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Rene Descartes's View On God Essay

1337 words - 5 pages

Rene Descartes's View on God

 
    In 1996, songwriter Joan Osborne performed a song called "One of Us" that was nominated for three Grammy Awards.  What made this song so successful and interesting were the powerful lyrics that basically asked, "What if God were a human being?"  As she was writing the lyrics to "One of Us," she was wondering about God and how the world would be different if God did exist in real life and not just a supernatural force.  You may be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with the seventeenth century?"  Well, in the seventeenth century, there was a man, named Rene Descartes, who was interested in God and wondered about His existence.  After an unforgettable night in November 10, 1619, his interest in God became stronger, and had developed many views that concerned or were about God. When he expressed his investigations of applying inductive methods of science and mathematics to philosophy by the "Cogito ero sum" (I think, therefore I am), he started to argue the existence of God by saying that God and science could co-exist, since he proved that he existed.

 

Rene Descartes, a Catholic, had the benefit of an extensive classical education, which influenced him to become a great philosopher.  When he was eight years old, "he was enrolled in the Jesuit school of La Fleche in Anjou, where he remained for eight years" ("Descartes").  There, he received instruction in mathematics, scholastic philosophy, and classical studies. Although he was planning on having a military career in the Netherlands, "his attention had already been attracted to the problems of mathematics and philosophy to which he was to devote the rest of his life" ("Descartes").

 

Descartes experienced an unforgettable night that November 10, which resulted in a "new relationship between his self-knowledge and his knowledge of God" (Vrooman 60).  This came after he discovered more than just the principles of a single science and realized the unity of all the science of all knowledge.  During that night, he experienced three dreams he felt "had been sent to him by the spirit of truth which had deigned to enlighten him as to the future" (Vrooman 58). He believed that God revealed to Descartes his mission, which was to seek the unity of all truth, a universal science that had been symbolized by a dictionary in his dream.  Thus, Descartes began his efforts to seek the truth to become a famous philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. He felt that all of this could not have happened if God had not inspired him during those three dreams.  As the biographer Jack R. Vrooman writes, that in a span of a few hours, "Descartes had moved from the discovery of the unity of the sciences, pass through various stages of enthusiasm and anguish, experienced the intuition of God, and begun the elaboration of a philosophy" (63).

 

Rene Descartes published a book called Discourse on the Method in 1637 in which he stated that "Reason does...

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