Does God Exist? Considering the Philosophy of Ernest Nagel from a First Person

Essay by desperati0nHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2006

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One burning and enduring problem in philosophy to which we have given considerable examination is the question of the existence of God--the superlative being that philosophers have defined and dealt with for centuries. After reading the classic arguments of St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas, the contentious assertions of Ernest Nagel, and the compelling eyewitness accounts of Julian of Norwich, I have been introduced to some of the most revered and referenced arguments for and against God's existence that have been put into text. All of them are well-thought and well-articulated arguments, but they have their holes. The question of God's true existence, therefore, is still not definitively answered and put to rest; the intensity of this debate probably never will mitigate. Many theologians and academics honestly admit that no matter what any philosopher may assert regarding this topic, whether or not a certain person believes in God's existence is a question of faith and nothing more.

I am naturally inclined, then, even after reading the heavyweight philosophers of religion, to ponder this pressing issue. After all, what one person may gather out of serious consideration of this problem could totally alter his or her life. Even though I have been raised in the Episcopal Christian faith and have attended church regularly, I have never really taken the time to scrutinize the very existence of a being I have been worshipping for my whole childhood. Reading the famed selections in this course has alerted my attention to the topic, and this major philosophical problem continues to eschew my understanding.

One would think that, because I have been raised a Christian and have been exposed to the doctrine and theory of Christianity, I would quickly lean toward the arguments for God and be more easily persuaded by them, hoping to...