While I’ll admit that I want God to exist, because without Him the world seems cold, evil, and downtrodden, Anslem’s argument isn’t very convincing. Maybe it’s because I didn’t really read it…I just skimmed through it, reading only the sentences that actually made sense. But I see why he might say the same thing over again in different permutations; he did it to make sure there were no holes in his argument. But nobody will poke holes in your argument if they don’t read it… It was only near the end that his argument was more readable. Readable his argument was near the end. Than that of the beginning of his argument… ;)I must admit that after Gaunilo made his counterargument, Anslem was more (what’s the word I’m looking for? Loquacious?)…Anyway, it’s funny how Gaunilo shot down Anslem’s argument (with glee?), and then pretended the rest of his essay was okay, and then Anslem basically called Gaunilo an idiot before thanking him for his criticism.
I read somewhere that all these “proofs” that God exists led people to think He didn’t exist…basically, they started disbelieving when Descartes’ proofs showed how His nonexistence could be possible…talk about irony.
Okay, let’s see if I can answer this without stirring up further argument… One can argue that the government does have religious convictions (setting aside the gay argument for a second), because the government bans murder, rape, and stealing, to name a few. Some religions believe in child sacrifice (I read somewhere about how this headless child’s torso was found in a river as a result of a cult’s ceremony.) But, wisely, that is outlawed. Liberty in reality isn’t the same as the “ideal” liberty, for if it were, everything would be chaotic. Religion may be an artificial construct to some, but as Voltaire (an athiest) said, “if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” These “religous” laws may sound like we’re imposing one set of values on everybody (as in the Crusades). (The Catholic Church wasn’t alone in persecuting one set of Christianity, remember those anti-Catholic laws in the U.S. and Britian oh-so-recently? And the Nazis persecuting the Jews? to name a few) But following these set of values (such as the Ten Commandments) provides a sense of order and discipline among any group of people. Judging is a necessary part of humanity, though we try hard not to pre-judge or let our judgements get in the way of our thinking. Naturally, we judge murderers poorly, and philanthropists highly.
Now, back to homosexuality. This may be a case where it neither “empties my purse or breaks my leg,”, but if it were a true religious belief to be homosexual, then the government would already allow this, but not require each religious denomination to marry them. Basically, it’d be one of those “Justice of the Peace” deals, if not sanctioned by the religion. In religious views, being homosexual isn’t a sin, it’s giving into these impuses that is. All people are sexual, that in itself isn’t a sin. But giving into the thoughts or impulses (outside of marriage, that is) is a sin, for both hetero and homo. It’s a disability, as it were, for homosexual people. It’s like depression, (which runs heavily in my family, by the way, so none of that pre-judging here!). Having it isn’t a sin, but giving into it is. One must never give up the fight, one must never give in, no matter how hopeless things are, you must never not care about the house or your room being a pig sty (beyond normal messiness), you must force yourself to care, and then that sets you on the baby steps back to at least indifference, if not pure happiness or joy again. I’ve got to go to bed now.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He lives in the spirit of Christmas…in our hearts, the same way we keep Christmas in our hearts. So while the physical Santa as we know it does not exist, the spirit (in a metaphorical sense) of St. Nicholas does. Maybe the reason the existence of God is difficult to understand is because He doesn’t exist in a purely physical form that we are used to…when we are made in God’s image, perhaps it isn’t merely our physical form, or even the physical form at all…Perhaps the image of God that is within us is our soul. (Don’t go pointing out the flaws–though we are made in His image that doesn’t rule out sin–remember Socrate’s shadow-images?) (Don’t fault this analogy either. It’s to make a point, it’s not a perfect analogy, ‘kay?)
So, the spirit of God lives on within us, if we chose to let it. Just because we can’t see the guy doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. He can chose to manifest Himself in physical forms, or remain a mystery to us (there’s that eastern ideal!).
Again and again I’m reminded of an art technique used to train new artists, but I can’t remember the name of it. But basically, we don’t actually draw the subject. We draw everything around it, so what’s left is this white space (again with the mystery!). Because none of us can actually “see” God, (unless you’re dead or a saint) all we can do is to figure out what He is not, and what’s left, however un-understandable it is; that part is God. It’s a difficult way to draw, and likewise it’s a difficult way to understand, but since it is not provable in the scientific sense, in which we actively test the subject, so I understand if you don’t quite get it, because I’m not good at that type of drawing, either.
So, basically it comes back to faith. Either you accept the best proof we can offer, or wait until God chooses to reveal himself to the world (re: Revelations) at which point the whole debate is moot because it’s the end of the world. If you even believe in the end of times.