God: To Be Or Not To Be? Essay, Research Paper
Philosophy poses us questions that we long to have answers for. One most popular philosophical question boggles the minds of people around the world: Is there a God? Ever since mankind was created, this question was among the speculations that clouded our minds. The world is a grand and intricate place, so where did it come from? There are many theories about the wonders of the world, and it is, as of now, scientifically impossible to prove that there is an ever existing God. So, why do so many of the world s people continue to believe? Some people DO believe that there is good, reasonable evidence that God exists. There are two world-views about the existence of God: the transcendentalist and the naturalist. God is the creator of the universe. He is all-good and all-knowing. He is considered to be among the supernatural, in comparison to our natural world. This is the belief of the transcendentalist called theism. This view coincides with the western world s dualistic world-view. Pertaining to Christians, Jews and Muslims, the fact that the world has order and complex, interdependent parts (such as the food chain) that are beyond the creating capability of man is convincing enough reasonable evidence that God exists. The regularities of our natural laws, such as gravity and velocity, are also good explanations for the existence of God. The casual theist believes in God for the reasons of cause and effect. Everything in the world has a cause. There are two facts which the casual theist stands by: 1) Everything in the world is caused by something, and 2) The series of causes cannot extend back in time infinitely, for it is scientifically proven that there was a beginning to the world. Therefore, there must be a first cause. That cause is God. He is the source and origin of the world. He created the world, and consequently He created you and me. The design theists are also convinced that God exists but for slightly different reasons. They view the world as a machine. All machines have a designer. Man could not have created the complexity of the world. Therefore, the design theists believe in the existence of God as the world s designer. It would require supernatural, incomprehensive powers to create the world. The casual theist and the design theist belong to the transcendentalist world-view, but not everyone is convinced. The atheist is a part of the naturalist world-view. The atheist believes that there is no convincing evidence that God exists. They believe that we all just evolved from materials and particles. They also find it difficult to believe in a God that allows pain and suffering in the world. An all-powerful all-good God could never allow that to happen to his people, therefore, God does not exist for the atheists. The retreat atheists claim that the questions that the existence of God have previously answered have been replaced by explanations from modern science. Projection atheists believe that religion is a fairy tale. We make our fathers the image of God. He can do all that our fathers can and more. But that does not make Him real. The more knowledge that the scientific world gains, the more skepticism floats around the globe. Combining the retreat and projection atheists, we confront the opposite of transcendentalism: naturalism. The question that the atheist raises is important: if there is a God, why would He allow pain and suffering in the world? The transcendentalist has two reasonable explanations for the existence of evil. They compile to make the compatibilism theory. The character compatibilist believes that our ability to live through the hard times makes us stronger. The trials that we go through in life are character builders which combine to make a true, dignified human being. We have the chance to live to our fullest potential. As a free will compatibilist, the evils of the world are explained by the two-world theory: God created the world, and God created humans. He had a choice to make. He could create World #1 for us in which we have the ability to make our own decisions. This is the idea of free will. We, therefore, have the choice to do evil if we please. We are not all robots programmed to do all good. If God had chosen World #2 for us, we would all live in harmony, but we could not do as we please. We would all be good and the same. It would, ultimately, be a boring world in which to live. We would have no freedom. God had a decision to make about our existence and He chose the greater good: our freedom.
Contrary to the transcendentalist s belief, the naturalists believe that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God. This is called the theory of incompatibilism. They believe that if there were a good, caring God, He would want and would be able to get rid of evil. The bare fact of life is that there is evil in the world, and that proves that there is no all-good all-powerful God. If God cared, He would not allow children to die or people to starve, therefore, it is unreasonable to continue to believe in an all-good all-powerful God. What is religious belief based on? Do we have tangible evidence to believe in the existence of God? The transcendentalists, once again, have two different views about the evidence: the believer and the theistic rationalist. The believer, also known as the fideist, thinks that it is ok to believe in God without evidence. Human knowledge has limits, and science cannot always answer all the questions. The believer chooses to believe in God based on faith, which is believing in something regardless of the lack of evidence. The theistic rationalist believes that we should only believe in things based on evidence. They do, in fact, believe that there is good evidence to back up the existence of God. The reality of the intricate design of the world (design theist) and that there is cause and effect (casual theist) and the presence of miracles is enough reasonable evidence to safely say that God exists for theistic rationalist branch of the transcendentalist s perspective. As a rule in the game of philosophy, there must be a contrasting point-of-view. The questioner is someone who only believes on the basis of evidence, like the theistic rationalist. They understand the position of the theistic rationalists, however, they do not believe that the evidence is convincing. They understand and accept the concept of faith, but they are wary of it. They say that believing in something doesn t necessarily make it true. They find dangers in faith, such as being too trusting or denying reality. The questioner chooses to suspend his or her belief until he or she believes that there is convincing evidence pointing in one way or another. The questioner, also known as the agnostic, is a component of the naturalist world-view. Personally, I grew up with the belief of God based on faith. I continue to have faith as my choice. As I see it, I don t need evidence for God, however, I do find some evidence convincing. I definitely take the stand point of a transcendentalist. The world is very intricate and, at the same time, incredibly simple. The complexity of the world is beyond human capabilities. I understand the position of the design theists. It just makes sense. I also believe that the existence of evil does not disprove God. I enjoy my freedom to do as I please. I also agree that we build character with our difficult times. I agree with both the character and the free will compatibilist. We all have the opportunity to become the most dignified human beings possible, and I view that as a tremendous gift from God. He chose for us freedom to make our own decisions, without which, I could not have the capacity to dislike the subject of philosophyJ We are all free, and each of us has the free will to believe whatever we want. In my opinion, that is enough evidence to believe in the existence of God, but we are all different. Our differences in culture and religion are like spices in the world. We have the choice to cook up any combination of beliefs that we wish. If there is a God, wouldn t it be grand to know that we have eternal life? But if there isn t, what is there? We cannot answer that question in our current position on earth, but one day, maybe we will know the truthful answer to the question: Does God exist?