Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Essay

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As surely as the possibility of God’s existence is self-evident to mankind, so it seems is the possibility of His non-existence. While virtually every culture throughout history has believed in at least one deity, the arguments for and against the existence of Christianity’s God have raged on for centuries. In his Institutes, John Calvin argued that God planted the knowledge of His existence in the heart of every man, saying: That there exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead, the memory of which he constantly renews and occasionally enlarges, that all to a…show more content…
To begin with, a brief summary of Anselm’s ontological argument is appropriate. First, Anselm describes God as, “something than which we can conceive of nothing greater.” He then proceeds to ascribe two important features to the fool: (a) He understands the claim (or, the definition) that God is something than which we can conceive of nothing greater. (b) He does not believe that God exists. Anselm believes that this combination is contradictory and that, surely, anyone who understands who God is purported to be can also be convinced that God does exist in fact exist. From the fool’s perspective, God exists in his understanding (a) but not in reality (b). This, then, is the crux of Anselm’s argument: to prove to the fool that God cannot possibly exist in the understanding realm alone. Anselm’s argument seems to follow this course: (1) The fool believes that God exists in understanding alone. (2) By Anselm’s definition, God is a being than which none greater can be conceived. (3) But it is greater for a thing to exist in reality than in the realm of understanding alone. (4) So, the fool necessarily must believe that a being than which none greater can be conceived exists solely
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