Surely this defence of the Ontological Argument can be disproved via these points?

Now, the Ontological Argument is controversial (still; after all these years!) However, some leap to defend it. I am not here to prove or disprove how valid it is. But surely this following defence of it is wrong, based upon the reasons I shall give… On the Ontological Argument, Peter Kreeft said 'Consider the following common objection. The idea of God can easily arise like this: we notice degrees of perfection among finite beings—some are more perfect (or less imperfect) than others. And to reach the idea of God, we just project the scale upward and outward to infinity. Thus there seems to be no need for an actually existing God to account for the existence of the idea. All we need is the experience of things varying in degrees of perfection, and a mind capable of thinking away perceived limitations.

But is that really enough? How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such? And how can we recognize it as such unless we already have some notion of infinite perfection? To recognize things as imperfect or finite involves the possession of a standard in thought that makes the recognition possible.’

But surely this can be contested?

1.‘How can we think away limitation or imperfection unless we first recognize it as such?’ We can recognise the goodness in objects (the beauty of a creature) whilst seeing the negative (the creature that is beatiful is poisonous to touch)…As imaginative animals, surely we then desire that the negative didn’t exist and that experiencing that ‘goodness’ never reached a halting point where there is a negation of it? It’s practical that we should want an utter good. We therefore desire a good ‘not to be had’ because every good, even seemingly perfected as an object, eventually we tire of and therefore is not ‘perfect’ and that is percieved as a negation?
2.I can imagine ANYTHING has an infinite degree. I can concieve of the idea of infinite horror, disgust…and, likewise, as I can imagine a Plato-like world where every object and idea is perfected boundlessly, I can imagine terrible things like disfigurement or pain having endlessly horrid qualities. These are not ‘of God’ and the Devil (surely- as He is far less than God) is not infinite. Therefore, one must assume one CAN imagine an infinite without that infinite existing.
It is true that I cannot actually picture the infinite torment of which I speak as an image. But, you know, the same can be said of infinite goodness.

This would be the Christian Science argument. Evil does
not exist except as an error in thought. But then the
question becomes: would evil exist if man didn’t?

I think you’re right. The argument seems to be proceeding from relativism to absolutism, which seems to me to be lacking understanding.

“De gustibus non est disputandum”. There’s no arguing tastes. Two person’s ideas of beauty (or morals) can go off in opposite directions.

Actually I believe that either there is a supreme external absolute lawgiver, or moral nihilism is the order of the day. For who could argue that they are morally correct if morals are relative to feelings or one’s willed choices. One always has to appeal to a higher set of moral values. If those higher sets just reside in one’s gut, then why is your gut more important than anyone else’s?


The average layperson (you and I) cannot picture either the infinite torment or goodness of which you speak.

But there are Catholics who can picture the goodness. Some of them are Saints and Doctors of the Church, and we can learn from what they teach.

Looking at it appears that it has been said about “The Argument from the Origin of the Idea of God” and not “The Ontological Argument”…

I don’t think simply stating that you can imagine something infinite is a good objection. After all, that is also the premise of this argument. And the argument is supposed to show that you can only imagine something infinite because something infinite actually exists.

Good point.
But we do KNOW that the infinite (as a concept mathematically and by observing the endless structure of the Universe) exists, regardless of an infinite God. The idea itself is not good proof (much as I admire and like Peter Kreeft!)

I would agree that mathematics has the concept of (three magnitudes of) infinity, but I would dispute that any scientist of record would claim that the structure of the universe is infinite.

Modern physicists are pretty much in complete agreement that space expands as matter moves into it, and that spacetime is curved, such that if you went in one “straight direction” for long enough, you would wind up where you started (such as if you went in one “straight” direction on our own Earth).

In fact, modern physicists say that, if you and I were looking at each other face-to-face, but somebody placed a black hole between us (a singularity with infinite curvature in spacetime, and disregarding the obvious destructive effect), we would (eventually) be seeing the back of each other’s head.

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