What Is the Contingency Argument for God’s Existence – Dr. Joshua Rasmussen
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sonicwall salobre cats all welcome to another podcast of the green room. We're joined with a very special guest today, I'm going to introduce he's a professor of philosophy at sorry a research professor of philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. He specializes in analytic metaphysics, with interests in mind, with interests in mind and philosophy of religion. His name is Joshua Rossum son, how you doing?
I'm doing great. Thank you. Okay, pleasure to be with you. It's a very big pleasure. I mean, I've been reading your book, which I recommend for people to actually buy it's a it's a book called necessary existence, which, which covers some very pertinent important arguments for God's existence or the existence of unnecessary being.
Could you tell us just in brief of what this book is all about?
Okay, yeah. So that book necessary existence. That's about using the tools of philosophy, and reasoning, to argue as you put it for a necessary Foundation, or a thing that cannot not be and has the power to produce other things. And I just want to add here, my even more a more recent book, how reason can lead a god, I build on this argument for a necessary Foundation, and argue that this necessary foundation would also have a supreme nature would actually be God in a classical sense. So the book is divided into this one, which I'm familiar with, because I've pretty much read it is divided into about six chapters. So one of them is a traditional cause based contingency argument.
And then one of them realize, Oh, yeah, the rest of the arguments, five, five other arguments relies on modal logic. Is that about correct? Yeah, in the sense that there are arguments from possibility. So what's very interesting about those chapters is we show that we show independent reasons to think that it's just possible that there's this necessary foundation. And then using modal logic, the logic of possibility and necessity, we deduce that if that's possible, then there really is such such a thing. And then and then there's a usual path. But yeah, go ahead. Then there's a part of the of the of the book, which deals with kind of like, objection handling.
So I wanted to, I want to start off with the actual argument itself.
You mentioned that the argument can be made on kind of causal lines or planetary lines. What is, what is the argument in a nutshell? How would you explain it to maybe a lay audience? How do you prove the existence of unnecessary being? Yeah, so I think of it in terms of pathways and so on, I like to build pathways that start with people's own position. In fact, I have a website called necessary being calm. And this is just a survey site, it asks you your, about your beliefs, and it shows how to deduce a pathway from your beliefs to a necessary being Yes. Now in the one of the opening chapters, our opening argument gives a kind of classical pathway. And and this kind of
simple formulation of that goes like this. Yeah, so premise one, any contingent portion of reality, or any contingent thing or things is going to depend on something, it's going to be caused by something, or you know, it's not going to just exist on its own, there's gonna be something else that produces it, then the next premise would be something like, if every contingent portion of reality has a cause, or depends on something, then there's got to be some kind of non contingent or necessary portion of reality. And so therefore, there is a necessary or non contingent portion of reality. So that would be a simple formulation of the argument. And in terms of proving now that
this is something more than I want to go straight into objections, because I want to spend a bit of time with you. But someone could say, well, this is this is a mental construction. I mean, what you're talking about here is it's conceivable, possibly in the mind only is this correct? Or could this be something which is applicable to both? The so called real world around us, as well as as being a mental construction? Yeah, I know, I really appreciate this question, because it gets at this more basic question about like, how we can know anything. Yes. about anything, right. Yeah. Like we think that the thoughts that we have in our own minds, apply to the actual world outside our
minds, right? But if you start thinking about it, it you can sort of test this
by a principle of self defeat, I mean, so like, let's say that you say that well, reality is completely unknowable. And nothing you say about reality can be true. Well, is that true? Right? Is that true about reality? Right, right. And so that's self defeating because as soon as you say that you can't say anything about reality, you've just said something about reality. Yes.