God, arguments for the existence of

God, arguments for the existence of
   Arguments for the existence of God are arguments that purport to prove, or provide rational grounds to believe in, the existence of God. Of these types of arguments there are two basic divisions: a posteriori and a priori. The ontological argument, which is rooted in pure conceptual reflection, is the most famous a priori argument. A posteriori arguments reason to the existence of God from some aspect of the world, such as the existence of contingency (cosmological argument), purpose and order (argument to design), morality (moral argument), or religious experience (argument from religious experience). In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries these arguments began to be dismissed by sceptics because they failed to establish their conclusion with the rigour of a universally compelling proof, but then it has been pointed out that no philosophical argument of any interest accomplishes this lofty standard. One might also consider arguments purely for the rationality of theistic belief under this rubric, of which the most famous example is probably Pascal's Wager. In an unpublished paper, entitled 'Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments', Alvin Plantinga challenged other Christian philosophers to exercise more creativity in exploring new arguments for God's existence.
   Further reading: Barnes 1972; Braine 1987; Craig and Smith 1995

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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