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Anselms Argument for the Existence of God

A French monk, Anselm of Canterbury was one of the first prominent


philosophers of the middle ages to defend rational analysis of theological
doctrines (Stewart, Blocker, Petrick 333). After studying at the Benedictine
Abbey, he eventually became a Benedictine and Archbishop of Canterbury.
Being in this position of authority, Anselm used the ontological argument to
try to prove the existence of God, which the term means being in Greek.
Ontological is the analysis of the nature or being of something (Stewart,
Blocker, Petrick 332). The ontological argument is used to distinguish
between what is real and what is imagined to be.

Anselm was very creative in the arguments that he used for the
existence of God. Anselms argument for God can be summed up in this
statement: The more perfect an object the better it is. An existing object is
more perfect than a non-existing object. If part of the definition of God is His
perfection, then He must exist (Goodwin). Anselm uses the priori argument
to prove the existence of God. The priori argument uses ideas not based on
existence. He also used many Platonic ideas for his argument which is using
definitions and language to get to his conclusions. The argument he has is
very much deductive; the argument is based on the priori being true so what
follows being true as well. Anselm used human experience as the primary
form of the logic of his arguments. How people experience God is proof that
He exists. A real God is much better than simply an imagined definition
according to Anselm.

There could be possible fallacies to this argument if it is taken in a


different manner by people who do not believe in God. It has no scientific
basis to it which agnostics and atheists look for to prove or disprove facts.
But the existence of God is much deeper than scientific facts. To believe in
the existence of God you must have a solid foundation of faith and look to
the Bible to learn about who God His. Anselms argument is faith based
because it has no scientific proof. Instead, Anselm uses the ontological
argument that God is perfect, and for something to be perfect it must exist,
so God must exist because He is perfect. This argument is much easier for a
believer in God to accept than an agnostic or an atheist. There is just not
much basis to it or proof. Kant goes up against Anselms argument because
Anselm mostly relies on that existence is the quality of an object. Kant
questions Anselms assumption by saying that existence does not add or
take away from an object, that is, existence is not a quality of something
(Goodwin). Kant has a good point. Anselms argument is based a lot on

words and definitions, so I think that it could be improved by going back to


the Bible and using examples from Scripture and letting Gods Word speak to
the hearts of people.

Anselms ontological argument for the existence of God is a deductive


argument using a priori form. It has weaknesses as pointed out by Kant, but
Anselm does try to logically prove the existence of God which is a noble
endeavor. Logically is for sure important in proving Gods existence, but
faith is the most important part of knowing who God is.

What is the Proper Function of Being a Person?

Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher and student of Plato, thought


that every action and choice of a person was ultimately all for the aim of
good. He believed that humans were striving for happiness and to flourish;
which is called eudemonia. Aristotle believed that virtue is found in the
golden mean, which is the middle between too strict and too light on
discipline and harshness applied to all areas of life.

Aristotle believed that the proper function of a human being is the


activity of the soul in conformity with a rational principle and that rational
principle is virtue or excellence (Goodwin). He thought that a way of living
in the middle between the two extremes was the best way to live a happy
life. He divides virtue into moral and intellectual: Intellectual virtues can be
learned. However, moral virtues can only arise by habit just do it and youll
see its the good thing to do (Goodwin). Aristotle reasons that we cannot be
moral because of how we are designed, but we can become moral by the
actions that we do; we become just by doing just actions. Being good at
something good at something means being good and to perform your
function well. So a good man will perform good actions in conformity with
virtue (Goodwin). Aristotle also believed that human beings function was
to flourish and strive for happiness.

Aristotle believes that we can live a happy life by living by the golden
mean, which is living in between feeling and action, no excess and no
deficiency (Goodwin). It means having a rational balance for instance in a
situation when tempers flare and punishment must happen. You take care of
the problem with love, but you still must punish to prevent it from happening
again.

There are problems to Aristotles logic on what the basic function of a


human being should be. He reasons that humans should strive for
happiness. This in itself is so empty and can be very selfish. He does not
involve any religious ideas or striving to help other people in need but
completely on the individuals happiness. This makes life seem pointless and
meaningless in the big picture of life. There is so much more than striving
for happiness for those who are Christians. Christians have a goal to glorify
God here on earth and to fulfill the Great Commission. This is a much more
worthy cause to live than each persons own happiness.
Aristotle has a very logical worldly view on what the basic function of
human beings should be. He reasons that humans should strive for
happiness in life and to flourish. But there is so much more than this for
those who are Christians and have a higher view on life. Aristotle does
however have a light and positive view on life while many philosophers tend
to be negative.

Works Cited

Stewart David, Gene H. Blocker, James Petrik. Fundamental of


Philosophy. 8th ed. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2013. Print.

Goodwin, Matthew. Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE). n.d. Web. 25 April


2015.

Goodwin, Matthew. The Morality of Self-Realization. n.d. Web. 25


April 2015.