Ontological Argument

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Anselm’s Error: A Ladder
« on: February 02, 2021, 08:52:51 am »
It seems that Anselm (and others attempting the ontological argument) was merely codifying the error of all the churches, where men presume their minds to be unlimited, in this case fit to define the Creator. The proof can never work, but to understand why requires an ability to think at least a little realistically about what God is and does. In general the error is to presume words such as “infinite,” “omniscient,” and “omnipotent” have said something meaningful, when the mind which uses the word lacks sufficient concept-ground. In general it becomes a word game where a presumption is made that it is enough merely to point to the horizon, not to actually travel there. It is not enough to say you have spoken meaningfully of the infinite when the only motion in the mind is “no limits.” Taking the limits off doesn’t point to reality, for you don’t see what is beyond them.

To understand why quickly one may use the analogy of hamsters. Let us suppose there is an Anselm-hamster who asserts, “I have thought of the Greatest Conceivable Being. Furthermore there is a contradiction if he does not exist, since to be real is greater than merely to be imagined.” Well, what is that hamster really thinking about? Of course he is thinking of some mighty expanded hamster, extra good at the wheel and perhaps filling all the space in his cage! This being also thinks hamsterly thoughts. He hasn’t learned to keep his cage clean or to pick up his own droppings. And he still depends on a human to bring food, expecting this to magically appear or else he’d just gnaw at the bars on his cage.

To see that man is in a similar relation to God, it is necessary to accept that God does real things, such as building planets and biospheres, as well the myriad activities Christians might admit belong to the Holy Spirit, as they accept this power of God dwells in all their minds at once. Hearing about this a foolish one says without thinking, “Yes, I know what that is, I can understand,” thus demonstrating the fundamental human flaw of failing to see the limits of his own mind. A man who knows his limits can begin to think about the limitless, but a man who thinks his own mind is limitless can be shown to be thinking of nothing real, as he claims to think about God.

In general if God matched the greatest conceptions of any man or even any angel, that God would be totally incompetent and the creation would instantly cave in on itself. Another way to say this is that the creatures can at most begin to grasp the toenail of God, having little idea about the rest, perhaps the way a hamster thinks of humans it sees outside its cage as certainly some strange form of hamster. If the hamster’s Greatest Conceivable Being were put in charge of bringing its food, then all hamsters would starve. Hamsters can’t do that, and humans can’t understand what God does, in quadrillions of places at once, His memories associated with any individual human enough to stagger all the computer systems in the world.

The mind of man cannot measure God, and the man who could see this is more than a man, since men by definition are self-enclosed, believing themselves indomitable. Who can form a more accurate conception of God, to see He is the Being too Great to be Conceived, not the Greatest Conceivable Being? Theology before now has been an attempt to control God, not to know God. And this word they use, “God,” is not like the Living God at all. It is not a given that a creature can think of the Creator, but an eternal chore, for God ever recedes before all who approach Him, gradually seeing there is no end.