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About Me

A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Proof of God from Ontological Argument

I  do not think the Ontological argument can be considered a Jewish arguments for G-d  The Ontological Argument was devised by the Christian Anslem.

The argument proceeds along the lines :

1) G-d is a being who possesses all perfections

2) Existence is perfection

Therefore G-d exists.

Or the argument may proceed as follows.

I can conceive of great things. I conceive XYZ as the greatest thing. Does XYZ exist ? It must, otherwise it is not the greatest thing. I can conceive of “XYZ with the attribute of existence” and that would be greater.  Thus G-d being the greatest thing must exist. 

Sophistry, logical conundrums, word games and puzzles are not proofs of G-d.  Just because you can add the attribute of “real existence” to the definition of G-d, or think G-d necessities the attribute of real existence, or that perfection requires existence does mean that G-d exists in reality.

I am not sure that premise (1) is an accurate  portrayal of G-d.  For example, some may argue we can not give G-d attributes. He is unknowable. But some people may wish to define G-d as in premise (1).  

For premise (2)  I am not sure existence is a ‘perfection’. Something either exists in reality, can potentially exist in reality, does not exist in reality, or cannot be made to exist in reality.  Here is the gist: Is an abstract beautiful geometric structure that can only be 'seen' in your imagination less perfect or less great than if it could actually be manufactured ?  (Sort of assuming a structure in your imagination is not something that can be considered as existing in reality. For example,  I can conceive in my imagination an elf, and I think most would agree that is not an elf existing in reality.)

Consider this proof for Satan: I can conceive of an evil being. I conceive ABC as the most evil being.  Does ABC  exist ? It must, otherwise it is not the most evil thing. I can conceive of “ABC with the attribute of existence” and that would be even more evil.  Thus the Devil/Satan being the most evil thing must exist. 

Some may object that unlike the attribute 'evil' the attribute 'perfection' requires existence in reality. I have argued previously that I am not so sure 'perfection' requires existence in reality.  And even if your definition of perfection requires the attribute existence in reality, that does not mean the most perfect thing will actually exist in reality. In any event, perhaps 'evil' requires the attribute of existing in reality ! For if 'evil' does not exist in reality, then can you claim 'evil' exists at all ? 

Is your head starting to bleed yet ?

A major problem with the Ontological argument is the lack of connection to the empirical world.  It relies on arm chair philosophizing to deduce things about reality. The best way to  understand  reality is to examine empirical data (the scientific method) and not arm chair philosophizing.

Happy Holiday Season and New Year !

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