God The Deceiver Essay

1011 words - 4 pages

God the DeceiverHave you ever wondered if everything we thought we knew was wrong? That maybe someone was just putting all these ideas into our head? In this paper, I will show several flaws in René Descartes' argument that God is not a deceiver. After introducing René Descartes and his argument, I will take a closer look into what he is actually saying. Lastly, I will introduce several objections and problems with his argument and show the implications that result.To begin, René Descartes was a French philosopher that lived in the first half of the seventeenth century. He wrote a philosophical book, Meditations on First Philosophy, made up of six meditations in which he attempted to demonstrate the 'existence of God and the immorality of the soul.' The small part of this book I will be focusing on is a paragraph in meditation four. Here, Descartes states that "It is impossible for God ever to deceive me, for trickery and deception is always indicative of some imperfection. And although the ability to deceive seems to be an indication of cleverness or power, the will to deceive undoubtedly attests to maliciousness or weakness. Accordingly, deception is incompatible with God" (36). Descartes doesn't seem to feel the need to add anything to this argument either in its defense or against it. This one paragraph is, in effect, the entirety of René Descartes argument that God is not a deceiver.Looking deeper into this argument and taking in account the basic set up of a modus ponens argument, the premises seem to be that (1) deceiving requires either maliciousness or weakness, (2) that maliciousness or weakness are imperfections, and (3) that God is perfect and therefore has no imperfections. He then concludes that God cannot deceive because he can be neither weak nor malicious for those would make God imperfect. Using this set up, I believe that it can be argued that both premise one and premise two can be found untrue.Premise one, that deceiving requires maliciousness or weakness, can be found untrue simply by looking introspectively on your own life. Deceiving can be defined as "to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid" (Merriam-Webster). Can you ever think of a time when you lied to someone without your intent being maliciousness or weakness? I think there are several other reasons why someone would lie or deceive; they may be trying to protect someone, doing it to make themself look better, or maybe even as a joke.The validity of premise two, that maliciousness and weakness are imperfections, can be brought into question also. Consider our value system. Where do you draw the line between right and wrong? Consider a culture in which cannibalism is acceptable and is actually a sacred ritual that guarantees the deceased passage to the afterlife. Can we rightly judge these people on our own system of values when they have their own? Now consider God. Take into account that God is not equal to humans. God...

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