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A common conception of God by contemporary philosophers of religion is that he is a necessary being, meaning he exists in all possible worlds. St. Anselm's formulation of the ontological argument is one of the most famous argument's for the existence of God, and many philosophers since (such as Immanuel Kant) have accepted it as proving not that God exists, but that if such a being exists, it exists necessarily. The argument is essentially as follows:

1. Imagine the greatest* being that can be conceived

2. A being with all the same properties plus the property of existence would be greater than the greatest non-existent being

3. Since the maximal being that we can conceive has the property "existence" in order to make it greater than the greatest non-existent being of which we can conceive, such a being exists.

*The exact meaning of this is one of many points of contention

It's important for atheists (like myself) to realize that this argument is subtly very powerful, and not just dismiss it as absurd. As I mentioned earlier, the consensus in the philosophical community is that this doesn't prove the existence of God, but proves that such a being would exist necessarily. The suggested reasons that the argument fails in its original tasks are diverse; Kant thought that we couldn't make sense of "existence" as a predicate, others have attacked the coherence of the god-concept itself.

The fact that a God would be necessary is an important point for rational theists. If God is necessary, his existence requires no external explanation, because things could not logically have been otherwise. My existence, for example, requires external explanation, because there is a logically possible world in which I do not exist. But part of what it is to be God is to exist in all possible worlds, so his existence requires no external explanation.

Here's where things get interesting, because right now it seems like I've only been defending contemporary Christian theology. When the God-concept, or theistic metaphysics (for example, the necessary God argument is even more difficult to support if one is a metaphysical nominalist about abstract objects) come under logical attack, many believers will respond that God is beyond logic. This is a mistake. The God-concept still has to be coherent and logically valid even if it requires no external causal explanation for its existence. For example, we can still question whether the existence of a necessary being is the best explanation (abduction) for the universe we experience without denying that if a God exists, he requires no external explanation of how he came to be.

Furthermore, the "beyond logic" response is devastating to that theist's own position. The laws of logic are necessary; they "exist" in all possible worlds. Though some philosophers have tried to do so, violating the law of non-contradiction is simply incoherent, just to provide an example. Furthermore, we can't question the laws of logic, because the laws of logic are "properly basic" and define our thought processes - the very thought processes which could lead us to question them.

If we are rational theists, we have to accept that God is a necessary being (many philosophers explore this in detail, such as the greatest contemporary theist, Alvin Plantinga). But if we accept that some things can exist necessarily and have ontological status, we have to accept the same thing about the laws of logic. There is absolutely no reason to believe that God is necessary but the laws of logic are contingent, and many reasons to believe otherwise. Therefore, if we accept the existence of God, we have to accept that both God and the laws of logic exist in all possible worlds. And since the laws of logic are necessarily true, God could not in any coherent sense be "beyond" them.

Religious belief, or even non-religious theism, thus must be a matter of reason one way or the other. Transcendental mystical theisms are incoherent and have no place in philosophical discourse.

NOTE: This article is not purely an atheist article, though I am an atheist. It is also of benefit to theists who think that belief ought to be grounded in reason, such as supporters of Catholic doctrine.
 

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This is an interesting article.

I don't disagree with you, either. I'd like to suggest the argument that "God is beyond logic" can be valid to some extent, though--even as I agree that it is ludicrous to believe/disbelieve God without logical reason. If you take an atheist and a theist and have them debate religions, the man who can prove his logic more sound wins nothing. He proves nothing. The other person will walk out the door angrily and complain he would've won were he a better arguer.

Humans, sadly, are not Vulcans, and for a "belief," subjective experience seems to be a more powerful tool than logic. Some take their belief or lack of belief in God from their upbringing. Others disbelieve God because of suffering. Still others believe God because of "miracles." Belief is, in some ways, too deep-seated to be affected by pure rationalism. Unfortunately. That's how it looks to little old me.

*shrug* Just a suggestion, something to throw out there. I do agree with you, though.
 

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Lol of course god is logical, It just works on a much grander scale than ours. Logic cannot exist without god (Or so they say), this is known as the "Transcendental argument for the existence of God"

Personally I'm very impartial to this, and haven't looked into it much :/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Vaan;bt23561 said:
Lol of course god is logical, It just works on a much grander scale than ours. Logic cannot exist without god (Or so they say), this is known as the "Transcendental argument for the existence of God"

Personally I'm very impartial to this, and haven't looked into it much :/
I agree that a God would have to be logical, but the transcendental argument is exactly what I'm arguing against. I'm suggesting that requiring God, a necessary abstract being, to create the laws of logic (implying that the laws of logic are contingent) is incoherent. If a God exists, both God and the laws of logic are necessary. God is not necessary for logic.

The only negative implication of this for theism is that God's omnipotence is limited to the realm of logical possibility, which is what many of the best theists argue anyway, to avoid paradoxes like "could God create an object that he couldn't move?"

I think the more important implication is methodological; I think that attempts to argue "around" reason when it comes to theism, whether it be by transcendental arguments (which fall under the umbrella of presuppositionalism), reformed epistemology, mysticism, Kierkegaardian leaps of faith, etc. are not successful. Religious belief must be grounded in reasoned argument.
 

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No the idea is that without god there can be no objective basis for logic because of our subjective minds (Which makes me go :/) however this is matt Slick's idea of TAG

This is an attempt to demonstrate the existence of God using logical absolutes. The oversimplified argument, which is expanded in outline form below, goes as follows: Logical absolutes exist. Logical absolutes are conceptual by nature, are not dependent on space, time, physical properties, or human nature. They are not the product of the physical universe (space, time, matter), because if the physical universe were to disappear, logical absolutes would still be true. Logical Absolutes are not the product of human minds, because human minds are different, not absolute. But, since logical absolutes are always true everywhere, and not dependent upon human minds, it must be an absolute transcendent mind that is authoring them. This mind is called God
Although I am only really showing the opinion of TAG rather than trying to defend it, so I'll just present the opposing view without putting my name to it ^^'
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Vaan;bt23589 said:
No the idea is that without god there can be no objective basis for logic because of our subjective minds (Which makes me go :/) however this is matt Slick's idea of TAG
I think you agree with me, lol. I wasn't sure.

Either way, I think Slick's argument fails in part because it is a complete non-sequitur. The existence of an author of logical laws simply does not follow from the fact that logical truths are analytic truths. In fact, the opposite follows, because analytic truths are (ironically) necessary by definition, and thus require no external creation. The argument is invalid because even if we accept all his premises about logic as true (and many would contest them), God's existence does not follow. Perhaps, for example, logical truths are mind-dependent in the sense that if there were no minds there would be no propositions to represent these facts, but not in the sense that their truth or falsity is a function of opinion or contingency. Or perhaps, as I suggested, logical truths simply "are" and require no external explanation by virtue of their necessary status.

Then again, I shouldn't exactly be surprised. Slick is not a philosopher, for better or worse.
 

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Yeah I never really cared if it was true or not. It makes sense that logic is seperate from the physical world and should therefore have an external objective basis, however logic can still be possible through subjective means such as mathematics. I easily believe that god is logical and objective, but that dosen't mean he is the basis for logic.

So where me and Slick differ is the application of god's objective logic as a general explainer for all logic :/
 

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I think your reasoning is sound, and I'm reminded of Dawkin's essential argument against theism: that if we are to explain our existence in terms of a "Creator God," we would only compound the problem, by trying to explain our own existence (highly complex) with an even more complex solution (God). And so it makes very little sense to suppose God as the answer to our existential curiosities.

At any rate, you are definitely right in saying that we can question whether or not the existence of a God is the best explanation for our existence, without denying that his own existence would depend somehow on material or causal factors. And this means logic and reason are definitely the ultimate indicators of whether or not it's more or less justified to believe in such a being.
 
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