George Berkeley’s Argument and Proof on God’s Existence

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 31 December 2016

George Berkeley’s Argument and Proof on God’s Existence

Questioning about the eternal mystery about the existence of one Supreme Being may appear to be one of the most controversial topics to discuss. Wherever one goes in the world, people would always tend to take this issue of a God as a very sensitive and insightful issue to debate about. With this perceived controversy about the existence of God, a lot of philosophers have dared explore and expound on the topic better. Some of them presented positively appealing views; however there were also some who chose to present a rather contradicting and appalling statement about the reality of one Supreme God.

And in dealing about this topic, one of the most surprising and rather intriguing arguments is from George Berkeley. Unlike any other, his claim appeared to be surprising as he argues that religion and science are not always two contradicting fields, thus, the ideas of God’s existence and science can indeed support each other. God and Science: Idealism and Representationalism More often than not, people have always encountered conflicting claims from religion and the fields of science. This may be brought by the conflicting bases of belief which the two fields have.

Religion as the more mystic and supernatural field would tend to base its creed on beliefs established by tradition, time and holy scriptures, while science on the other hand would tend to base its conclusions on hard, cold facts. However, one interesting claim and argument is presented by the great mind, George Berkeley who disputed that science can also be compatible and supportive of the idea about the existence of one God (Berkeley Reading, 2009). He argues that the representationalist minds of men are the factors which make them skeptical about ideas such as a Supreme Being.

This is because representationalism promotes the belief in things which can be supported and explained by material things. And this is the idea which Berkeley chose to debunk. He argues that, people can only avoid skepticism if only they will choose not to base things on material facts, because not all ideas and concepts are actually explained by these material bases. This is his explanation of Idealism and this is his first basis about his claim that a Supreme God indeed exist. Moreover, Berkeley insists that “the existence of God is far more evidently perceived than the existence of men” (Priest, 2007).

Thus this implies that as people try harder to explain God existence than men’s existence it can be said that God appears to have a more significant reality and existence than men. As more people try to explain God as a supreme being, the more that the idea proves to be stronger. Berkeley believes this argument since he supports the claim that the belief in God’s existence is the product of all men’s ideas, as compared to the belief in men’s existence which is but an inference of one’s ideas. Therefore this logic implies that the evidence of God’s existence if far greater that the evidence of men’s existence (Priest, 2007).

And this is another strong point of Berkeley’s argument about God’s reality. George Berkeley like Rene Descartes is a fan of science which is innately a material fact-dependent field. This is the reason why it appears rather surprising how he can explain such a supernatural concept with supporting ideas from science. It is also surprising and very puzzling how Berkeley can argue that matter is not always the basis of the explanation about the existence of things. And this is because he rather believes in the idea of “sensible things” than of “matter.

” This also shows that Berkeley believes more on ideas over matter. However, he still relies on matter as basis of explanation since it can explain the existence of material things. And since God is immaterial, it supports his claim that God, indeed, cannot be explained materially like any other things people perceive as material. In several ways, this claim of Berkeley also shows that he supports the idea that not all things are material; that there are things which will not be ‘visible’ but rather be ‘sensible’.

Thus for Berkeley, reality does not just stand on solid material bases but also on strong sensible perceptions. Assessment of Berkeley’s Claims In many ways, George Berkeley’s ways may appear puzzling and incomprehensible in some parts. This is quite understandable since people have been used to the notion that science is just based from real, concrete facts. Unlike science, religion and belief in supernatural forces has always based its creed on invisible, immaterial and rather intangible forces.

But although science and religion appear to repel each other’s ideas and views, Berkeley was still able to merge these two fields in explaining his own perception on the existence of God. Berkeley’s effort of expounding on the idea of God’s existence roots from his need of having something that explains order and regularity in the world (Yuksel, 2005). Berkeley himself believes that aside from the material things and forces, there is one intangible and invisible idea whose existence is far stronger and greater than any other material force’s existence.

Thus, since this inference is based on a personal need, it also appears that Berkeley actually based his claims on what he chose to believe in; that since he needed an explanation on the seemingly invisible force which promotes order in the world, he rather chose to explain it as God. It is undeniable that his differentiation of materiality and sensibility has been a struggle. Up to now, there are still some aspects of this claim which appears like a blur. One man previously challenged this claim by asking that, if Berkeley closes his eyes and he cannot see, does he also closes an idea or does he eliminates a material thing (Yuksel, 2005)?

This challenges Berkeley’s argument that materiality is not always the sole bases fro truth, rather there is also sensibility. Although in many ways, Berkeley’s arguments may really seem puzzling and confusing, it also appears that he delivered his ideas in such a very systematic and well expounded way. Truly, people have their choice as to whether or not to believe in one Supreme Being. People also have the liberation as to how to perceive this Supreme God. And in this context, Berkeley also has his own way.

It just so happened that the bases he chose are two of the most repelling and contradicting ideas in the world of humankind. Thus, it is understandable why his argument remains intriguing and puzzling in many ways.

References

“File Uploaded. ” (2009). Berkeley Reading. Priest, S. (2007). The British Empiricist. New York: Routledge. Yuksel, E. (2005). “Descartes vs. Berkeley: On the Two Corners of the Triangle. ” The Islamic Reformer. Yuksel. org. Retrieved March 18, 2009 from http://www. yuksel. org/e/philosophy/triangle. htm

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 31 December 2016

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