Belief in God a basic belief
From the most ancient known history of mankind, as well as from the oldest relics of antiquity that we have been able to obtain, it appears that in every age man had recognized some form of deity. Even in the present age, every nation on the face of the earth, from the most primitive to the most civilized, does believe in and worship some deity. Many philosophers argue that the idea of having a deity and of worshipping him is ingrained in human nature. Such philosophers contend that there is something within a man’s soul which forces him to do so.
For many a philosopher, the belief in God has its origins in the very nature of man. Man is not self-sufficient and his powers are limited. He is weak, frail and helpless in front of the powers of nature.
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It is this sense of vulnerability and powerlessness which has compelled philosophers to seek the assistance of a superior being. By worshipping and seeking the pleasure of such a supreme being, human beings can conquer their fears and suppress their apprehensions.
“The craving for religious faith being largely an outcome of fear” (Russell, 1975, p. 43). It is in the realm of morality and ethics that philosophers have found religion and belief in God the most indispensable. Such philosophers are of the view that the moral and ethical structure in existence would fall down if this belief is eliminated. Thus, in this regard, Bertrand Russell contends that “if people solve their social problems Religion will die out” (Russell, 1975, p. 136).
Being a classical proponent of natural theology, Thomas Aquinas believed that the existence of God is neither self-evident nor beyond proof. Therefore, while placing his belief in God, he proposed a different approach to understand the divine nature. This approach, commonly known as the ‘via negative’ is to consider what God is not. This helped him to elaborate the divine qualities. References Nichols, A. (2002). Discovering Aquinas. Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company. Russell, B. (1975). Bertrand Russell’s Best. Chicago: Mentor Publishing Company.