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Essay/Term paper: Reason not religion

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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Observations and inferneces from real life perceptions: My entire life
I have been a Catholic and have attended Church regularly with my
family, always believing in God and the stories and tales of the Bible
as pure fact that happened long ago, and of Jesus being the savior,

Just this past month I attended a Presbyterian church service with my
elderly grandmother in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The church was small to
begin with, and only about one-third of the seats were filled. I would
have to say that at least 95% of the people were all over 65, with very
few young couples at all. My grandma made a comment on the lack of
young people who attend the masses now, and she kept referring to the
fact that recently less and less young couples and families ever
attended church.

At first I thought that this church would then seriously have to close
its doors when the current majority of the parishioners died, but then
I realized another aspect of human behavior and psychology.

The characteristic that I see and hear so much about that many humans
tend to possess and practice, is the fact that they become "closer to
"god"" the older they get. Why is this? It is because of one of the
same big reasons that we even have to have religion in the first place:
fear about death and what happens to us afterwards. These people seem
to be turning to the kind of thinking that inspired the dichotic idea
of PASCAL^S WAGER. Even if these people were not very religious during
their younger years, we can now see a trend of a large section of our
country^s population starting to attend church more and more and become
more "religious" as they grow older. What inspires this shift?--plain
and simple, the fear of uncertainty.


When I used to attend Church regularly their was a priest who was an
extremely good speaker and extremely
intelligent. Even though he was a Catholic priest, serving as the pastor
of an extremely large church, he had the
courage and brains to disagree with some of the rigid dogma setup and
enforced by the Vatican. I remember one
sermon he gave that has greatly influenced me since, and I am very happy
I was fortunate enough to hear it. In
this certain sermon he talked about his thoughts on it being good for
teenagers and youth to question the
existence of a God in their world. He talked at length about this
questioning and finished up the speech with the
summation that even though we can question, it all comes back to God.

I continued to believe in this way for a very long time. That there were
many questions concerning the actual and
true existence of God, however due to certain things like the design of
the world, everything had to relate back to
an almighty creator. Just recently I have started to realize the problem
with my previous concept of "questioning",
as well as this particular priest's. In the manner that he was referring
to this concept, he was very right in the fact
that "everything has to come back to God". The reason that this is true
is due to the fact that just questioning is
exactly that: if all we do is say to ourselves, is "Gee I wonder?", then
we of course will not be able to come up with
any alternative except to continue believing in the existence of a

Questioning one^Òs faith must not only encompass asking yourself
epistemological and metaphysical questions,
but we must explore, learn, and above all gain knowledge about the
evidence and the arguments from both sides
of the debate. We must have dialogues with others who believe the same
as us, as well as those who share a
completely different, even blatantly contrary view. Only by these means
can we ever come out with a greater
understanding of the issues surrounding the questions about the
existence of a supreme being. If this procedure
is followed and we always continue to learn and accept new, valid
information then we will eventually find our
own sense of the truth, and our own philosophy for our lives.


This past year I really started examining my own beliefs and faith in
"God". As I read Homer^Òs Iliad, information
about Mithra (Jesus^Ò immediate mythological predecessor), and many other
sources that put questions in my mind
about the validity of my faith, I began to seriously doubt whether "God"
was something just made up by humans
since the beginning of time to explain their world, or was really the

I am sure now in my mind that the images and symbols used to represent
"God" and initially "gods", were
contrived simply to explain phenomena of the planet, mysteries of life,
and to satisfy that extremely strong need of
human beings to feel important. This past point I feel is the most
pivotal in understanding the human race^Òs
majority view of the existence of a supernatural power. There are so
many people today that of course we can^Òt all
have jobs that most would consider "important" and help lead the holder
of that job to
"SELF-ACTUALIZATION", so a "god" makes up for that. It is written and
spoken by Christians and the Bible
that all human beings are equal and that they are all loved the same by
"God", therefore everyone is extremely
important because the "maker of us all" values them on par with everyone
else. A respected businessman who
has worked for his fortune is the same as a neurotic drug addict begging
for money; often times the former is seen
even as more evil.


In my quest to find the truth about the existence of a "God", which will
always be going on and never end, I have
also made it a point to study those arguments which are many
philosophers^Ò and theists^Ò base for their belief in an
almighty creator. I will begin by explaining the thought that goes into
each argument, and how the people whom
are proponents of these such arguments validate their claims. I will
then therefore proceed to point out the
mistakes that I believe each of them makes, some more than others. These
three main arguments are as follows:

Teleological Argument for the Existence of God

The teleological argument for the existence of God is one that uses the
actual existents we know in reality, in this
case the entire planet and universe, and uses these in a somewhat well
developed theory for the existence of a

The simplest way to define this argument is to use the simple analogy of
a clock maker to a clock; or intelligent
designer to an intelligent design. This is the conscious basis for a
theory that states that due to the fact that we
live and exist in a wholly technical and advanced-level world where
things such as the existence of life and
humans are very "intelligent", then there must be an intelligent creator
that first shaped us all and everything
around us. This theory has been changed and developed even more over the
years into modern versions.

The main ideas that I find inherently wrong with this argument come from
the fact that first: theists believe that
God just exists and always has, however he too would be an intelligent
being, and according to the teleological
argument itself, would "He" then not necessitate an intelligent
designer? And so on and so forth^Å Therefore
theists who believe in the "existence exists" idea in terms of a "God",
and also tend to endorse the teleological
argument, are contradicting themselves because of a conflict in which
the premises of their two parallel beliefs are
at odds. Those making this contradiction must check their premises.

Another more abstract theory that can act to somewhat disprove the
validity of this argument is that of the
"OSCIALLATING UNIVERSE THEORY". This theory in a nutshell states that
the universe is constantly either
expanding or condensing, as long as matter is present in the universe. A
corollary of this theory also says that
there is substantial evidence that the universe has expanded to its
limit and then shrunken down again into one
point of infinite density, temperature, and curvature, only to explode
again (the big bang), a total of 100 times!
With the potential of an entirely new universe being created each time
this has happened, with the potential of
completely different laws of physics and the behavior of matter, then
there is definitely the increased possibility of
our planet simply existing and being able to support life by a chance
creation of the universe we live in, created by
the current expansion and creation that has been happening for an
estimated 10 billion years. The fact is, with that
many worlds being created over time, there is a sure chance that out of
all those planets created, at least one, ours,
could support life.

The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

The Ontological argument for the existence of a "God" is more complex,
and more utterly unfounded then the one,
previous argument that we have examined. This argument basis its entire
"proof" on floating abstractions made
about the brain of man, his conscious, and the things it is unable to
do. This argument is commonly referred to St.
Anselm, its primary creator. The argument goes like this: We all have
somewhat of an image or idea of what "God"
is in our minds, even atheists who don^Òt believe in any "god" still have
somewhat of a conception of what a
"god", if one existed, would have to be like and capable of. Our
conception of a "God" is fairly limited because to
conceive of a being so great and powerful is hard for us to do in the
first place. Anselm holds that because we can
therefore conceive nothing greater than "God", one must exist.

Let^Òs look at that in simplistic form: due to the fact that I can
neither think nor conceive of anything greater than
this entity, the particular entity which I can not go beyond therefore
must exist. How absurd of an argument is
this? Its only foundation lies on some unconnected idea of a
philosopher, randomly applied to reality. The main
problem that I have with this argument is that it takes a rule and law
of reality and reason, and applies to
something that we simply can have no conclusion ever made on while
living on earth. If I say that there is nothing
worse and more scary that I can conceive of beyond death, so therefore
death must exist, I am right because death
does exist. In this case the ontological argument for the existence of
death works. How do I know it
works?--because I can see and perceive death in reality and I can know
it beginning with my sense perceptions.
The existence of, and my knowledge of death, is hierarchical. However
the concept of "God" can^Òt not be traced
back to basic sense perceptions (where all concepts must be originally
derived from), and is therefore unable to be
grounded in reality and truth. In order to gain higher knowledge of
something as complex as a "God", we fist must
perceive basic facts of reality. There are no basic facts of reality to
perceive when it comes to the concept of

Think of any concrete that almost all men believe in and their can be no
real intellectual debate about without one
of the parties being totally irrational in even disputing the fact^×that
concrete concept can be traced back to the
traced down on through the line directly to man^Òs ability to perceive.
"God"^×this concept can not be broken
down into anything close to reality and perception. It is because of
this fact that even if you do believe in "God",
in order to retain any sense of being able to think, you must remain
agnostic. If we refuse to recognize the fact that
the existence of "God" is impossible to perceive, then human knowledge
will perish into an abyss of unconnected
and unsupported beliefs in irrational and ungrounded faiths, which we
will fool ourselves into believing is reality.

The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

The Cosmological argument hinges on a property which is a corollary of
the axiom of existence. This law is the law
of causality^×which states that all things that occur do so because they
are caused. The proponents of this
argument then take this law, which we apply to every day reality on
Earth, to the beginning of the universe. They
say that the universe just couldn^Òt have existed for all time, but that
it would have to had been created just like
everything else. They then take these beliefs even farther when they
assert that the process of creation and
existence can not be infinite in either moving forward, or looking

For instance, these people believe that "God" created the
universe^×therefore the universe has a cause. However
they do begin to get into contradictory waters as soon as they are
confronted with the fact that they believe of
their God^Òs existence^×was God created too? No^×they say that there has to
be some beginning that just was and
always will be^×there can be no infinity in either going forward, and no
infinite progression backwards through
ages of cause after cause. This first contradiction is plain and obvious
to the educated interpreter of the argument,
the others are more deeply involved with other problems.

If these people believe in the phrase "existence exists" when it comes
to their God, then why can^Òt this just be
applied to something such as the universe? Why do we need a fanciful
"God" to explain the beginning of the
universe when the cosmological argument already asserts that things can
not simply progress or regress
infinitely? The reason is due to the concepts we discussed earlier of
the need of human "self-actualization" and
the reassurance of an afterlife where we can finally fully enjoy our
humanity and existence.

This argument is right in one respect: the very entity that initially
created the universe itself was not caused or
created. In this correctness however they fail by failing to correctly
identify that thing which did create the
universe^×it was not "God", but something which contained the entire
universe and still is a part of that universe.


My final conclusions so far in my quest to understand the basis for
beliefs and proof for the existence and
non-existence of "God" are short, small, and completely unfinished. They
are my final conclusions for this paper,
at this point in my life. One^Òs true final conclusions on these matters
will only be able to made some day if there is
some place, perhaps not necessarily a heaven, where we will have time to
think and reflect on what we have
learned during our lives, and perhaps even after them.

For now I know that no matter what paths we follow as human beings on
journey to cognitive understanding
about "God", we must always remain agnostic for the complete duration of
our mortal lives, primarily because of
the lack of a hierarchy of knowledge which we can see and deduct for the
concept of "God". Finally, we must all
learn as much as we possibly can and can volitionally motivate ourselves
to in order to understand this debate
and conflict in human belief.

Question everything^×learn from the answers.

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