As promised, I am posting the discussion questions and my answers to them. There are two units, the first is regarding the concept of religion. The second is regarding the concept of god. So, here ya go... enjoy! :-P
(I apologize for the formatting on discussion 9, msword doesn't transfer over here very nicely!)
Discussion 9- What is religion?
1. Explain the difference between agnosticism and atheism.
An agnostic believes that it is possible that god may exist, but there has not been sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the existence of god. An atheist believes there is no god.
2. Explain and evaluate your concept of "religion" by answering the four questions posed by Streng (summarized in the yellow box on page 359).
3. Explain Feuerbach’s argument. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Feuerbach felt that god was the projection of man’s dream. He stated that people were not created in god’s image, but that god was created in man’s image. That people endowed god with the most desired emotions and values and then perfected them. In this creation, humankind found god. Feuerbach hoped that he could show people this was just a projection of what they desired god to be. He felt that if he could liberate people from this way of thinking, that they would turn their love and devotion to all humankind. Feuerbach goes on the question why has man created this ultimate goodness? He feels it is so that man can be free from himself to transcend himself and soar to the realm of ultimate goodness. I think this is a good argument because there is no scientific proof to support the existence of any form of god. So, if people have created this character in their own image, endowing him with perfect values and emotions, then they have something to emulate in their own lives, something to work towards.
4. Explain Nishitani's argument. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Nishitani felt that religion is what helped man to find the meaning of life, and the place he falls in that meaning. He felt that man could not answer these questions without the help of religion, or more specifically, by going on a religious quest, to find the answers specifically for each person. I do not agree with this argument because I do not feel religion is necessary for a person to find his or her own place in life, or to find meaning for his or her own life. I think that we as individuals are able to find those answers without involving the concept of religion.
5. Using the principles of logic that you have learned, are Feuerbach’s and Nishitani's arguments good arguments and why or why not?
I do think they are both well-formed arguments, however I do not feel that every person needs to follow the concept of religion, regardless of what form that concept takes.
Discussion 10- Does god exist?
Explain the Problem of Evil. What does Hick say in response to this problem?
The problem with evil states that if god exists and is all powerful and is all good, then how can evil exist. Hick says the problem with evil is only a problem for those who believe in a god that is both omnipotent and wholly good. According to Hick, we have to determine that either god is not all good or not all powerful in order to explain why evil exists.
Explain the Ontological argument and state one problem with it.
The main problem with this argument is that it states that everything must have a cause, and that there must be something that was a first cause to begin the cycle, and therefore god must be the first cause. The premise contradicts the conclusion. If every event must have a cause, then what event caused god?
Explain the Cosmological argument. Do you think that there must be a first cause or is it possible that there is no 'beginning'? Why?
The Cosmological argument follows that our universe is the model. First, everything in the world that moves had to, at one point in time, be moved. Since one thing has to move another thing, where is the original ‘mover’ of all things? The only logical answer would be that god is the original mover of things. Second is the cause and effect relationship. Since every effect has a cause, there has to be an original cause to set of effects, and the only logical answer would be that god set off the first effect.
I personally do not think there must be a ‘first cause’ and I do feel it is possible there is no beginning as believed by most Christians. I believe in the big bang theory, and in evolution. I believe science has provided enough supporting evidence that this is where our universe began.
Explain the Argument from Design and state one problem with it.
The argument from states that the world and universe was created by an omnipotent being. The problem with this argument is that it does not consider evolution. Another problem is that if an omnipotent being created our world, then why didn’t he/she create a world that was in perfect harmony, rather than one in which people are in constant chaos?
Explain the Argument from Morality. Do you believe that the existence of this deeply felt moral sense supports belief in the existence of a supremely moral mind -God? Why or Why not?
The argument from morality states that people get their morality from god; otherwise we would not have the moral principles which we so strongly feel is right. I agree with Kant who states that morality is grounded mainly in our ability to reason. I do not think that god gave us a moral code to follow, I think that humans are able to decipher right from wrong innately.
Using the principles of logic that you have learned, are any of these arguments for the existence of God good arguments? If so, which one(s) and why or why not?
Using the principles of logic that I have learned, I have decided no, none of these arguments are good arguments for the existence of god. I feel each argument asks us to take some premise on faith rather than providing factual evidence of the truth of the premise. I think they could be valid arguments because of the way they are stated, but that does not mean they are factual arguments. I feel that there is no factual evidence in support of the existence of god; however I do feel there is evidence against the existence of a supreme being. Our examples in nature, the fossil record, and all that we have learned from exploring the cosmos leads me to believe that our world was created through the big bang theory, and all life on our planet came to be through evolution.
ALL COMMENTS WELCOME AND APPRECIATED!