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Can God’s existence be proven? Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to approach it philosophically. Specifically, we must look at the art of argumentation. After we discuss the way philosophical arguments are made, proofs for the existence of God will be clearer. And please note, argumentation in philosophy is not the same as confrontation in everyday life. Argumentation is the attempt to present logical reasons in support of an idea or belief. Confrontation is the attempt to force another to believe or act a certain way.
In philosophy, there are two types of arguments; deductive and inductive. Both are formed by reaching conclusions based on premises. Premises are statements made in support of a conclusion.
Premises in deductive arguments are accepted either because of empirical knowledge or because they seem obvious enough to be regarded as true. An example of empirical knowledge would be that sunlight warms our skin. We know this from our senses because when we stand outside on a warm day our skin heats. An example of a premise accepted as true would be that a ball thrown into the air will fall back to the ground. Both of these statements are simple premises, but many others are much more complex. For example, take the premise that time moves in a straight line from the past to the future. Until recently this was considered a basic belief but modern physics has created doubts.
The main difference between deductive and inductive argumentation concerns how premises are considered. Deductive arguments attempt to present premises so solid that if they are correct the conclusion cannot be denied. Inductive arguments attempt to present arguments that are not intended to prove the conclusion beyond doubt. Instead, inductive arguments present a high probability that the conclusion is correct.
Most arguments for the existence of God are inductive instead of deductive. It can be no other way. God is spirit and therefore intangible. That which is intangible cannot be proven empirically. Of course, many things are not tangible. For example, love. We cannot touch love. We cannot see it, but who would argue that love does not exist? Love is intangible, but we know of it through its effects. So it is also with God. We cannot see Him directly, but we can see Him through His works.
The base upon which belief in God rests is not destroyed by lack of deductive arguments. There are many well thought out inductive arguments that have been made throughout the centuries. These arguments together present a solid case. As with most any such cases, objections have been made by philosophers; however, the case for God’s existence is not based on any single study. It is based on many. The multitude of such arguments gives our belief validity. How could they all be wrong? The probability of such is almost nonexistence.
This brings us to conductive argumentation. To me it is a further refinement of the above methods. In conductive arguments, premises are also given in support of a conclusion; however, the argument is such that if any of the supporting premises are removed, or proven wrong, the other supporting premises still carry the conclusion. The overall argument is, however, weakened.
This is very important in cases for the existence of God. Many critics target a particular argument and try to disprove it. In doing so, they claim that God does not exist. This is not so. By noting that the arguments for God are conductive, elimination of any one premise does not disprove God. The arguments for God are plentiful. They are also conductive. Even if some should be proven wrong, the remaining provides overwhelming evidence that God exists.
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