Reviewing Proofs for the existence of God.

| December 1, 2009 | 4 Replies

Over at Edge.com, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein presents an extraordinary collection of proofs for the existence of God. The problem with these proofs, however, is that they aren’t actually proofs, which Seltzer succinctly explains, one-by-one. Take, for instance, Goldstein’s analysis of the Argument from Holy Books:

1. There are holy books that reveal the word of God.

2. The word of God is necessarily true.

3. The word of God reveals the existence of God.

4. God exists.

Seltzer isn’t convinced:

FLAW 1: This is a circular argument if ever there was one. The first three premises cannot be maintained unless one independently knows the very conclusion to be proved, namely that God exists.

FLAW 2: A glance at the world’s religions shows that there are numerous books and scrolls and doctrines and revelations that all claim to reveal the word of God. But they are mutually incompatible. Should I believe that Jesus is my personal savior? Or should I believe that God made a covenant with the Jews requiring every Jew to keep the commandments of the Torah? Should I believe that Mohammad was Allah’s last prophet and that Ali, the prophet’s cousin and husband of his daughter Fatima, ought to have been the first caliph, or that Mohammad was Allah’s last prophet and that Ali was the fourth and last caliph? Should I believe that the resurrected prophet Moroni dictated the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith? Or that Ahura Mazda, the benevolent Creator, is at cosmic war with the malevolent Angra Mainyu? And on and on it goes. Only the most arrogant provincialism could allow someone to believe that the holy documents that happen to be held sacred by the clan he was born into are true, while all the documents held sacred by the clans he wasn’t born into are false.

Keep in mind that Goldstein’s analyses are rigorous and serious. Her collection includes many “proofs” that you don’t typically encounter in philosophy of religion classes, but you constantly encounter in people’s living rooms and on public buses. Consider these “proofs,” for example:

19. The Argument from Personal Purpose
20. The Argument from the Intolerability of Insignificance
22. The Argument from the Consensus of Mystics
23. The Argument from Holy Books
27. The Argument from The Upward Curve of History
33. The Argument from the Unreasonableness of Reason

If you’re in a mood to have a chuckle at those who conjure up supernatural beings through word-logic, try these humorous proofs for the existence of God.

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Category: Humor, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I know that God is real because:

    God is invisible, and I can't see him.God is mysterious, and none of his Word makes senseHe works in mysterious ways, and no study ever done can detect a difference between his actions and random events

    How much more proof does one need?

  2. Ebonmuse says:

    Just a minor correction – Cass Seltzer is a character in a book that presents these proofs. The person you want to credit is the author, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    There is a fellow named Perry Marshall who has a video lecture on youtube in which he seriously claims that existence of DNA is proof that god exists.

    It is full of flawed logic and is a perfect example of what the late Dr Isaac Asimov called a "Judo" argument. He basically pushes the idea that inteligence is required to create order from chaos and that drawing from his background as a sound engineer, likens random mutations to acoustic noise. The major flaw in his analogy is that the environment acts as a resonant filter, so a true analogy would depict the enfironment as a flute, ell or ring modulator.

    Often when faced with a theist who claims that god created everything, the first question is my mind is "Who created god?"

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