Everyone should be familiar with the cosmological argument for God which is modernly referred to as the fine-tuning argument. Less people are familiar with the ontological argument which came sooner. Some argue it’s because the ontological argument is more difficult to understand, but actually it’s more difficult to swallow.
In the 11th century a man named Anselm came up with an idea. If you define God as a perfect being that must exist, and you can imagine that he does in some possible imaginary world, then by definition, he must exist in all possible imaginary worlds, and therefore, must exist in the real one too. Seriously, this is the argument.
Can definitions of words be arranged to make logical arguments? If you defined the perfect island as a place where you can both swim and ski, does that mean any island that doesn’t have those attributes isn’t perfect? If you also define this island as something that must exist because it’s “maximumly” perfect, and not existing wouldn’t be maximumly perfect, would that make it exist?
Since the ontological argument came about it’s been, not surprisingly, debunked many times. So why are we even talking about it? Who today would be shameless enough to still be promoting such nonsense? Not surprisingly, there are still people who are. Because of this, there are still people who continue to debunk it. This has been a tradition that’s been going on for centuries, so why stop now?
At the heart of it, the ontological argument can be summarized in the simplest possible way. If God exists, then God exists.
-James Kirk Wall
Here are other related videos about, against, and for the ontological argument:
Crash Course Philosophy
ReasonableFaithOrg, the official YouTube channel for Dr. William Lane Craig
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