Introducing the philosophy of religion
Introducing the philosophy of religion

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Introducing the philosophy of religion

Better arguments for and against God’s existence

Here are four more answers that you might have given to the question ‘What is my main reason for my current view about whether God exists or not?’. They are more satisfactory than the first four because they involve trying to find some evidence for our beliefs about God’s existence or non-existence.

Better arguments for and against God’s existence

Theist Atheist Agnostic
(5) Personal experience shows that there is a God. Personal experience shows that there is no God. Personal experience shows neither that there is a God nor that there isn’t.
(6) History shows that there is a God. History shows that there is no God. History shows neither that there is a God nor that there isn’t.
(7) The way the world is shows that there is a God. The way the world is shows that there is no God. The way the world is shows neither that there is a God nor that there isn’t.
(8) The nature of the idea of God shows that there is a God. The nature of the idea of God shows that there is no God. The nature of the idea of God shows neither that there is a God nor that there isn’t.

Activity 7

By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.

Click on 'SIGN IN to enrol' to get started.

You can find out more about registering and OpenLearn in our FAQs.

Now try to put yourself in other people’s philosophical shoes. If you are an atheist, think your own position through first – and then try to imagine how the arguments look from a theist’s or an agnostic’s point of view. If you are a theist or an agnostic, do the same: when you have thought through your own position, try to work out how other people might argue differently.

Theists have offered arguments – and atheists and agnostics have offered counter-arguments – under all four of the headings above:

  • Plenty of theists have argued (5) that they know God exists because they have personally experienced God.
  • Most of the world’s major religions claim (6) that we can know God exists because God has intervened at one point or another in human history.
  • Most religions also argue (7) that we can know that God exists because we can know that God made the world (i.e. the whole universe).
  • Finally (8) many theists have defended the argument that God’s existence is something we can know about just by reflecting on the very idea or concept of God.

In the remainder of this course, we will consider arguments that appeal to ‘The way the world is’ (7).

A222_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus