Day 253 — Ontological Argument

God is known as the supreme being, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-benevolent. As such, this being has the ability to make themselves exist at all, because what would be the point of being all powerful if one didn’t have the power to be at all. St Anselm (1033–1109), defined God as ‘that being than which nothing greater can be conceived’.

However, even though this is an argument that has been proposed by other philosophers, such as including René Descartes (1596–1650) in the fifth of his Meditations, it’s not a particularly good argument. We’ve previously looked at the begging the question fallacy, a kind of circular reasoning — as H.W. Fowler, in Modern English Usage, puts it this way: “The basing of two conclusions each upon the other. That the world is good follows from the known goodness of God; that God is good is known from the excellence of the world he has made.”

Therefore, we can see that by saying ‘God exists, because God has the power to make themselves exist’ — isn’t a very good claim. It also leaves open the question that if God is all-benevolent and all-knowing, then what happens in a world where God exists, where the world isn’t always good?

Further Resources: