3. Does God exist?


In this chapter we evaluate some arguments for the existence of God.

3.1 We introduce the distinction between evidential and pragmatic reasons for belief. We explain how we will understand the terms “God”, “theist” and “atheist”.

3.2 We discuss the first cause argument. If there is no god, how did the universe get started?

3.3 We present some objections to the first cause argument.

3.4 We discuss Leibniz’s cosmological argument. If there is not God, why does the universe exist?

3.5 We introduce the design argument.

3.6 We evaluate the design argument, and introduce Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

3.7 We introduce Anselm’s ontological argument.

3.8 We describe an objection to Anselm’s ontological argument, due to Gaunilo of Marmoutiers.

3.9 We look at the benefits of religious belief, and discuss whether these beliefs are justified by these benefits. We consider the views of W.K. Clifford and William James.