The question of the existence of God is a complex one. There are answers from the most diverse communities and individuals on the basis of various arguments. Since ancient times people believed in many different gods. In the beginning, the existence of the monotheistic God was a belief of a small part of a tiny nation at first. But eventually, it was adopted by Christianity, then Islam, and became the dominant religion in the whole world west of India. In the east of India, monotheism was not successful: in Hinduism, there were many gods, in the primitive form of Buddhism there were none (Edwards 56). If one judges the religious truth according to its success in the world, then the arguments in favor of monotheism are compelling, since it has the most significant amount of followers. However, today such a case is not so convincing.
Most Protestant theologians currently reject scholastic arguments in favor of the existence of a Supreme Being in favor of new arguments. In my opinion, they are no better. Scholastic arguments represented a real breakthrough in theology. If the logic of reasoning in them was sound, the truth of their conclusions would be obvious. The new arguments proposed by the modernists are very vague. They meet all the attempts to make the discussion more precise with contempt (Edwards 77). They appeal to the heart and not reason, arguing that those who reject new arguments lack not logic, but deep feelings or morals. And yet let’s study modern arguments and see if they prove anything.
One of the favorite arguments in favor of the existence of God is the argument about evolution. At first, the world was lifeless, and when life was born, it had the appearance of green slime and other uninteresting things. Gradually, in the course of evolution, these organisms developed into animals and plants and, finally, in humans. Theologians are sure that a man is a creation so perfect that it can be considered the culmination of development. If the Almighty, having so much time, decided that the result of millions of years of evolution is to create people, I can only say that his morals and aesthetic tastes are very peculiar.
Nevertheless, theologians hope that the further course of evolution will give rise to more such people like themselves. Let’s hope for it. But by cherishing this hope, we forget the experience and have optimism, which history has not yet shared.
Another mistake in the reasoning of theologians of all times is to reassess the importance of our planet. Undoubtedly, in the past, it was quite natural, since it was believed that the heavens revolve around the Earth. But since Copernicus, and even more so, given the results of modern studies of outer space, such judgments about the Earth are not valid. If the Universe had a Creator, it would hardly be reasonable to assume that most of all He was interested in our little planet (Russell 123). And if it is not so, His values should have been significantly different from ours, since life in the vast majority of areas of the universe is impossible.
Of course, there is a moral argument for the existence of God, popularized by William James (Nagasawa 33). According to him, we are obliged to believe in God because without faith in God we will behave immorally. The first and most significant objection to such argumentation is that at best it proves not the existence of God, but only that politicians and educators should convince people that God exists. If it should be done or not, the question is not theological, but political. The arguments here are similar to those that call for teaching the children respect for the flag. Any truly religious person will not be satisfied with the assumption that believing in God is useful. Be that as it may, it is always disastrous when the government works to support opinions based on their usefulness, not truthfulness. Once this happens, it becomes necessary to introduce censorship to suppress opposite views, and it is considered prudent to discourage young people from thinking on their own, fearing the spread of dangerous thoughts. If such unethical methods are used against religion, as it was in the Soviet Union, the theologians are harmed. These methods are just as harmful when applied in defense of what theologians themselves like to believe (Russell 123). Freedom of thought and the habit of attaching importance to facts are much more moral than belief in one or another theological dogma. From all of the above, it can not be said that religious beliefs should be supported only for their usefulness, without regard to their truth.
It is generally accepted that if the belief is widespread, there is a rationality to it. I think no one who knows the history of humanity can share this viewpoint. Virtually all views of the primitive tribes are absurd. We are all aware of how absurd the beliefs in the Soviet Union were. Protestants know how ridiculous the beliefs of Catholics are. Catholics think that Protestant beliefs are absurd as well. If we are conservatives, we are amazed by the Labor Party views. Therefore, I do not consider it is daring to doubt what has long been considered true, especially when this opinion prevails only in specific regions, as is the case with all religious beliefs.
Edwards, Paul. God and the philosophers. Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2009.
Nagasawa, Yujin. The existence of God: a philosophical introduction. Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2011.
Russell, Bertrand, et al. Russell on religion: selections from the writings of Bertrand Russell. London, Routledge, 1999.