The ontological argument was first posited by Anselm. He examined the existence of God using a logical approach using a Christian prospective to interpret Aristotelian philosophy He understood God to be that than which nothing greater can be conceived. Using this definition, it is clear that God’s nonexistence is inconceivable. Therefore, God must exist. St. Thomas Aquinas later utilized this line of thought into the fifth of his five ways to know God. His religious philosophies are now incorporated into most variants of Christian theology.
The teleological argument finds that the complexity of the interrelationships between all things display evidence of a preexisting intelligent designer. Because we believe, this is prima fascia evidence for the existence of God. This approach is also addressed by St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Cosmological argument is related to the teleological argument in that it relies upon the existing of everything as evidence of a creating force. It differs in that it does not rely upon our belief, the evidence of the existence in God is that a greater force was needed to set creation in motion. This original impetus was God.
I favor Anselm’s ontological approach. God is great beyond understanding, this allows us to find common ground with all religions, as the full understanding of God is beyond the scope of any individual man or woman.
2. Can religious decisions be made without faith? Explain your answer. In doing so, you may wish to provide your definition of faith as it relates to our discussion this week.
Faith is simply belief without proof. This definition can be expanded to belief in God, trust in God and even taken a step further to include a system of religious belief and the group of people who adhere to it. At the root of it though, it stands that faith exists without a logical cause. Some religious decisions are made simple because faith in a religion provides a clear response for that situation. You know that you should treat others with respect because the Bible, and your faith in the Bible demands it.
Although faith based decisions can be made, I believe some religious decisions can, and sometimes must, be made without relying upon faith. Faith is what leads us to God. However, the religious arguments for the existence of God first posited by Anselm were made by logical means, without relying upon faith. The great power of these religious decisions is evidenced by how often they were revisited by such great thinkers as St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes and Leibniz. The logical reasoning used to prove the existence of God demands that the proofs of God must exist beyond the simple faith in the existence in God. Even the arguments for the existence of God made based upon individual experiences made by Julian of Norwich are based not upon faith but because she and others had essentially met God, which is greatly different from the experience of finding faith. These logical arguments are also different from being lead to God through faith.