coming into existence

Existence of God

Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. In philosophical terminology, "existence-of-God" arguments concern schools of thought on the epistemology of the ontology of God.

The debate concerning the existence of God raises many philosophical issues. A basic problem is that there is no universally accepted definition of God. Some definitions of God's existence are so non-specific that it is certain that something exists that meets the definition; in stark contrast, there are suggestions that other definitions are self-contradictory.

A wide variety of arguments exist which can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective.

Although often regarded as a non-issue in much of western academia, the question of the existence of God is now subject to lively debate both in philosophy and in popular culture.

Philosophical issues

Definition of God's existence

Today in the West, the term "God" typically refers to a monotheistic concept of a supreme being that is unlike any other being. Classical theism asserts that God possesses every possible perfection, including such qualities as omniscience, omnipotence, and perfect benevolence. Other philosophical approaches take a logically simple definition of God such as "the prime mover" or "the uncaused cause", or "the ultimate creator or "a being which nothing greater can be conceived from which the classical properties may be deduced. By contrast Pantheists do not believe in a personal god. For example, Spinoza and his philosophical followers (such as Einstein) use the term 'God' in a particular philosophical sense, to mean (roughly) the essential substance/principles of nature.

In monotheisms outside the Abrahamic traditions, the existence of God is discussed in similar terms. In the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism, reality is ultimately seen as a single, qualityless, changeless being called nirguna Brahman. Advaitin philosophy introduces the concept of saguna Brahman or Ishvara as a way of talking about Brahman to people. Ishvara, in turn, is ascribed such qualities as omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence.


Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which studies the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge. One cannot be said to "know" something just because one believes it. Knowledge is, from an epistemological standpoint, distinguished from belief by justification.

Knowledge in the sense of "understanding of a fact or truth" can be divided in a posteriori knowledge, based on experience or deduction (see methodology), and a priori knowledge from introspection, axioms or self-evidence. Knowledge can also be described as a psychological state, since in a strict sense there can never be a posteriori knowledge proper (see relativism). Much of the disagreement about "proofs" of God's existence is due to different conceptions not only of the term "God" but also the terms "proof", "truth" and "knowledge". Religious belief from revelation or enlightenment (satori) falls in the second, a priori class of "knowledge".

Different conclusions as to the existence of God often rest on different criteria for deciding what methods are appropriate for deciding if something is true or not; some examples include

  • whether logic counts as evidence concerning the quality of existence
  • whether subjective experience counts as evidence for objective reality
  • whether either logic or evidence can rule in or out the supernatural.

The problem of the supernatural

One problem posed by the question of the existence of a god is that traditional beliefs usually ascribe to God various supernatural powers. Supernatural beings may be able to conceal and reveal themselves for their own purposes, as for example in the tale of Baucis and Philemon. In addition, according to concepts of God, God is not part of the natural order, but the ultimate creator of nature and of the scientific laws.

Religious apologists offer the supernatural nature of God as one explanation of the inability of empirical methods to decide the question of God's existence. In Karl Popper's philosophy of science, the assertion of the existence of a supernatural God would be a non-falsifiable hypothesis, not in the domain of scientific investigation. The Non-overlapping Magisteria view proposed by Stephen Jay Gould also holds that the existence (or otherwise) of God is beyond the domain of science.

Proponents of intelligent design (I.D.) believe there is empirical evidence for Irreducible complexity pointing to the existence of an intelligent creator, though their claims are challenged by the scientific community. Some scientifically literate theists appear to have been impressed by the observation that certain natural laws and universal constants seem "fine-tuned" to favor the development of life (see Anthropic principle). However, reliance on phenomena which have not yet been resolved by natural explanations may be equated to the pejorative God of the gaps.

Logical positivists, such as Rudolf Carnap and A. J. Ayer viewed any talk of gods as literal nonsense. For the logical positivists and adherents of similar schools of thought, statements about religious or other transcendent experiences could not have a truth value, and were deemed to be without meaning.

Nature of relevant proofs/arguments

Since God (of the kind to which the proofs/arguments relate) is neither an entity in the universe nor a mathematical object it is not obvious what kinds of arguments/proofs are relevant to God's existence. Even if the concept of scientific proof were not problematic, the fact that there is no conclusive scientific proof of the existence, or non-existence, of God mainly demonstrates that the existence of God is not a normal scientific question. John Polkinghorne suggests that the nearest analogy to the existence of God in physics are the ideas of quantum mechanics which are paradoxical but make sense of a great deal of disparate data.

Alvin Plantinga compares the question of the existence of God to the question of the existence of other minds: both of which are notoriously impossible to "prove" against a determined skeptic.

One approach, suggested by writers such as Stephen D. Unwin, is to treat (particular versions of) theism and naturalism as though they were two hypotheses in the Bayesian sense, to list certain data (or alleged data), about the world, and to suggest that the likelihoods of these data are significantly higher under one hypothesis than the other Most of the arguments for, or against, the existence of God can be seen as pointing to particular aspects of the universe in this way. In almost all cases it is not seriously suggested by proponents of the arguments that they are irrefutable, merely that they make one worldview seem significantly more likely than the other. However, since an assessment of the weight of evidence depends on the prior probability that is assigned to each worldview, arguments that a theist finds convincing may seem thin to an atheist and vice-versa.

Outside of western thought

Existence in absolute truth is central to Vedanta epistemology. Traditionally sense perception based approach was put into question as possibly misleading due to preconceived or superimposed ideas. But though all object-cognition can be doubted, the existence of the doubter remains a fact even in nastika traditions of mayavada schools following Adi Shankara. The five eternal principles to be discussed under ontology, beginning with God or Isvara, the Ultimate Reality, cannot be established by the means of logic alone, and often require superior proof. In Vaisnavism Vishnu, or his intimate ontological form of Krishna, is equated to personal absolute God of the Western traditions. Aspects of Krishna as svayam bhagavan in original Absolute Truth, sat chit ananda, are understood originating from three essential attributes of Krishna's form, i.e., "eternal existence" or , related to the brahman aspect; "knowledge" or chit, to the paramatman; and "bliss" or ananda in Sanskrit, to bhagavan.

Arguments for the existence of God

  • The cosmological argument argues that there was a "first cause", or "prime mover" who is identified as God. It starts with some claim about the world, like its containing entities that are caused to exist by other entities.
  • The teleological argument argues that the universe's order and complexity are best explained by reference to a creator god. It starts with a rather more complicated claim about the world, id est that it exhibits order and design.
  • The ontological argument is based on arguments about a "being greater than which can not be conceived". It starts simply with a concept of God. Alvin Plantinga formulates this argument to show that if it is logically possible for God (a necessary being) to exist, then God exists.
  • The mind-body problem argument suggests that the relation of consciousness to materiality is best understood in terms of the existence of God.
  • Arguments that some non-physical quality observed in the universe is of fundamental importance and not an epiphenomenon, such as justice, beauty, love or religious experience are arguments for theism as against materialism.
  • The anthropic argument suggests that basic facts, such as our existence, are best explained by the existence of God.
  • The moral argument argues that the existence of objective morality depends on the existence of God.
  • The transcendental argument suggests that logic, science, ethics, and other things we take seriously do not make sense in the absence of God, and that atheistic arguments must ultimately refute themselves if pressed with rigorous consistency.
  • The will to believe doctrine was pragmatist philosopher William James' attempt to prove God by showing that the adoption of theism as a hypothesis "works" in a believer's life. This doctrine depended heavily on James' pragmatic theory of truth where beliefs are proven by how they work when adopted rather than by proofs before they are believed (a form of the hypothetico-deductive method).
  • Arguments based on claims of miracles wrought by God associated with specific historical events or personages.

Arguments from historical events or personages

  • Islam asserts that the life of Muhammad and especially the revealing of the miraculous Quran by an angel vindicates Islam.
  • Judaism asserts that God intervened in key specific moments in history, especially at the Exodus and the giving of the Ten Commandments, thus demonstrating his special care for the Jewish people, and therefore his existence.
  • The argument from the life of Jesus. This asserts that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, that in this he was either delusional, deceitful or truthful, and that it is possible to assess Jesus's character sufficiently from the accounts of his life and teaching to rule out the first two possibilities. C. S. Lewis put forward this argument (the Trilemma), and it is explicated in the widely adopted Alpha Course.
  • The argument from the Resurrection of Jesus. This asserts that there is sufficient historical evidence for Jesus's resurrection to support his claim to be the son of God and indicates, a fortiori, God's existence.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormonism, similarly asserts that the miraculous appearance of God, Jesus Christ and angels to Joseph Smith and others and subsequent finding and translation of the Book of Mormon establishes the existence of God.

Inductive arguments

Inductive arguments argue their conclusions through inductive reasoning.

  • Another class of philosophers asserts that the proofs for the existence of God present a fairly large probability though not absolute certainty. A number of obscure points, they say, always remain; an act of faith is required to dismiss these difficulties. This view is maintained, among others, by the Scottish statesman Arthur Balfour in his book The Foundations of Belief (1895). The opinions set forth in this work were adopted in France by Ferdinand Brunetière, the editor of the Revue des deux Mondes. Many orthodox Protestants express themselves in the same manner, as, for instance, Dr. E. Dennert, President of the Kepler Society, in his work Ist Gott tot?.

Arguments from testimony

Arguments from testimony rely on the testimony or experience of certain witnesses, possibly embodying the propositions of a specific revealed religion. Swinburne argues that it is a principle of rationality that one should accept testimony unless there are strong reasons for not doing so.

  • The witness argument gives credibility to personal witnesses, contemporary and throughout the ages. A variation of this is the argument from miracles which relies on testimony of supernatural events to establish the existence of God.
  • The majority argument argues that the theism of people throughout most of recorded history and in many different places provides prima facie demonstration of God's existence.

Arguments grounded in personal experience

  • The Scottish School of Common Sense led by Thomas Reid taught that the fact of the existence of God is accepted by us without knowledge of reasons but simply by a natural impulse. That God exists, this school said, is one of the chief metaphysical principles that we accept not because they are evident in themselves or because they can be proved, but because common sense obliges us to accept them.
  • The Argument from a Proper Basis argues that belief in God is "properly basic"; that it is similar to statements like "I see a chair" or "I feel pain". Such beliefs are non-falsifiable and, thus, neither provable nor disprovable; they concern perceptual beliefs or indisputable mental states.
  • In Germany, the School of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi taught that our reason is able to perceive the suprasensible. Jacobi distinguished three faculties: sense, reason, and understanding. Just as sense has immediate perception of the material so has reason immediate perception of the immaterial, while the understanding brings these perceptions to our consciousness and unites them to one another. God's existence, then, cannot be proven (Jacobi, like Immanuel Kant, rejected the absolute value of the principle of causality), it must be felt by the mind.
  • In Emile, Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserted that when our understanding ponders over the existence of God it encounters nothing but contradictions; the impulses of our hearts, however, are of more value than the understanding, and these proclaim clearly to us the truths of natural religion, namely, the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.
  • The same theory was advocated in Germany by Friedrich Schleiermacher (died 1834), who assumed an inner religious sense by means of which we feel religious truths. According to Schleiermacher, religion consists solely in this inner perception, and dogmatic doctrines are inessential.
  • Many modern Protestant theologians follow in Schleiermacher's footsteps, and teach that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated; certainty as to this truth is only furnished us by inner experience, feeling, and perception.
  • Modernist Christianity also denies the demonstrability of the existence of God. According to them we can only know something of God by means of the vital immanence, that is, under favorable circumstances the need of the divine dormant in our subconsciousness becomes conscious and arouses that religious feeling or experience in which God reveals himself to us. In condemnation of this view the oath against modernism formulated by Pius X says: "Deum ... naturali rationis lumine per ea quae facta sunt, hoc est per visibilia creationis opera, tanquam causam per effectus certo cognosci adeoque demostrari etiam posse, profiteor." ("I declare that by the natural light of reason, God can be certainly known and therefore his existence demonstrated through the things that are made, i.e., through the visible works of creation, as the cause is known through its effects.")

Arguments against belief in God

Each of the following arguments aims at showing either that a particular subset of gods do not exist (by showing them as inherently meaningless, contradictory, or at odds with known scientific or historical facts) or that there is insufficient reason to believe in them.

Empirical arguments

Empirical arguments depend on empirical data in order to prove their conclusions.

  • The argument from inconsistent revelations contests the existence of the deity called God as described in scriptures -- such as the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Bible, or the Muslim Qur'an -- by identifying apparent contradictions between different scriptures, within a single scripture, or between scripture and known facts. To be effective this argument requires the other side to hold that its scriptural record is inerrant, or to conflate the record itself with the God it describes.
  • The problem of evil contests the existence of a god who is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent by arguing that such a god should not permit the existence of evil or suffering. The theist responses are called theodicies.
  • The argument from poor design contests the idea that God created life on the basis that lifeforms exist which seem to exhibit poor design. For example, many runners get a painful "stitch" in their side due to poor placement of the liver.
  • The argument from nonbelief contests the existence of an omnipotent God who wants humans to believe in him by arguing that such a god would do a better job of gathering believers.
  • The argument from parsimony contends that since natural (non-supernatural) theories adequately explain the development of religion and belief in gods, the actual existence of such supernatural agents is superfluous and may be dismissed unless otherwise proven to be required to explain the phenomenon.
  • The analogy of Russell's teapot argues that the burden of proof for the existence of God lies with the theist rather than the atheist/skeptic.

Deductive arguments

Deductive arguments attempt to prove their conclusions by deductive reasoning from true premises.

  • The Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit states that because "God" is omnipotent and omniscient he is also infinitely complex. This makes his spontaneous appearance or existence far more unlikely than the universe simply coming into existence, which has a finite complexity. It also states that design fails to account for complexity, which natural selection can explain.
  • The belief that God created the universe and God just exists makes too many unproven assumptions, therefore using Occam's Razor one can "shave" off the unnecessary assumptions, leaving the universe just exists.
  • The omnipotence paradox suggests that the concept of an omnipotent entity is logically contradictory, from considering a question like: "Can God create a rock so big that he cannot lift it?" or "If God is all powerful, could God create a being more powerful than itself?".
  • Another argument suggests that there is a contradiction between God being omniscient and omnipotent, basically asking "how can an all-knowing being change its mind?" See the article on omniscience for details.
  • The argument from free will contests the existence of an omniscient god who has free will - or has allotted the same freedom to his creations - by arguing that the two properties are contradictory. According to the argument, if God already knows the future, then humanity is destined to corroborate with his knowledge of the future and not have true free will to deviate from it. Therefore our free will contradicts an omniscient god. Another argument attacks the existence of an omniscient god who has free will directly in arguing that the will of God himself would be bound to follow whatever God foreknows himself doing in eternity future.
  • The Transcendental argument for the non-existence of God contests the existence of an intelligent creator by suggesting that such a being would make logic and morality contingent, which is incompatible with the presuppositionalist assertion that they are necessary, and contradicts the efficacy of science. A more general line of argument based on this argument seeks to generalize this argument to all necessary features of the universe and all god-concepts.
  • The counter-argument against the Cosmological argument ("chicken or the egg") takes its assumption that things cannot exist without creators and applies it to God, setting up an infinite regress. This attacks the premise that the universe is the second cause (after God, who is claimed to be the first cause).
  • Theological noncognitivism, as used in literature, usually seeks to disprove the god-concept by showing that it is unverifiable by scientific tests.
  • It is alleged that there is a logical impossibility in theism: God is defined as an extra-temporal being, but also as an active creator. The argument suggests that the very act of creation is inconceivable and absurd beyond the constraints of time and space, and the fact that it cannot be proven if God is in either.

Inductive arguments

Inductive arguments argue their conclusions through inductive reasoning.

  • The atheist-existentialist argument for the non-existence of a perfect sentient being states that if existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. It is touched upon by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness. Sartre's phrasing is that God would be a pour-soi [a being-for-itself; a consciousness] who is also an en-soi [a being-in-itself; a thing]: which is a contradiction in terms. The argument is echoed thus in Salman Rushdie's novel Grimus: "That which is complete is also dead."
  • The "no reason" argument tries to show that an omnipotent or perfect being would not have any reason to act in any way, specifically by creating the universe, because it would have no needs, wants, or desires since these very concepts are subjectively human. As the universe exists, there is a contradiction, and therefore, an omnipotent god cannot exist. This argument is espoused by Scott Adams in the book God's Debris.

Subjective arguments

Similar to the subjective arguments for the existence of God, subjective arguments against the supernatural mainly rely on the testimony or experience of witnesses, or the propositions of a revealed religion in general.

  • The witness argument gives credibility to personal witnesses, contemporary and from the past, who disbelieve or strongly doubt the existence of God.
  • The conflicted religions argument where specific religions give differing accounts as to what God is and what God wants. All the contradictory accounts cannot be correct, so many if not all religions must be incorrect.


Conclusions on the existence of God can be divided along numerous axes, producing a variety of orthogonal classifications. Theism and atheism relate to belief about the existence of gods, while agnosticism relates to belief about whether the existence of gods is (or can be) known. Ignosticism concerns belief regarding God's conceptual coherence.


The theistic conclusion is that the arguments indicate there is sufficient reason to believe that at least one god exists.

God exists and this can be demonstrated

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the Thomist tradition and the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council, affirms that it is a doctrine of the Catholic Church that God's existence has been rationally demonstrated. For the proofs of God's existence by Saint Thomas Aquinas see Quinquae viae. Many other Christian denominations share the view that God's existence can be demonstrated without recourse to claims of revelation.

On beliefs of Christian faith, theologians and philosophers make a distinction between:

  1. doctrines arising from special revelation that arise essentially from faith in divinely inspired revelations, including the life of Christ, but cannot be proved or even anticipated by reason alone, such as the doctrines of the Trinity or the Incarnation, and
  2. doctrines arising from general revelation, that is from reason alone drawing conclusions based on relatively obvious observations of the world and self.

The argument that the existence of God can be known to all, even prior to exposure to any divine revelation, predates Christianity. St. Paul made this argument when he insisted that pagans were without excuse because "since the creation of the world [God's] invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made". In this Paul alludes to the proofs for a creator, later enunciated by St. Thomas and others, but that had also been explored by the Greek philosophers.

Another apologetical school of thought, a sort of synthesis of various existing Dutch and American Reformed thinkers (such as, Abraham Kuyper, Benjamin Warfield, Herman Dooyeweerd), emerged in the late 1920s. This school was instituted by Cornelius Van Til, and came to be popularly called Presuppositional apologetics (though Van Til himself felt "transcendental" would be a more accurate title). The main distinction between this approach and the more classical evidentialist approach mentioned above is that the presuppositionalist denies any common ground between the believer and the non-believer, except that which the non-believer denies, namely, the assumption of the truth of the theistic worldview. In other words, presuppositionalists don't believe that the existence of God can be proven by appeal to raw, uninterpreted (or, "brute") facts, which have the same (theoretical) meaning to people with fundamentally different worldviews, because they deny that such a condition is even possible. They claim that the only possible proof for the existence of God is that the very same belief is the necessary condition to the intelligibility of all other human experience and action. In other words, they attempt to prove the existence of God by means of appeal to the alleged transcendental necessity of the belief -- indirectly (by appeal to the allegedly unavowed presuppositions of the non-believer's worldview) rather than directly (by appeal to some form of common factuality). In practice this school utilizes what have come to be known as transcendental arguments. In these arguments they claim to demonstrate that all human experience and action (even the condition of unbelief, itself) is a proof for the existence of God, because God's existence is the necessary condition of their intelligibility.

God exists, but this cannot be demonstrated or refuted

Others have suggested that the several logical and philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God miss the point. The word God has a meaning in human culture and history that does not correspond to the beings whose existence is supported by such arguments, assuming they are valid. The real question is not whether a "most perfect being" or an "uncaused first cause" exist; the real question is whether Yahweh or Vishnu or Zeus, or some other deity of attested human religion, exists, and if so, which deity. Most of these arguments do not resolve the issue of which of these figures is more likely to exist. Blaise Pascal suggested this objection in his Pensées when he wrote "The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob — not the god of the philosophers!", see also Pascal's wager.

Some Christians note that the Christian faith teaches "salvation is by faith", and that faith is reliance upon the faithfulness of God, which has little to do with the believer's ability to comprehend that in which he trusts.

The most extreme example of this position is called fideism, which holds that faith is simply the will to believe, and argues that if God's existence were rationally demonstrable, faith in its existence would become superfluous. Soren Kierkegaard argued that objective knowledge, such as 1+1=2, is unimportant to existence. If God could rationally be proven, his existence would be unimportant to humans. It is because God cannot rationally be proven that his existence is important to us. In The Justification of Knowledge, the Calvinist theologian Robert L. Reymond argues that believers should not attempt to prove the existence of God. Since he believes all such proofs are fundamentally unsound, believers should not place their confidence in them, much less resort to them in discussions with non-believers; rather, they should accept the content of revelation by faith. Reymond's position is similar to that of his mentor, Gordon Clark, which holds that all worldviews are based on certain unprovable first premises (or, axioms), and therefore are ultimately unprovable. The Christian theist therefore must simply choose to start with Christianity rather than anything else, by a "leap of faith." This position is also sometimes called presuppositional apologetics, but should not be confused with the Van Tillian variety discussed above.

An intermediate position is that of Alvin Plantinga who holds that a specific form of modal logic and an appeal to world-indexed properties render belief in the existence of God rational and justified, even though the existence of God cannot be proven in a mathematical sense. Plantinga equates knowledge of God's existence with kinds of knowledge that are rational but do not proceed through proof, such as sensory knowledge.


The atheistic conclusion is that the arguments indicate there is insufficient reason to believe that any gods exist.

Strong atheism

Strong atheism (or positive atheism) is the position that a god or gods do not exist. The strong atheist explicitly asserts the non-existence of gods. Some strong atheists further assert that the existence of some or all gods is logically impossible, for example claiming that the combination of attributes which God may be asserted to have (for example: omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, transcendence, omnibenevolence) is logically contradictory, incomprehensible, or absurd, and therefore that the non-existence of such a god is a priori true. It needs to be noted that believing the qualities of a particular god to be contradictory is not the sole basis of strong atheism; many strong atheists would assert that, owing to the lack of evidence, even a god described in a manner that was not contradictory is still unlikely to exist.

Metaphysical naturalism is a common worldview associated with strong atheism.

Weak atheism

The term weak atheism (or negative atheism) is used in two main senses: (a) of those who do not assert strong atheism ("Gods do not exist") but rather the more minimal statement that for a variety of reasons (principally the lack of credible scientific evidence) there are no good reasons and no credible grounds for believing that gods exist ("I do not believe that gods exist" as opposed to "I believe that gods do not exist"); or (b) those who neither believe that a god or gods exists, nor believe that no gods exist. This is orthogonal to agnosticism which states that whether gods exist is either unknown or unknowable. It should be noted that there is some controversy about this use of the term.


The term Agnostic is denying the identity of God. While comparable to Atheism, where Atheists believe there is no God, Agnostics question the existence of a God. An Agnostic may say; "I don't know if God exists and neither do you." Agnostics do not believe in God, but they do not deny that there may be life after death, and how the earth was made, in the eyes of an Agnostic, is open to speculation and science.

Psychological Issues

Several authors have offered psychological or sociological explanations for belief in the existence of God. We ask why we are here and whether life has purpose; we are anxious about being alone. Religious beliefs may recruit the cognitive mechanisms. William James emphasized the inner religious struggle between melancholy and happiness, and pointed to trance as a cognitive mechanism. Sigmund Freud stressed fear and pain, the need for a powerful parent to care for us, the obsessional nature of ritual, and the hypnotic state a community can induce.

Pascal Boyer's "Religion Explained," (2002) based in part on his anthropological field work, treats belief in God as the result of the brain's tendency towards agency detection, the idea that because of evolutionary pressures, we err on the side of attributing agency where there isn't any. In Boyer's view, belief in 'minimally counterintuitive' supernatural entities spread and became culturally fixed because of their memorability -- beings that differ from the ordinary in a small number of ways, such as being invisible, able to fly, or having access to strategic and otherwise secret information.

Scott Atran's "In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion" (2002) makes a similar argument, and adds examination of the socially coordinating aspects of shared belief. In "Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion," Todd Tremlin follows Boyer in arguing that universal human cognitive process naturally produce Gods. In particular, an agency detection device (ADD) and a theory of mind module (ToMM) lead us to expect an agent behind every event.

See also

Further reading


30. Critical examination of Richard Dawkin's position

14. ^ See eg The Probability of God by Stephen D. Unwin, its criticism in The God Delusion, the critical comment in that article, and elsewhere

References and Further Reading

  • Broad, C.D. "Arguments for the Existence of God," Journal of Theological Studies 40 (1939): 16-30; 156-67.
  • Jordan, Jeff. "Pragmatic Arguments for Belief in God", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  • Cohen, Morris R. "The Dark Side of Religion," Religion Today, a Challenging Enigma, ed. Arthur L. Swift, Jr. (1933). Revised version in Morris Cohen, The Faith of a Liberal (1946).
  • FreeThoughtPedia "Common Theist Arguments" and "Theological Criticisms"
  • Haisch, Bernard. The God Theory: Universes, Zero-Point Fields and What's Behind It All Red Wheel/Weiser Books, 2006.
  • Hume, David. 1779, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Richard Popkin (ed), Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998.
  • Mackie, J.L. The Miracle of Theism. Oxford, Eng.: Oxford Univ. Press, 1982.
  • Nielson, Kai. Ethics Without God. London: Pemberton Books, 1973.
  • Oppy, Graham. "Ontological Arguments", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  • Paley, William, 1802, Natural Theology. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.
  • Plantinga, Alvin. Warranted Christian Belief. Oxford Univ. Press, 1993.
  • Pojman, Louis P. Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Fourth Ed., Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2003. ISBN 0-534-54364-2.
  • Ratzsch, Del. "Teleological Arguments for God's Existence", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  • Rouvière, Jean-Marc, Brèves méditations sur la création du monde L'Harmattan, Paris (2006), ISBN 2-7475-9922-1.
  • Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God. New York: Clarendon, 1991.
  • Everitt, Nicholas (2004). The Non-Existence of God: An Introduction. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-30107-6.
  • Mackie, J. L. (1982). The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the existence of God. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824682-X.
  • Matson, Wallace I. (1965). The Existence of God.
  • McTaggart, John & McTaggart, Ellis (1927). The Nature of Existence. Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sobel, Jordan H. (2004). Logic and theism: Arguments for and against beliefs in God. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-87975-307-2.
  • Ahmad, Mirza Tahir (1998). "Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth".

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