Believer: You say God is just a dream of humanity. But your own body may be a dream, the world may be a dream, the past may be a dream. The only thing you can be sure of is your mind, your own power of thinking. Starting from there, you will find God’s existence easier to demonstrate than your body, the world, and the past.
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Atheist: I am sure you’re mistaken. What do you mean by all this?
Believer: What I mean is simple. You can only get to understand the existence of God through your own power of thinking. By doing so, you will get “the idea of the existence of a supreme being that is perfect, through necessary existence” (Cottingham 88).
Atheist: What do you mean by “necessary existence and a supreme being that is perfect” (Cottingham 88)?
Believer: Well, take this example, there is no river that does not have a source and there is no forest that does not have animals. These examples illustrate “necessary existence” (Cottingham 88). In the same way, there must be a “perfect being that controls the whole world” (Cottingham 88). Secondly, you can agree with me that human beings are sinful and thus not perfect. However, the idea of perfection is evident in our minds. Since we ourselves are not perfect but we know well that there is such a thing as perfection then the existence of “a supreme being that is perfect cannot be doubted” (Hume 506).
Atheist: Well, you are talking about a perfect being. According to me, perfection means that one “has all needs and wants fulfilled” (Jastrow 94). Contrary to this, you believers argue that God “created the whole world” (Kenny 66). This to me means that God had a “need that He wanted to fulfill through creating the universe” (Robert 94). From this, then we can agree that if God exists, either He is “not perfect or He is not the creator of the whole world” (Robert 94). Can you dispute this?
Believer: I do agree that God created the entire world. However, I don’t agree that “He created the world out of a need or a want” (Kenny 66). God created the universe because of His “abundant love for human beings and nature” (Kenny 67). He wanted to share his love with human beings and nature. On the other hand, even if God did have a want to create the universe, this does not mean that He is not perfect. Actually, there is no correlation between having a want and perfection.
Atheist: Well, I don’t fully agree with what you say because I believe that God created the entire world deliberately and by creating something deliberately, I think there was a need that was pressuring Him to do so, hence He is not perfect.
Believer: You see, the “creation of the world could have been accidental” (Robert 94). If this was the case then, God did not seek to fulfill any need by creating the world.
Atheist: Now, there lies the point. The creation of the universe was a mistake. Do you think that if God was perfect, then He would have made this mistake?
Believer: Let’s stick to the point that God created the world out of His abundant love then.
Atheist: As much as I may agree to some extent that God created the world, I don’t agree that the world was created by a “perfect God” (Kenny 67). This is simply because the things we see in the world are not perfect. Due to this, I think that a perfect being cannot create imperfect things. Thus, I refute that God is perfect.
Believer: Well, here is a matter of the meaning of the word perfection. In this case, when you say that the world is not perfect, what does that imply? That the ocean, the stars and the moon are not perfect? There is no way that we can judge things as perfect or imperfect because we do not know what God had in mind while He was creating the world. At the same time, God would have created some things in the world being “the way they are just for fun” (Kenny 68). Thus, we cannot say that His creation is imperfect.
Atheist: So, don’t you think then that if God created some things being the way they are for fun, He created these things to fulfill His needs?
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Believer: I don’t agree with you. God could have created some things which “may look imperfect for us so as to create challenges” (Jastrow 95). These challenges would then lead human beings to acknowledge the fact that a supreme being exists because they could not be able to do anything to solve the challenge. Again, some of the “perfect creations of God have been made imperfect by the evil doings of men” (Jastrow 95).
Atheist: So you say that men are evil and you can agree with me that “the challenges that are brought about by imperfect creation cause suffering to the people” (Kenny 68). So how can a moral God create evil human beings and cause his creation to suffer?
Believer: You see, when God created human beings, he gave them the freedom to choose. Some of the choices lead to actions that are evil. Thus, God’s intention is not for men to be evil but men themselves choose to be evil. On the other hand, “God brings suffering to His people so that they can acknowledge His existence” (Jastrow 94).
Cottingham, John. Meditations on first philosophy: with selection from the objections and replies. Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1999.Print
Hume, David. An Enquiry: Concerning Human Understanding. Chicago: William Benton, 1952. Print
Jastrow, Robert. God and the Astronomers. New York: W.W. Norton, 1978. Print
Kenny, Anthony. Five ways. London: Routledge, 1969.Print