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Archive for January, 2007

Bertrand Russel gives the most convincing argument for the non-existence of God due to his systematic approach and through applying previous theological concepts universally to include deity. Whereas previous theologians would proffer arguments such as First-Cause, their mistake was in exempting God from the process by which all other objects were defined and held accountable. The universal application of philosophical principles to include deity was the only intellectually honest approach used when juxtaposed to the likes of Anselm and Aquinas.

An example of this universal application was Russell’s “First-Cause Argument,” which is essentially, although not stated specifically, a refutation of Thomas Aquinas’s second of The Five Ways in proving God’s existence. Aquinas stated, “There is no case known… in which a thing is found to be that efficient cause of itself, for so it would be prior to itself, which is not possible… Therefore, it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.”(1) Much like U.S. Congressmen who exempt themselves from laws that are passed, St. Thomas is here exempting God from the same laws that he attributes as necessary to all other beings. This concept of divine exemption was not lost on Russell who addressed it immediately by referring to John Stuart Mill’s autobiography: “’My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question ‘Who made God?’”(2)

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After much contemplation regarding which philosopher’s view of human nature I most agree or disagree with, my answer is Arthur Schopenhauer and pessimism. My arrival at this conclusion is the argument of evidence that Schopenhauer used in determining there isn’t an “all-wise, all-good, and at the same time, all-powerful Being,” which governs our lives or is concerned with His work.(1)  One need only but look around at the vast amount of frustration, disappointment, and human sorrow that exists to reach the same conclusion. Therefore, the human experience provides plenty of readily available evidence that our condition is solely and succinctly an individual’s suffering.

Furthermore, given my agnostic viewpoints, Schopenhauer’s insistence on the truth of The Will as the eternal and universal force that governs man serves as a replacement for my skepticism in a personal and personified deity. The belief in a governing Will as a guiding force offers an explanation for the world’s troubles and fills the vacuum left by an otherwise absent god.

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