Descartes Proof for the Existence of God
The purpose of my essay will be to examine Descartes’ argument for the existence of God. First, I will review Descartes’ proof for the existence of God. Then I will examine the reasons that Descartes has for proving God’s existence. I will also discuss some consequences that appear as a result of God’s existence. Finally, I will point out some complications and problems that exist within the proof.
The basic problem with most religions in the world has always been that they presuppose faith; that is one cannot be reasoned into believing in a religion, if such was not the case then we would have seen a huge migration to one religion or another. In any given religion, the main proof of God’s existence is the fact that scriptures -- whichever ones they may be -- inform us of his existence and his powers. Then again, we only believe in these scriptures because we think that they come from God. Generally saying, this is a circular argument that cannot be used as a proof. We would all like to believe that we believe in God and our given religion because of faith. But what is faith? And how can a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim all have the same certainty about their given religions without being in any doubt of their minds as to the certainty of their religions and faith.
Descartes set out to build a set of arguments designed to prove God’s existence. On those, he constructed all of his other arguments. His goal in proving God’s existence was dual; he wanted to build ground to base his arguments on, that is that he exists ...etc. That goal will not be discussed in too much depth in this paper. It is his other goal to prove beyond a doubt God’s existence to all non-believers.
Descartes starts by rejecting all his beliefs, so that he would not be misleaded by any misconceptions from reaching the truth. He notices that by doubting all of his previous ideas he is thinking in. Descartes determines that in order for him to think, he must exist. He states that he knows that to be the case beyond any doubt, and that this is the first principle of the philosophy he is seeking. From that single observation he deduces a rule that he will build his entire argument upon. Descartes notices that the idea of his existence is very clear and distinct in his mind; based upon this clarity, and the fact that he has just determined his own existence, he infers that the things that he sees as very clear and very distinct are all true.
Descartes employs another interesting rule for his logic, or way of thinking: an objective reality cannot exist without formal reality. That is to say that an idea cannot originate without a cause. The ideas can be less perfect than their cause, but they cannot be more perfect. He also explains that those ideas in us that apparently do not have formal reality, such as a mermaid, are merely combinations of other formal realities- in this case a woman and a mermaid -- and thus do not invalidate the...