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The Godsmen

Movers and Shakers

Main Godsmen Page

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Proof by Ontology

While the Athar and the Believers of the Source are often as thick as thieves, they're far from agreeing on everything. Take Ontological Believers, for example. They're a vocal section of the Believers, who disapprove of the Athar's denial that the powers are divine, led by Anselm (Planar / aasimar male / priest (Brihaspati) 3 / Believers / LG). This bunch of cutters reckon they've proved that the powers really are divine, using logic. Here's their argument:

"We say that the gods are the greatest objects of thought. Now, we say that if something doesn't exist, something exactly like it, if it did exist, just by virtue of existing would be greater. So, if the powers weren't gods, we could imagine something greater, namely powers which were gods. Since we can conceive of these greater gods, they must themselves exist, otherwise even greater ones would. So the powers are divine."

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"What's so great about existence?"

- Gaunilo, a Dustman, responding to Anselm

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This argument might be circular, but then it's only obeying the unity of rings. Of course, it's rubbished by the Athar. Their main philosophical objections to the ontological argument are that knowledge of the essence of the divine is inaccessible to mortal reason, which relies instead on sense experience. Secondly, to argue from the idea of divinity to its existence is wrong, because it's a jump from concepts to existence -- from idea to fact. Finally, the Athar say, the whole point of religion is that mortals have got to have faith for it to be of any purpose. Proving the existence of divinity by logic alone ain't faith at all!
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- Kant, a guvner, responding to both Anselm and his critic Gaunilo

"Neither of these otherwise-to-be-respected gentlemen has it correct.
Anselm is in error because existence is not a predicate.
And Gaunilo has it wrong because Anselm's argument is about being, not greatness."

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The debate continues...
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Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter

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