Now I am a firm believer in the existence of God, but most of my friends are atheist (even though they are baptized Catholic and are preparing for confirmation this year) and I would like to know the best evidence for His existence.
I like the argument from contingency from Thomas Aquinas. Check out this video from bishop Barron https://youtu.be/bdjjqFSEJ_Y
I personally think that historical evidence is even better than philosophical. There’s plenty of evidence for the resurrection and for Jesus.
The fact that his disciples were ready to die for him.
The gospels and even the gnostic texts.
And many trustworthy people throughout history who have claimed that they saw Jesus, Marry or other saints.
(Just asking, your friends are preparing for confirmation and are atheists? Where’s the sense in that? )
That’s a can of worms that you don’t want to open.
I’m a big proponent of the cosmological arguments. However, unless you have a solid understanding of them and the foundational material yourself, I’d be careful about waving them about too forcefully. Simply quoting the short paragraphs for each of the Five Ways at the start of Aquinas’ Summa Theological leaves a lot to be desired for those not already familiar with the topic.
Yup, but don’t look too closely at yourself, or you may find the same thing.
Since Christianity is a theist religion, it is virtually impossible to argue the existence of God from a Catholic perspective. The existence of God is a prerequisite of Christianity. The Thomist arguments usually put forward rely on recursive logic which, in itself is a fallacy.
The theist argument is that existence may be permanent or it may be temporary. What exists permanently and unconditionally is defined as God and what exists temporarily is defined as the universe. Religion is all about what God is like and whether anything is required of us. The atheist argument is that existence can only be temporary: only the temporary universe exists and there is no permanent existence that theists define as God.
The fatal flaw in the atheist argument is that it cannot explain how an observably temporary universe could have come into existence without a permanent framework into which it could exist. Where was Big Bang when there was no “where” (space is a dimension of the universe)? When was Big Bang when there was no “when” (time is a dimension of the universe). Attempts to argue around this by invoking string theory and multiverses simply extend the universe in space and time and are a variation on the “Turtles all the way down” fallacy.
Whether this argument will convince diehard atheists is another matter. Not having to bother about God can be very convenient.
PS One of the Thomist proofs is that matter, left to its own devices, collapses into chaos. That is why, no matter how carefully I put them away, my microphone cables are invariably in a tangle when I come to use them. OK OK I believe - now I’m in a hurry, can you make the knots less complicated?
Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe had a beginning *science confirms)
Therefore the universe has a cause. (we call this uncaused cause God)
Philosophy and logic show God exists. Theology shows who He is.
They are going to get confirmed just to appease their grandparents. I keep telling them if they don’t believe in God or are gnostic of the existence of God they shouldn’t get confirmed, but they don’t listen. Once my religion teacher did a poll for the class, raise your hand if you believe God created you. It was only me and the Mormon girl that raised their hand. That really scared me.
Yeah, that’s really sad. What’s even the point in confirmation when they don’t believe?
Advise them not to be frauds. Encourage an earnest, thorough and open search for the truth.
Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Oftentimes faith can be hidden by doubt, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
So I say, let them be confirmed, and time will separate the wheat from the chaff.
There is none. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.
Aquinas is begging the question.
Well, it would be, given that philosophy doesn’t ever produce actual evidence.
There’s no evidence for the resurrection. There is evidence that the resurrection story was borrowed from earlier mythology/
Begging the question. No “facts” are in evidence.
Which are contradictory - as you might expect when fairy stories are passed down over decades of camp-fire recitals
There is some evidence that a bloke called Jesus existed. None at all that he was the son of god or worked any miracles or was resurrected.
Ultimately, if you want to make a truth claim about the existence of god, you need to be able to provide convincing evidence. Evidence that is proportionate to the claim being made.
The problem is that Christians claim that this God character, who is apparently male, created the world in seven days, hears all our thoughts and knows everything. There’s zero evidence for any of this (and if the claim is true, there really should be) and in fact, plenty of evidence against. What there is also evidence for - abundant and corroborating evidence - is that the universe was created from a singularity and all life evolved from single-celled organisms through natural selection of random mutations, over billions of years. The evidence is simply denied by those who wish it didn’t exist - and I suspect you’re one of them - but that doesn’t make it disappear.
I’m not trying to get you to change your mind, OP - I’m aware that’s incredibly unlikely to happen - but to let you know that you’re unlikely to succeed in your implied aim of converting your atheist friends to superstitious belief, simply by quoting Aquinas etc.
I would say the evidence of the existence of G-d by theists is strongly based on the initial premise that G-d exists and then finding evidence to support that premise. That evidence is often contained in the holy writings of the particular religion as well as the religion’s traditions, so that the nature of the G-d in question would of course correspond to what the religion states. This is why I always say that the theist’s best argument for the existence of G-d is one’s own faith and one’s inner, spiritual voice that tells them so, not historical evidence, because it is often tainted, and not philosophical evidence, because it generally presupposes G-d’s existence as a starting point.
I like the argument from morality. In a nutshell, if there is no God, if you and I are only matter whose ultimate fate is cosmic dust, then there is no basis for morality. There is no difference between crushing a rock and killing a person, in the big picture. So if a person is willing to admit morality, a person should admit God exists.
That’s just correct. There’s no valid foundation for the belief in evil, outside of religious faith. It’s an odd argument but I find it impenetrable, so who cares if it’s odd.
Aquinas does beg the question, as was mentioned. That doesn’t mean Aquinas is wrong, and he isn’t, but it is begging the question.
I mentioned in another thread that the argument for the Resurrection of Christ being nonfiction is strong because the alternative theory with the most believability imo is a suicide pact between Jesus of Nazareth, John the Baptist, Judas, and all the Apostles including Paul, at a minimum, if not also Stephen and other of “the seventy” mentioned in the Gospels. Do you believe that, or do you believe that the Lord Jesus is risen from the dead? For me it’s reasonable to be a Christian.