One of the simplest arguments for the JCI God
. I know not from whence it came.
- The Holy Book sez that God exists.
- Therefore, God exists.
This is often used as a simple example of begging the question. The full explanation of the argument is something like this:
"How do we know that the Holy Book is right?"
- The book is not just any book, it is Holy.
What makes it holy?
- It was given to us by God.
How do you know that God gave it to us?
- The Holy Book tells us so
You can see the problem. It's circular reasoning
So -- on to Argument from Design, Argument From Contingency, or maybe the First cause argument.
I have been accused of putting up a straw man in my further expansion of the argument. I don't think that it is a straw man, as it does put down (in very, very simple terms) exactly what I have heard many people say in their attemps to prove God's existence. On the other hand, it's not the best argument I've heard. So...
The Better Argument from the Holy Book:
- As far as we are able to test, the Bible has a high accuracy rate.
That is, the historical facts are accurate
- If a source is known to give us good information on the matters we can test, it is reasonable to trust it's word on matters that we cannot test.
See Bayes' Theorem for more on this.
- We have not yet found a way to prove one way or the other that God exists, so our best bet is to rely on a good authority.
- The best authority we have is the Bible.
- The Bible sez that God exists.
- Therefore, God exists
This is much, much better, but still lacking. While the Bible has proven to be right on some historical details, it appears to have been wrong on others (Noah's flood
There is also the problem of whether a source that is reliable on the subject of mundane claims (who lived where when) can be considered just as reliable in the area of miracles. Many works of fiction have real-world settings -- this isn't sufficient to make them trusted histories, although they may be useful for getting a feeling of a time or place.
This argument fails to convince me, but it should be noted that 'The Better Argument from the Holy Book' is a good (and possibly even sound) argument. The original argument is not. Begging the question is not a valid argument form.