The Ontological Argument
(This is hopefully the first in a series of posts going "back to basics")
One of the many “proofs” of God's existence put forward through the years has been the 'Ontological Argument' – an attempt to demonstrate the existence of the divine through logic alone.
Although there have been many versions of the argument, I believe the gist of it can be summarised as:
God is the most perfect being in the universe
The most perfect being in the universe must exist
Therefore, God exists
(This is, admittedly, a rather simplified take on the many versions of the argument put forward by the likes of Anslem and Descartes.)
A number of objections have been put forward against the ontological argument – the strongest being that it's an essentially analytic argument and can therefore provide no empirical facts about the world.
The above argument can be summarised as: The most perfect thing in the universe exists. While this is clearly true (being a tautology) it says nothing about the nature of that thing, which remains an open definition: In a universe consisting of only three beings (Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, for example) the argument will still hold, as one of those three will be the most perfect being in existence.