Main Index

Longer Articles:


Anselm's Explanation of the Trinity
How can the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each be God, but not be each other? This is Archbishop Anselm's explanation - the best I've heard so far.

Anselm at Starbucks
A new look at Anselm's argument for the existence of God.

The Divine Inferno
Why the existance of Hell is a demonstration of God's mercy.

1000 Easter Balloons
What if, on Easter Sunday morning, after services, every church in town released yellow balloons?

Scary Meditation
What is the difference between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation?

The Golfer of the Gaps
Have you heard that our God is a "God of the Gaps," only invoked to explain increasingly small gaps in science? Here's that logic applied to golf.

Esther's Japanese Origins
Using the approved "wild extrapolation" method, I've conclusively shown that the Biblical Book of Esther is of Japanese origin.

But I Was Born That Way
When people use this excuse, why do we keep trying to talk them out of it?

Digital Reality
Is reality digital? I couldn't care less, but if it is, maybe that's one point for the theistic view.

Church Economics
It's kind of fun to see companies becoming successful using the kind of financing churches have used for ages.

Legislating Morality
You can't legislate morality! Really? If you can't legislate morality, what can you legislate?

Paganism in Christmas and Easter?
A writer thought I ought to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter. It had pagan origins, he said. So what, I replied.

Shooting the Wounded
In which I launch a diatribe against a phrase I find particularly shallow and offensive.

Evolving Computers
What computers do - or don't - show us about evolution.

Are All Religions the Same?
A Buddhist's view.

Anselm at Starbucks

I had always heard Anselm's argument for the existance of God in a way that was unconvincing. Then I actually read what Anselm wrote. He makes a better case than I imagined, and is actually quite enjoyable to read, but in his proof he uses some sentence-long hyphenated strings of words that are rather difficult to follow. So here, I've reworked Anselm's argument (from his book Proslogion) as a dialog between Andy and his friend Tim, who are, as we walk in, sipping lattes at Starbucks.

"Okay, let's take a different approach," Andy said, after he and Tim had talked for an hour or so about whether God exists. "What," he asked, "is the greatest thing you can imagine?"

"The universe. The universe is all there is."

"Tim, I'm not asking what you believe is the greatest thing. I'm asking what you can imagine is the greatest thing."

"Okay, okay. I know where you are going with this. A god who created everything and knows everything and is the source of everything and never had any beginning and all that stuff is the greatest thing I can imagine. But - and this is a big 'but' buddy - just because I can imagine it doesn't mean it exists. There are lots of things I can imagine that don't exist."

"True, there are lots of things we can imagine that don't exist, but imagining giraffes with elephant noses doesn't involve us in a logical contradiction."

"What logical contradiction?"

"Well, you said the greatest thing you could imagine is this all-powerful, eternal being. And then you said that it only exists in your imagination, right?"

"Yeah. So?"

"Because if this thing - if God - only exists in your head, then it isn't the greatest thing you can imagine. If God also exists in reality, that is far greater than just existing in your mind."

"Hmm. Very clever, Andy. So, the only way to escape the contradiction is to say that the greatest thing exists not only as an idea, but also in reality. Well, I don't know, Andy, I'm going to have to think about that one."

© Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard