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Arguments for the Existence of God
Arguments for the Existence of God
Description
Back of the Book

Many students, during their adolescence or as they emerge from adolescence to early years of Youth, pass through a period when all they have heard and learnt comes to be questioned. Often they find painfully the absence of a competent guide or mentor who can help them; even books that can be helpful are few, and these students are swayed by influences that tie them down to superficial levels of critical rationality. They are often asked to find proofs and evidence for what they think and feel, but not knowing what constitutes proofs or evidence, begin to flounder.

One of the important questions that is often asked at this stage is related to the existence of God. What is the proof that God exists? This question is often asked; but \ very few teachers or friends undertake any serious journey of critical inquiry with the students in regard to this question. This monograph is an attempt to serve these students and furnish to them some material of thought and reflection by the help of which they can be rescued from superficial thinking. They need to enter into the portals of serious and profound realms of thought and reflection.

The question of existence of God is one of the few important questions that has to be confronted, since this question is related centrally to the aim of Life

Preface

The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value- oriented education is enormous. There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humors, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual farniliarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students, The research teams at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAILER) have attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony. It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms illumination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, understood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, realization and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of service to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill. Harmony is a progressive state and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and stability with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be maximization of one or more elements of our nature. When illumination and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.

Many students, during their adolescence or as they emerge from adolescence to early years of youth, pass through a period when all they have heard and learnt comes to be questioned. Often they find painfully the absence of a competent guide or mentor who can help them; even books that can be helpful are few, and these students are swayed by influences that tie them down to superficial levels of critical rationality. They are often asked to find proofs and evidence for what they think and feel, but not knowing what constitutes proofs or evidence, begin to flounder. One of the important questions that is often asked at this stage is related to the existence of God. What is the proof that God exists? This question is often asked; but very few teachers or friends undertake any serious journey of critical inquiry with the students in regard to this question. This monograph is an attempt to serve these students and furnish to them some material of thought and reflection by the help of which they can be rescued from superficial thinking. They need to enter into the portals of serious and profound realms of thought and reflection. The question of existence of God is one of the few important questions that has to be confronted, since this question is related centrally to the aim of life.

Introductory Note

Does God exist?’ and ‘Can the existence of God be rationally proved?’— These questions have occupied the best minds of the East and the West through long ages of history. In India, we find in the different systems of philosophy, these questions and their answers. In the West, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been witnessed as gripped by these questions. In the Medieval history of Europe, we find St. Thomas Aquinas proving existence of God by means of what is ca/led the Ontological Argument. Three greatest philosophers of modern Europe, Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz formulated their own Ontological Arguments in the context of their own systems of philosophy Along with the Ontological Argument, the Cosmological Argument and Teleological Argument have flourished both in the East and the West Immanuel Kant criticized the Ontological Argument but supplied a new argument, the Moral Argument However after Kant’s refutation of the Ontological Argument, and particularly under the influence of the empiricist philosophy, the questions about the existence of God have become marginalized.

These questions are, however, extremely important. If God really exists, human life will be seen in a totally new light, and this has consequences for the way of life or the direction of life.

In the inspiring life of Swami Vivekananda, we find how as a college student, he was gripped by the question of God’s existence, and he was in search, not merely of intellectual proof of God but of experiential proof of God. That is why, when he met Sri Ramakrishna, he did not ask the question whether he believed in God or not, or whether he could provide any intellectual proof He simply asked the question: “Have you seen God?” and he was seized by Sri Ramakrishna, when the latter told him, “Yes. I see him more vividly than 1 see you.” Since that important encounter between Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna, many young people of India have entered into the debate regarding God’s existence and about the intellectual and experiential proof of God.

It is in this context that it seems worthwhile to present in a short monograph an account of the intellectual proofs of the existence of God, particularly as they have been formulated and discussed in the West. This monograph has, however also added a few pages which summarise the account of the Indian intellectual proofs of the existence of God. This monograph has devoted some space to the original statements of Descartes in regard to the Ontological Argument. The author of this monograph has also presented a critical essay on the Ontological Argument in the form in which it can be intellectually discussed in the contemporary cour5e in philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo, the greatest Indian philosopher of our time, has devoted four chapters in his ‘The Life Divine’ to the twofold approach to the problem of the existence of God,— rational and experiential, and since these four chapters present the most elaborate and intellectually robust statement of the problem of God’s existence and solution, all these four chapters have been placed in the Appendix.

It is not enough to prove the existence of God or that God is Self-Existence or Pure Existence, God is not mere essence, and as Plato had said long ago, the Supreme Good exceeds essence in both power and dignity. The Vedanta has also pointed out long before Plato that God exceeds essence or Pure Existence.

(Sat), both as Conscious Force (Cit), and Delight (Ananda). Sri Aurobindo dwells in these four chapters on the totality of the concept of God as the Pure Existent, Conscious Force and Delight.

Sri Aurobindo’s logic of rationality conceives a kind of its completeness in itself; just as one’s eye grasps the object of sight undeniably, yet it admits a room for the second eye in terms of empirical possession of the object, provided that impartiality (in the universe of discourse of ‘God) is not limited to sense-bound experience, but extends into supra-sensuous and superconscient experience. The double edge of the sharpness of integrality is luminously visible in these four chapters. Idealistic rationality has its own completeness in the field of ideation and its relationship with reality, and yet integrality of our being demands a greater completeness in terms of direct experience.

Sri Aurobindo has stated: “But our nature sees things through two eyes always, for it views them doubly as idea and as fact and therefore every concept is incomplete for us and to a part of our nature almost unreal until it becomes an experience. But the truths which are now in question are of an order not subject to our normal experience. They are, in their nature, “beyond the perception of the senses but seizable by the perception of the reason’ Therefore, some other faculty of experience is necessary by which the demand of our nature can be fulfilled and this can only come, since we are dealing with the supraphysical, by an extension of psychological experience.” (The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 18, p. 61) Idea time rationality demands undeniably the positing of the in finite Pure Existence, but integrality of our being demands, equally undeniably, possession of the in finite in intuition or knowledge by identity. This process ends in double certainty of God’s existence in thought and in actual possession in experience. These four chapters present this integrality, and in the history of thought, this presentation is not only novel but its intellectual perfection is so stimulating and satisfying that one could confidently invite any student, who contemplates on the existence of God, to study these four chapters. It is hoped that the readers of this monograph will find the treatment of the problem of the existence of God stimulating and rewarding.

Contents

Arguments for the Existence of God

Item Code:
NAC813
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2009
ISBN:
9788189490141
Size:
9.0 Inch X 6.0 Inch
Pages:
146
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 224 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
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Preface 9
Introductory note 15
A Speculative Theory of Religion: Its Data and Aim19
Proofs of the Existence god and of the Human Soul 51
Is the Ontological Argument for the existence of God successful 59
A synoptic Note on the Proofs of Existence of God 95
Appendix 1
Sri Aurobindo on the Pure Existent
103
Appendix 2
Sri Aurobindo on Conscious force
112
Appendix 3
Sri Aurobindo on delight of existence the problem
123
Appendix 4
Sri Aurobindo on Delight of Existence the solution
133
Arguments for the Existence of God

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Back of the Book

Many students, during their adolescence or as they emerge from adolescence to early years of Youth, pass through a period when all they have heard and learnt comes to be questioned. Often they find painfully the absence of a competent guide or mentor who can help them; even books that can be helpful are few, and these students are swayed by influences that tie them down to superficial levels of critical rationality. They are often asked to find proofs and evidence for what they think and feel, but not knowing what constitutes proofs or evidence, begin to flounder.

One of the important questions that is often asked at this stage is related to the existence of God. What is the proof that God exists? This question is often asked; but \ very few teachers or friends undertake any serious journey of critical inquiry with the students in regard to this question. This monograph is an attempt to serve these students and furnish to them some material of thought and reflection by the help of which they can be rescued from superficial thinking. They need to enter into the portals of serious and profound realms of thought and reflection.

The question of existence of God is one of the few important questions that has to be confronted, since this question is related centrally to the aim of Life

Preface

The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value- oriented education is enormous. There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humors, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual farniliarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students, The research teams at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAILER) have attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony. It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms illumination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, understood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, realization and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of service to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill. Harmony is a progressive state and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and stability with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be maximization of one or more elements of our nature. When illumination and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.

Many students, during their adolescence or as they emerge from adolescence to early years of youth, pass through a period when all they have heard and learnt comes to be questioned. Often they find painfully the absence of a competent guide or mentor who can help them; even books that can be helpful are few, and these students are swayed by influences that tie them down to superficial levels of critical rationality. They are often asked to find proofs and evidence for what they think and feel, but not knowing what constitutes proofs or evidence, begin to flounder. One of the important questions that is often asked at this stage is related to the existence of God. What is the proof that God exists? This question is often asked; but very few teachers or friends undertake any serious journey of critical inquiry with the students in regard to this question. This monograph is an attempt to serve these students and furnish to them some material of thought and reflection by the help of which they can be rescued from superficial thinking. They need to enter into the portals of serious and profound realms of thought and reflection. The question of existence of God is one of the few important questions that has to be confronted, since this question is related centrally to the aim of life.

Introductory Note

Does God exist?’ and ‘Can the existence of God be rationally proved?’— These questions have occupied the best minds of the East and the West through long ages of history. In India, we find in the different systems of philosophy, these questions and their answers. In the West, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have been witnessed as gripped by these questions. In the Medieval history of Europe, we find St. Thomas Aquinas proving existence of God by means of what is ca/led the Ontological Argument. Three greatest philosophers of modern Europe, Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz formulated their own Ontological Arguments in the context of their own systems of philosophy Along with the Ontological Argument, the Cosmological Argument and Teleological Argument have flourished both in the East and the West Immanuel Kant criticized the Ontological Argument but supplied a new argument, the Moral Argument However after Kant’s refutation of the Ontological Argument, and particularly under the influence of the empiricist philosophy, the questions about the existence of God have become marginalized.

These questions are, however, extremely important. If God really exists, human life will be seen in a totally new light, and this has consequences for the way of life or the direction of life.

In the inspiring life of Swami Vivekananda, we find how as a college student, he was gripped by the question of God’s existence, and he was in search, not merely of intellectual proof of God but of experiential proof of God. That is why, when he met Sri Ramakrishna, he did not ask the question whether he believed in God or not, or whether he could provide any intellectual proof He simply asked the question: “Have you seen God?” and he was seized by Sri Ramakrishna, when the latter told him, “Yes. I see him more vividly than 1 see you.” Since that important encounter between Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna, many young people of India have entered into the debate regarding God’s existence and about the intellectual and experiential proof of God.

It is in this context that it seems worthwhile to present in a short monograph an account of the intellectual proofs of the existence of God, particularly as they have been formulated and discussed in the West. This monograph has, however also added a few pages which summarise the account of the Indian intellectual proofs of the existence of God. This monograph has devoted some space to the original statements of Descartes in regard to the Ontological Argument. The author of this monograph has also presented a critical essay on the Ontological Argument in the form in which it can be intellectually discussed in the contemporary cour5e in philosophy.

Sri Aurobindo, the greatest Indian philosopher of our time, has devoted four chapters in his ‘The Life Divine’ to the twofold approach to the problem of the existence of God,— rational and experiential, and since these four chapters present the most elaborate and intellectually robust statement of the problem of God’s existence and solution, all these four chapters have been placed in the Appendix.

It is not enough to prove the existence of God or that God is Self-Existence or Pure Existence, God is not mere essence, and as Plato had said long ago, the Supreme Good exceeds essence in both power and dignity. The Vedanta has also pointed out long before Plato that God exceeds essence or Pure Existence.

(Sat), both as Conscious Force (Cit), and Delight (Ananda). Sri Aurobindo dwells in these four chapters on the totality of the concept of God as the Pure Existent, Conscious Force and Delight.

Sri Aurobindo’s logic of rationality conceives a kind of its completeness in itself; just as one’s eye grasps the object of sight undeniably, yet it admits a room for the second eye in terms of empirical possession of the object, provided that impartiality (in the universe of discourse of ‘God) is not limited to sense-bound experience, but extends into supra-sensuous and superconscient experience. The double edge of the sharpness of integrality is luminously visible in these four chapters. Idealistic rationality has its own completeness in the field of ideation and its relationship with reality, and yet integrality of our being demands a greater completeness in terms of direct experience.

Sri Aurobindo has stated: “But our nature sees things through two eyes always, for it views them doubly as idea and as fact and therefore every concept is incomplete for us and to a part of our nature almost unreal until it becomes an experience. But the truths which are now in question are of an order not subject to our normal experience. They are, in their nature, “beyond the perception of the senses but seizable by the perception of the reason’ Therefore, some other faculty of experience is necessary by which the demand of our nature can be fulfilled and this can only come, since we are dealing with the supraphysical, by an extension of psychological experience.” (The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 18, p. 61) Idea time rationality demands undeniably the positing of the in finite Pure Existence, but integrality of our being demands, equally undeniably, possession of the in finite in intuition or knowledge by identity. This process ends in double certainty of God’s existence in thought and in actual possession in experience. These four chapters present this integrality, and in the history of thought, this presentation is not only novel but its intellectual perfection is so stimulating and satisfying that one could confidently invite any student, who contemplates on the existence of God, to study these four chapters. It is hoped that the readers of this monograph will find the treatment of the problem of the existence of God stimulating and rewarding.

Contents

Post a Comment
Preface 9
Introductory note 15
A Speculative Theory of Religion: Its Data and Aim19
Proofs of the Existence god and of the Human Soul 51
Is the Ontological Argument for the existence of God successful 59
A synoptic Note on the Proofs of Existence of God 95
Appendix 1
Sri Aurobindo on the Pure Existent
103
Appendix 2
Sri Aurobindo on Conscious force
112
Appendix 3
Sri Aurobindo on delight of existence the problem
123
Appendix 4
Sri Aurobindo on Delight of Existence the solution
133
 
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