A Life of Travel: Arguments for God’s Existence
Dennis discusses the difference between traveling alone and not traveling alone. He examines the things that he has discovered from traveling and his thoughts on cultural relativism. In the question and answer period he discusses briefly related subjects such as the effect of terrorism on travel. In the second half Dennis presents some classic arguments for the existence of God and his centrality to the Jewish faith. He also discusses the role of science in relation to the arguments.
Major points of the lecture:
1a. Traveling alone has the advantage of being forced to interact with the culture.
2a. As humans we all begin provincial and then through travel become more cosmopolitan.
3a. There are many ways to lead a life and it is hard to judge whether one way is better than another. He then discusses this in contrast to moral relativism. 4a. There are two ways one can spend one’s extra money–on things or on experiences. A good experience is travel. In the question and answer session many interesting side-topics are addressed.
1b. Creation and exodus are the central tenants of Judaism. Creation and the existence of God cannot be proved but they can be argued.
2b. There are three traditional arguments for the existence of God. Cosmological, nothing comes of its own or why is there anything instead of nothing? Ontological, humanity is programmed to believe in God. God is the only thing imagined who has not been seen. Teleological, the design argument: how do animals know to take care of their young?
3b. Dennis also presents a moral argument: if there is no God there is no good and evil. He also gives an argument for the existence of God from religious experiences.
4b. The believer in God has to account for the existence of evil and suffering while the atheist has to account for everything from people to the cosmos.
5b. Science can answer only the how but not the why, it cannot prove or disprove the existence of God or the big bang.
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