In the words of Peter Kreeft, “The idea of God is either a fact, like sand, or a fantasy, like Santa.” This is the fundamental question raised in Module 5. Namely, what are we rationally entitled to conclude about God’s potential existence? And if God does exist, what type of God is supported by empirical evidence? Said differently, is it rational to believe in a God that is omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent (call these the three O’s), or does this characterization fail to hold up to scrutiny?
In support of the claim that God exists, there are two options to consider during this module. First, is the cosmological argument, which generates the conclusion God exists based on fundamental considerations about the cause of the world and/or why there is something rather than nothing. Second, is the teleological argument, which posits the existence of God based on the appearance of design. Both arguments rest on empirical (or a posteriori) reasoning. Both have deep roots in the history of philosophy. Both have particular versions that are important to consider for your essay.
In support of the claim that God does not exist, is the problem of evil. According to it, based on a careful examination of moral and natural evils in relation to the three O’s, God simply cannot exist. Said differently, pairing together the fact of evil with the concept of God is like postulating the existence of a round-square. A round-square is a contradictory object, whose actual existence is not rationally justified. So, too, (goes the argument) is an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God that allows for moral and natural evil.
Essay Question: Critically evaluate ONE of the above three arguments (i.e., the cosmological, teleological or problem of evil) for or against God’s existence. Do NOT write on all three topics. The idea here is go into depth on a single one. Please note that there are different versions of these arguments, and it may be wise to distinguish between the different versions in your essay.