The existence of a God or Gods has been in question for hundreds of years. There are several reasons why people believe in God, the first of which being tradition. Most people are brought up with the teachings of an existence a God or Gods by their parents or guardians. They simply accept the fact that a God exists because that is what their family has taught them and expects them to believe. Most likely, they will continue this trend and also teach their children to believe in God, just like their parents taught them. A second reason people believe in God is for a sense of community. People that believe in a similar God feel a connection and sense of togetherness. Going to weekly religious ceremonies and events can build a strong bond between otherwise dissimilar peoples. There is a feeling reassurance knowing that other people believe in the same thing as them. A third reason people choose to believe in God is for a sense of hope or comfort. They want to know that there is someone looking out for them, or that there is a cause behind “unexplainable” circumstances. A belief in God makes people feel at ease because they think things are always under control and that everything happens for a reason. Lastly, a belief in a God usually entails the hope for some kind of afterlife. This also gives people a reason to worship and respect a God, with optimism for a better life after they die.
However, there is no way to explicitly prove the existence of a God or Gods. While millions of people may believe in God, that does not mean that one exists. No one can prove that they have seen one. People may claim that they have seen God, but there are no actual pictures or videos of Him. Mentally and emotionally, people claim to say that they feel God’s presence. Again, this is not concrete proof for the existence of a God. Also, many “unexplainable” situations and circumstances, which people reason to be acts of God can be proven scientifically. There have been many advances in scientific fields in recent years that disprove many religious stories and assertions. This further supports the argument that there may be no God. For these reasons, I do not think that it is logical to believe in God.
The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard argued that God is not logical, but that it is good to believe in Him and that God does indeed exist. He wrote the Concluding Unscientific Postscript in which he talks extensively about his beliefs and theories. Kierkegaard was a believer in psilanthropism, which means that he believed that Jesus was a man and not the son of God. This is important because it shows his leaniancy to deviate from standard Christian beliefs. In his writings, he also talks about speculative and experimental sciences. He states that they cannot be used to either prove or disprove God’s existance. Without solid proof that God does not exist, we cannot say for certain that God is not real. Kierkegaard also discusses the Lutheran belief that “man is saved by faith alone.” This is an important point in his discussion of God. He says that in order to understand God, one must take a “leap of faith.”
Kierkegaard illustrates this point with the story of Abraham and Isaac. In the story, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac for him without reason. Abraham does as God says without argument. As Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, an angel stops him at the last moment. A ram appears in a nearby bush and Abraham sacrifices the ram instead of his son Isaac. God was simply testing Abraham to see if he would obey him. This story shows an abandonment of logic, but still a belief in God. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill”, but God tells Abraham to kill. Abraham ignores logic, takes a “leap of faith”, and is rewarded. This furthers Kierkegaard’s point that God is not logical, but that he is good.
He says that logic is the wrong language to use when explaining God. He calls logic a syntagmatic language. It is a language that is open to objective interpretation, which is to say that ideas should be the same for all individuals. Thoughts can only be correct or incorrect with a syntagmatic language. This also infers that there are a fixed set of rules used when using logic to explain God. Instead, Kierkegaard says faith is the language that should be the used when trying to explain God. It is a paradigmatic language, which means that it is open to subjective interpretation. The meaning of God is open to the individuals trying to understand Him. There are no rights or wrongs in describing God. There are also no fixed rules when using faith, so the individual is free to believe in God however they want.
Kierkegaard himself was a believer in religious atomism. The first point of religious atomism is skepticism, which is a belief in suspending judgment. This goes along with his belief in the abandonment of logic when explaining God. The second point of religious atomism is romanticism, which entails adopting new ways of thinking. Kierkegaard certainly does this when explaining that God exists. He says that the existance of that which is unknown means that God exists, and that objectable knowledge is only obtainable through God. The last point of religious atomism is faith. Kierkegaard discusses this fairly thoroughly when talking about the “leap of faith” in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Faith is also the language needed to explain God. In conclusion, Kierkegaard would argue that is it not logical to believe in God, but that God exists and God is good.
The philosopher Bertrand Russell argued that God does not exist, and thus would argue that believing in God in not logical. He wrote the book Why I Am Not a Christian in 1939, which caused him to loose his job at Cambridge University for expressing his radical ideas. In this book, he wrote four arguments against the existance of God. His first argument was the casual argument, which questions Thomas Aquinas’ casual proof for the existence of God. The central premise of this argument is that God is an uncased cause, or the first cause. Russell critiques that there is no valid argument which supports this claim. He uses predicate instantiation to demonstrate this point. The first premise is that all things that exist have a cause. The second premise is that God doesn’t have a cause. In conclusion, God exists. This is an invalid argument however, because the conclusion does not follow. This is Russell’s first argument against God’s existance.
Russell’s second argument against the existance of God is the natural law argument, first proposed by Isaac Newton. The central premise of this argument is that there exist natural laws that reflect the reason of God. Another way of saying this is that things are the way they are because God intended them to be that way. God created laws of nature. Russell argues this premise with three points. First, he says that historically the approach doesn’t work. Using God to explain nature has never worked. Secondly, he argues that some natural laws aren’t laws at all. They are only human conventions, like gravity. Gravity is not the same everywhere, so it is not a law. Lastly, some natural laws are pure luck. Occurrences in nature happen with certain probabilities given circumstances. These three points sufficiently allow Russell to dismiss Newton’s natural law argument.
The next argument Russell critiques is Aquinas’ argument from design. The central premise of this argument is that there is order and purpose in nature, so therefore God exists as the designer. God must have been the one to make things the way they are. Russell argues that evolution is more plausible than God simply creating all creatures. Creatures have changed and adapted over time, as show by the works of Charles Darwin. This is not accounted for in the argument from design. Russell also argues that if God was the designer, then we would live in the best of possible worlds. However, Russell says that this is not the case, and therefore God does not exist.
Lastly, Russell argues Immanuel Kant’s argument for the remedying of injustice. The central premise of this argument states that injustice exists in the world, so there must be another world where justice is served. Another way of saying this is that there must be an afterlife to balance the faults in our current lives. Russell counters with the argument that there is no logical necessity for another world where justice is served. There is no reason why there should be an afterlife, and that injustice is simply not served. Since he believes this world does not exist, he in turn believes God does not exist. Through these four arguments, Russell proves why he believes God does not exist, and therefore, why it is not logical to believe in God.
I do not believe that it is logical to believe in God. In concern to the works of Kierkegaard, I disagree with his thoughts on speculative and experimental sciences. He says that these sciences cannot prove or disprove of God’s existance. I agree with this to an extent, but there are other sciences that can disprove of teachings in the bible about God. For example, the theory that God created all the creatures on earth in one day is highly unlikely. The findings of Charles Darwin fairly confidently prove that the creatures living today evolved over millions and millions of years. They were not perfectly created in one day. In conclusion, this does give some proof that science can dispute the existance and logicality of God.
I do agree with Kierkegaard’s belief that faith must be the language used when explaining God. I think is truly up to the individual to make God what they want God to be. There cannot be a standard set for a God because it is a subjective topic. Faith is to only way for people to explain God. Logic must be abandoned when discussing God because it is not possible to logical explain the “workings” of God. It is not logical to believe in God, so that is why faith is the only way to understand God.
Lastly, I disagree with Kierkegaard’s theory that God does exist. To prove this, he says that the existance of which is unknown allows us to assert that God exists. I disagree with this because he also says God is unknown, and if God is unknown, then how can we know for sure a God exists? This simply does not make sense to me. Kierkegaard also says that the existance of objectable knowledge means God exists. I think that he is implying that people can only have subjective knowledge. I disagree with this because people can obviously objectively prove facts. For example, we can prove that two plus two equals four.
In regard to the works of Russell, I agree with all of his arguments against God’s existance, except for his fourth argument. I do not agree with Russell’s critique of Kant’s argument for the remodying of injustice. Russell says that there is no logical necessity for an afterlife. Just because Russell does not believe there is a logical necessity for this other world where justice is served that does not mean he is right. He has no way to prove that one does not exist. It could be easily arguable that it is logical for justice to be balanced in another world, and thus afterlife exists. This does not mean that Kant is necessarily correct, but that Russell has no proof to back up his critique.
I do agree with his critique of Aquinas’ casual argument. To me, it seems that proofs are tools for solid arguments in philosophy. Russell has devised a proof that shows an invalid argument for the existance of God. This is a fairly strong proof it is not logical to believe in God. I also agree with his critique of Newton’s natural law argument. Science shows that natural laws are not necessarily laws and that some natural laws are the result of luck. There is a lot of probability and error in nature, so it is hard to conceive that a God created and controls all nature. Lastly, I agree with Russell’s critique on Aquinas’ argument from design. Again, Darwin’s work is convincing proof that God was not the ultimate designer and that there is not complete order and purpose in nature. Also, we do not live in the best of possible worlds. This is evident through all the problems and violence in the world. This also shows that it is not logical to believe in God.