Proving It Isn't Believing It
The question of whether God exists is an issue that has been debated by scholars, scientists, and philosophers for centuries. In his Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes ultimately attempts to prove God in fact does exist. By dismissing everything he has learned from the beginning of his life and rebuilding his belief structure through science and reason, Descartes is able to build groundwork to base his own arguments upon and refute non-believers. Likewise, he constructs all his arguments on the idea that a perfect being is present in the universe. If Descartes cannot confirm the existence of God, then all his ideas and conclusions can be criticized and disproven.
The proof of God's existence is imperative to Descartes' Meditations. He tells us, "I should at the first opportunity inquire whether there is a God... For if I am ignorant of this, it appears I am never capable of being completely certain about anything else," (P 71).
If Descartes cannot prove that God exists, he cannot be sure of anything. His idea that he exists is no longer clear and distinct. Descartes is insinuating that if God does not exist, then we may not truly exist and cannot declare any of our thoughts, beliefs, or desires to be true.
Similarly, Descartes' testimony for the existence of God is extremely methodical and prudent. He begins by saying, ". . . never accept anything as true that I did not plainly know to be such . . . Include nothing more in my judgments than what presented itself to my mind so clearly and so distinctly that I had no occasion to call it in doubt, " (P 11). By doubting everything Descartes ensures that he will not be deluded by any...