Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic.
According to the sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
|show 5 more comments|
Assuming we all exist, think, know and interact with our actual surroundings etc.
The Ontological Proof
The first class of Divine Proof is the Ontological proof. It goes basically like this:
This doesn't really convince anyone of anything.
Many philosophers have spent a lot of time tweaking this proof, but in the end I don't think anyone else really cares about it.
The Cosmological Proof
First off, you could just say that there can be an infinite regress of events.
Secondly, in the current proof what can God tell you to do? Move? Not so powerful...
Two avoid the second problem, some have changed "move" to other powers and given those to God.
Alternatively, some focus on the fundamental nature of the proof which is that there exists a being external to the general rules of science. They will argue something like this:
This doesn't really get exactly the God we want, but it is better if you assume Morality/Rationality/etc. is eternally True independent of circumstances.
The Teleological Proof
It might not be. Everyone agrees this is not a strict proof. [BTW this is why people are so opposed to Darwin, not the textual issues from Genesis 1]
Err.. Find something REALLY REALLY complex.
There is no strict philosophical proof for God; however, there is no strict proof against the existence of God either. You need to evaluate the evidence and BELIEVE.
Sources: Philosophy classes and personal research on the subject.
|show 17 more comments|
To my knowledge, the only "argument" for the existence of God given in the Torah itself is that He directly revealed Himself to us at Sinai:
In other words, direct experience does not require philosophical proof.
Rabbi Jacob Emden expanded this argument into our own time, saying that, "When I consider these wonders [of the survival of the Jews in exile], they appear greater to me than all the miracles and wonders that God did for our ancestors in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and in the land of Israel."
All philosophical arguments for the existence of God made in traditional sources are only intended to reinforce this basic experiential knowledge that is the heritage of the Jewish people. While these arguments can serve to shore up our beliefs against challenges, many sources see these arguments as helping us acheive a more personal, immediate connection to God.
The most common such arguments found in Jewish works are:
In my personal opinion, the various philosophical arguments for the existence of God are mainly useful for countering Hume's arguments against miracles. Briefly stated, he argues that no testimony of a miracle should be believed unless the falsehood of the testimony would be more improbable than the miracle itself. It follows, therefore, that one's ability to accept the testimony of the Jewish people's historical experience of miracles has an inverse relationship with the degree to which you think miracles are improbable.
All of the classical arguments for the existence of God are, fundamentally, arguments that we can perceive an element of the supernatural in the natural world itself. Thus, each such argument makes the possibility of miracles more plausible. At some point, it becomes more likely that Sinai Revelation really occurred than that it was made up (which, per the Kuzari argument, is very unlikely). Once you reach that point, then you have the Sinai Revelation to rely on for everything else.
|show 9 more comments|
How does a Chasid know that G-d exists? He has Emunah.
How does a Litvak (a.k.a. Yeshivish Jew) know that G-d exists?
The Rambam says so, and the Raavad doesn't argue. :o)
|show 1 more comment|
I'm a terrible one for sources, however as far as I am aware there are four ways in which Judaism knows that Gd exists.
** Edit: It seems that the original midrash talks about man being better than spirit because of a wordplay, so I'm not sure where I heard this version from, but the basic concept is the same.
|show 7 more comments|
Some other proofs of G-d's existence (although a bit related to Avi's answer)
HASHGACHAH PRATIS (Divine providence) - Everyday stories from life; both from the lives of others (who one knows and trusts) and from one's own life. If a person pays close attention to what happens around him, he cannot help but note the Hand of G-d in so many events in our lives. There is no need to elaborate here.
PRAYER - If a person prays to G-d, he will see G-d answer him. That does not mean that every prayer is answered, but it does mean that if we turn to G-d regularly, we see totally unexpected turns of events that can only be attributed to prayer. This can be seen (sometimes even more vividly) with regard to the prayers of others as well. The prayer of a Tzibur (congregation) carries more weight that that of a Yachid (individual), and its effects are equally more evident.
PROPHECY - Even today, the power of prophecy can be seen when pondering the Torah's promises (can a nation exiled from its homeland and splintered into a dozen minor ethnic groups for 2,000 years, have the ability and resolve to return en masse to their homeland and become a universally recognized world power?). Perhaps closer to home, those who have had the merit and opportunity of meeting with the Tzadikim (righteous sages) of the generation know that even today, we can find shadows of "prophecy".
This category includes the infinite beauty of the Torah, which is evident to all who study it in depth.
source: translator's note at end of http://www.dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=398
There was a painter that did not believe in God. One day a fellow came to visit his house. After a while the painter had to leave, and he let the fellow remain in his house. When he returned the whole front room was repainted by the fellow. He said to him "Who painted the room?", the fellow responded "Unbelievable, while I was sitting on the couch all of a sudden a gust of wind blew in through the open window and it pried open the paint cans, and then the paint just splattered, and amazingly it repainted the entire room." The painter said "Your crazy, I am a painter and I know that it is impossible for such a thing to happen." The fellow said "Look, you feel such a thing is impossible, yet you believe that the world which is way way more complex was created on its own!".
|show 1 more comment|