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Ontological Argument

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a) Analyze the distinctive features of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God (18)

The Ontological Argument is an a priori and deductive argument which attempts to prove God’s existence. It is also a reduction ad absurdum argument which shows that the existence of God could not be denied because to do so would involve adopting an illogical argument. It was formed by St. Anselm (1033-1109), but is still a strong argument for the existence of God today. Anselm firstly argues nothing greater than God can be conceived and secondly, it is greater to exist than not to exist. He next explains that if we conceive of God as not existing, then we can conceive of something greater than God. To conceive of God as not existing is not to conceive of God. Anselm states that it is inconceivable that God doesn’t exist and therefore God exists. Anselm thought that not believing in God is ridiculous, claiming it is better to exist in the mind and in reality than to just exist in the mind. Existence is a predicate of perfection. Therefore God must exist in reality. ‘The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’’ (Psalm 14).Anselm stated that even an atheist must have a definition of God because even the suggestion that God does not exist requires the concept of God. It seemed logical to conclude that to argue that there is no God; even the fool must understand the concept of God. Since the greatest thought must have an equivalent reality to be greater than even the least significant thing in reality for God to be the greatest thought, God must exist. Anselm went on to prove that God must exist in reality too since he exists in our thoughts. Anselm used the analogy of how a painter imagines beforehand what he wants to paint. The painter has in his understanding what he has not yet made but does not yet understand that it is. After he finishes painting it, he has it both...

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