew's argument
  • Humes fallacy of composition
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Religious experiences

  • Non empirical occurance
  • Possibly seen as supernatural
  • A mental even undergone by an individual who is aware of what is happening
  • Thos who have had one are drawn into deeper awareness of God
  • Each experience is unique
  • and a vehicle to bring people closer to the divine
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Visions

  • Visions occur when an individual believes they have seen or hear something supernatural or a supernatural being
  • There are three ways they can be experienced
  • Intellectual vision-Knowledge and understanding isgiven, revelation from God
  • Imaginary vision-Something that strengthens faith is seen with the mids eye
  • Corporeal vision-The figure is externally present
  • They are noetic because they provide insights into unobtainable truths-not through reason
  • Insight is gained through perception and intuition i.e. you cannot say how you know something:you just know it
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Conversions

  • Vision often leads to conversion because you have proof God exists
  • Two types of conversion
  • Volitional type-a conscious and voluntary experience that happens over time
  • Self surrender type-involuntary experience, the element that God takes control of, often sudden
  • Conversion leads to change in a persons life if they become aware of the present wrongness of their life and the positive chance that they will have to take
  • Exampl is Nicky Cruz
  • Self surrender because God suddenly took control of him
  • Lead to a change in his life because he wanted to be good
  • Started to study the bible 
  • Went to bible collegeand became a preacher
  • Effects were permanent because it lasted forever
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Mystical Experience

  • Features are:
  • Knowlegde of the ultimate reality usually hidden from humans
  • Sense of freedom from the limitations of time, space and the human ego is experienced
  • Sense of oneness with the divine of bliss or serenity
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