1. The Argument from Design
Imagine that you are walking in the woods when you trip over a rock. You kick the rock aside, thinking nothing of it.
Now suppose you are walking through the woods and you slip on a finely crafted timepiece. It is not damaged by your clumsiness. In fact, despite being exposed to the elements, to the attacks of animals, and the general effects of the passing of time, it is as reliable as ever. You pick it up and notice the elegant composition, the attractive features, and its aura of prestige. You open your mouth and sing the praises of the watch.
Ordinarily, you are self-conscious of your tone deafness, but right now it doesn’t matter. Only one thing matters: figuring out where this watch came from.
You look at it carefully. It is a Rolex. Precision. Craftsmanship. Timelessness. Reliability.
Now when you look at the universe what do you compare it with? A common rock or the timepiece worn by Eric Clapton? When the Rolex Corporation looks at the universe the answer is clear: just as elegant timepieces require Rolex, so the universe requires a Maker, who is most likely Swiss.
2. The Ontological Argument: A Proof from the Nature of Existence
Everyone has the idea of God. The idea of God is that of the greatest conceivable being.
In order to make progress on the question of God’s existence we have to ask a question often heard in the halls of Apple’s development labs. That question can be stated as, “Which is greater: What exists only in the mind or what exists in the mind and also outside of the mind?” Let’s take the
example of an operating system.
Let’s suppose a visionary named Steve has the idea of an operating system that is user-friendly and reliable. Is this the greatest conceivable operating system?
Philosophers have generally said no. The greatest conceivable operating system is the one that exists as an idea, and actually exists in the world, perhaps installed on an aesthetically pleasing PowerBook (even though it becomes much easier for competitors to steal your ideas).
Philosophers agree that we have the idea of God. The question philosophers debate is whether the being than which no greater can be conceived is a being which exists only as an idea in the mind (similar to our competitor’s best products), or as an idea which exists in our minds and the world (like Steve’s ideas and how they are actually manufactured and lining the walls of our Apple stores)?
That there could be any disagreement amongst philosophers on this point shocks us in the development lab, who take it as an obvious truth that something that is in the world is better than some fleeting idea that pops into your head after a few too many. Which is greater, we ask you: the company who thinks that MP3s are the future of personal music, or the company which thinks MP3s are the wave of the future and builds it and gets U2 to endorse it and offers the best warranty on the market for any personal MP3 player?
We answer, the company that builds — and did we mention sells — a sleek, affordable MP3 player.
Similarly, once we have the idea of God, we can ask which is greater: The God that exists in the minds of our visionary board members or the God who exists in the minds of our board members and exists in the world?
Answer correctly and you will be entered into a contest to win a free iPod shuffle!
3. The Argument from Morality
If God exists then not all things are permissible. As we examine our conscience we find that certain things are not permissible. For example, downloading illegal movies. You wouldn’t steal a heart from a little boy who needs a transplant. So why would you steal a movie? Besides you are not stealing from big corporations but the little guys. Guys like Tom who is crippled by Carpal Tunnel because he has to hand-carve the little tabs that hold your DVD inside the DVD case.
Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that you would watch an illegal copy.
Imagine yourself trying to enjoy that pirated copy of a movie knowing that the DVD case factory has shut down because no one is purchasing the movie.
You can see that it is only a matter of time before this once-vibrant metropolis becomes a ghost town.
Naturally, once the DVD case factory has shut down Tom’s employment as a subcontractor for DVD tab holders is eliminated. When you imagine unemployed Tom sitting in a pile of his DVD tab holders, do you think you have ruined his life? Maybe not. Perhaps Tom Jr. will comfort him. Assuming Tom Jr. feels up to it, which seems unlikely, as he knows that you were thinking of stealing the heart he so desperately needs.
This image of you as a career thief and murderer is offered just for the sake of argument. Of course you wouldn’t enjoy your murderous pirated movie, because you know some things are really wrong, even if you don’t get caught.
Yes, you have toed the edge of the rules that make civilization possible, but you can’t follow through. If you wouldn’t steal a movie from us or an organ from a kid, then not all things are permissible. If not all things are permissible then there must be a being even greater than the Anti-Piracy Trust that has given us these guidelines. This Being is the one referred to in any quality, copyrighted and copy-protected edition of the Ten Commandments as “God.”