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The Ontological Argument

             In Saint Anselm and Gaunilo's "The Ontological Argument", Anselm believes that God is the greatest of all conceivable things and nothing else can be thought to exist greater than God. St. Anselm states that he wants to find a proof of God, not because he does not believe in God, but because he believes in God, he wants proof of his belief. This means he is not searching for proof for his own sake, for he already believes God exists; he is searching for proof for his belief's sake. He believes he was put on Earth to find God, and he has not yet accomplished what he is searching for. Knowing this, St. Anselm sets up an ontological argument to prove the existence of God. First of all, to fully understand this perplexing argument, you must strongly believe the definition of God St. Anselm gives, which is as followed: God is something that which nothing greater can be conceived. This means that no one can think of anything that is greater than God. Even if a person does not believe that God exists, as long as the person believes this definition of God, St. Anselm can prove the existence of God. The second idea you must believe that in order to fully understand the argument is that it is greater to exist than not to exist. Next, St. Anselm describes two kinds of existence: existence in the mind, and existence in reality. Existence in reality is very easy to believe. If you can touch, see, smell, hear, or taste something, in reality it exists. Existence in the mind is harder to understand for some, because many people only believe what they see. St. Anselm gives a beautiful illustration of how he can prove that something can exist in the mind, and also in reality. He gives us the example of a painter, before the painter paints a picture, in his mind he has an understanding of what the painting will look like. After the painter has made the painting, the painter will believe it exists in his mind, for he had the vision of the painting before he performed it, and in reality, because now he can see the painting with his own eyes.

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