The Epistemology of the Existence of God

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The Epistemology of the Existence of God How do we know if God exists beyond a conceptual belief and as a knowable fact? This question is addressed by four theories -- the ontological, cosmological, teleological, and the moral arguments. All four viewpoints represent an argument that we can know of the existence of God, and, each has limitations to the theory. These theories and their limitations will be presented followed by conclusions reached by the author. The Ontological Argument The ontological (or metaphysical) view relies purely on a rational or logical approach -- if something is known by the human mind, it cannot be "unknown" and therefore exists. Those who espouse this theory do not look for, nor do they believe it is necessary to present any physical evidence to support the conclusion. Just as the word tree is self-evident of the existence of a tree, God is also known to exist as evidenced by our conception of him. This implies that God is not only knowable and real but also perfect in both conception and therefore in reality. Rene Descartes, the17th century philosopher, is probably the best-known theologian who supported the ontological viewpoint. He believed that some people know the truth of the existence of God outright while others may need to reason their way to this truth as though they were reasoning through a mathematical proof. No matter the process, the conclusion in his opinion will be the same ... that we as imperfect beings cannot coneive of such a perfect thing as God unless that conception comes from outside our own mind from such perfection, therefore God must exist. (Turner 451). The ontological viewpoint has a number of limitations as compared to other theories. The theory itself is presented as a proof, the fact that we know of God proves his existence and therefore is undeniable. While most accept as a necessary fact Descartes'
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