To Live For God Or For Meaning

913 words - 4 pages

Throughout the history of philosophical theories there have many shifts of thought, one of the most dramatic would certainly be the change from focusing on ideas of God and the proving of God’s existence to thoughts on the “death of God” and ways to find meaning in life despite his absence. This shift is demonstrated by the changing tone of the writings of Anselm and Descartes to the writings of Feuerbach and Nietzsche. This change happened for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the proving of scientific facts that did not coincide with religious beliefs (evolution, the sun is the center of our galaxy, etc.), the changing societal structure that reduced religious involvement in everyday life and the doors opened by past philosophers. This change is clearly seen through that differences between the writings of Descartes and the writings of Feuerbach.
In the past, such as with Descartes in seems as if somehow proving God’s existence made everything right with the world. Descartes even went so far as to say,“I very clearly recognise that the certainty and truth of all knowledge depends alone on the knowledge of the true God, in so much that, before I knew Him, I could not have a perfect knowledge of any other thing”(Meditations) showing the strongly held belief people had at the time, that everything began and ended with God. This is why many of the philosophers before and during this time focused on God’s existence, because it was such a large part of life at the time. Religious people were, after all the first philosophers, such as Anselm, a monk that wanted to verify his knowledge of God’s existence. In such religion run societies that very notion of there not being a God would have brought down the basis of their knowledge of how things are run and as a result, ideas that hinted that this way of doing things might be wrong which meant that even though Descartes said this about his having an idea of God, “And from the mere fact that there is such an idea within me, or that I who possess this idea exist, I clearly infer that God also exists, and that every single moment of my entire existence depends on him” (Meditations) he was still denied publication because of his discussion on the question of God’s existence because it might have made people doubt the power of the church at the time.
However, there was a turning point in both society and philosophers that started with Pascal. Pascal’s wager opened the possibility that there is no God by stating that there is no way to prove his existence nor his absence. By specifically saying “Granted...

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