Joe asked:

What is your favorite argument for the existence of God?


Jimmy Akin replied:

"I would say that there are sort of three arguments that I find particularly intriguing. One of them is kind of a basic version of the cosmological argument which is the argument that reasons to the existence of God from the existence of the world. Because it seems to me that I just explain the physical world that we see around us. Even if it's much larger than what is currently known. Even if it were an infinite multi-verse of different universes. Still I can't provide a sufficient explanation for that in terms of itself and so it's a contingent reality and it seems to me that it must depend for its existence on something else. On something that's not contingent and thus on something that you could call God. So I think you need the existence of a god at least of one form or another in order to anchor the existence of the universe. And there are different ways of arguing for that but I think the basic intuition there is sound.

I'm also intrigued by what's known as the ontological argument for God's existence. Which just takes the concept of God and it can be formulated in different ways, not all of which are successful. But it can be formulated in different ways that if you just understand the concept of an all perfect being properly then that all perfect being must exist. That there's something about the concept of an all perfect being that just demands that that being exist ... I think there's also something valid about that intuition. I can't imagine the absence of an all perfect being. I don't know what that would mean for there not to be an all perfect being.

And then the third argument that I find intriguing is not actually an argument for God's existence but it is an argument for believing in God and that's Pascal's wager. Pascal's wager is much misunderstood but I think that there's a valid insight in it that it just makes sense for a variety of reasons. To believe in God and if you have trouble deciding based on the evidence you may as well err in favor of the existence of God not because you're going to go to hell or even because your going to go to heaven, but just because that's a better picture of the world that better corresponds to human nature. I would like to live in a world where there is ultimate meaning and where there is an infinite being who is all good and who cares about me and cares about other people and who wants us to have joy forever. That's a preferable world view to my mind to thinking that this is a meaningless existence and there is ultimately no love, and no justice, there's nothing fundamental about those concepts in reality and they're all just human illusions. That's to my mind a depressing world view and so if I can't decide based on the evidence which is the only case that Pascal's wager tries to address, I would say go with the one that your heart calls for."


Copyrights:

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum for Non-Catholics" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: June 8, 2015

Name of show: Open Forum for Non-Catholics

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 46:47


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