A Reasonable Faith – The Ontological Argument

HomeChristianity and the BibleA Reasonable Faith – The Ontological Argument

Dr. William Lane Craig is one of modern Christianity’s leading minds. He’s a philosopher, a theologian, an apologist, and a teacher. He regularly debates some of the leading skeptics and atheists in the world, and has garnered the respect of virtually everyone in his field. His ministry, Reasonable Faith, is a great resource for all kinds of useful articles and videos related to Christianity.

In this video from Reasonable Faith, Anselm’s Ontological Argument is presented. Anselm of Canterbury wrote that God is “that than which nothing greater can be conceived”, and believed that if it’s possible that a ‘maximally great’ being exists, then that being must exist. See what you think.


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2 responses to “A Reasonable Faith – The Ontological Argument”

  1. igor says:

    Firstly we need definitions.

    a. define “it is possible that” to mean “in at least one imaginable world”.
    b. define “a maximally great being” to mean “a being with maximally great attributes/properties/characteristics, plus existence in all imaginable worlds”.

    Then we can look at P1 – “It is possible that a maximally great being exists”.

    This becomes “In at least one imaginable world, a being with maximally great attributes/properties/characteristics, plus existence in all imaginable worlds exists”.

    Then the argument proceeds to add nothing. So the argument is no more than successive re-stating of P1. The real question is this – where does P1 come from?

    • Tony says:

      Igor:

      P1 was Anselm’s assumption that, in imagining all possible worlds, it is conceivable that a maximally great being would exist. If it’s conceivable that a world could exist where this maximally great being exists, then that being must actually exist. The idea is that, in imagining all possible worlds (as many do today with the so-called multiverse theory), everything that’s not logically incoherent must be possible. The argument then follows that a maximally great being that exists in one world wouldn’t really be maximally great…that a maximally great being must not be so limited. The rest of the argument follows.

      The argument doesn’t lead to the conclusion. The argument supports the conclusion. If you start with the idea, then support it with the logic, you confirm the idea. If the idea is itself nonsensical, no confirmation is possible.

      I’m not a huge fan of the argument, as it’s kind of inaccessible to people unfamiliar with philosophical concepts like contingent and necessary beings. What do you think? It is conceivable or inconceivable that a maximally great being would exist in some imaginable world?

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