One of the most interesting passages – among so many interesting passages – in Ian Robinson’s writings comes at the end of his book Holding the Centre. He writes:
“After about two decades of intermittent struggle and a not badly received talk to a serious philosophical society on the subject of the ontological argument for the existence of God, I am unable to venture over the verge… To deny that there is judgement is foolish because the statement is itself an attempt at judgment. I would dearly love to be able to show that the insipiens who twice in The Psalms says in his heart there is no God is trying with Derrida to make the sense that there is no sense… I believe we make sense…Can anyone take it any further?”
I don’t think I can take this any further, but i can point to contributions by at least three philosophers which just might.
In An Essay on Metaphysics R.G. Collingwood says:
“If Gaunilo was right when he argued that Anselm’s ontological proof of the existence of God proved the existence of God only to a person who already believed it, Anselm replied that he did not care… Anselm regarded the fool who ‘hath said in his heart, There is no God’ as a fool not because he was blind to the actual existence of un nomme Dieu but because he did not know that the presupposition, ‘God exists’ was a presupposition he himself made.”
In God, Religion & Reality Stephen R.L. Clark writes:
“If rational discourse is only possible in a God-directed universe, it follows that rational atheists must actually rely upon the truth of theism even to argue against it…. God does not belong to the class of existing things, not that he has no existence, but that he is above all existing things, even above existence itself. Any existing God would be less than God. An existent God would be an idol or a demon.
!”A world in which literally anything could happen, for no intelligible reason, is not intelligible at all. If the truth is such as to be intelligible, there must be a reason why it is whatever it is. So either there is something that exists (and never needed to come into existence) because of what it is, or there is no explanation at all for anything.”
In The Experience of God, David Bentley Hart says:
“It simply does not matter very much is some god named ‘God’ might happen to exist, even if he should prove to be the unsurpassable and unique instantiation of the concept ‘god,’ as that fact casts no no real light on the enigma of existence as such. Even if this demiurge really existed, he would still be just one more being out there whose existence would be in need of explanation: one would still have to look past him and his marvellous works in order to contemplate what is truly ultimate: the original source of being upon which he and the world must both be dependent.””
“Whenever Aquinas spoke of the ‘first cause’ of beings, he was referring to an ontological not a chronological priority.”
I wonder if Robinson thinks this takes the matter any further? And I wonder what others might think?