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Arguments for the existence of God

Arguments for the existence of God that have been made over the years include: Many people maintain that they have directly experienced the presence of God in their lives. For example, some attribute to God some intense emotions experienced, or striking insights gained, in response to prayer or worship. And some attribute the manner in which events in their lives have unfolded, or fortuitous coincidences in their lives, to the influence of God. However, atheists also experience intense emotional experiences, fortuitous coincidences, and striking insights, though generally not in response to prayer or worship.

The theological standing of arguments for the existence of God is also subject to some debate among believers. Within the Christian tradition there are two sharply opposed viewpoints. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, following the Thomist tradition of St Thomas Aquinas, affirms that it is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that God's existence can in fact be rationally demonstrated. Other Christians in different denominations hold similar views. On the other hand, some believers hold a contrary position. These believers note that the Christian faith teaches salvation is by faith, and that faith is reliance upon the faithfulness of God, which has little to do with the believer's ability to comprehend that in which he trusts. In other words, if Christian theology is true, then God's existence can never be demonstrated, either by empirical means or by philosophical argument. The most extreme example of this position is called fideism, which holds that faith is simply the will to believe, and argues that if God's existence were rationally demonstrable, faith in His existence would become superfluous.

There are also several arguments against the existence of God. The most common one is the problem of evil.

See also: philosophy of religion, metaphysics, apologetics

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