The ontological argument as stated by Anselm in Chapter 2 of his work Proslogium runs something like this:

1.) If God exists, He is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.

2.) If 1, then nothing greater than God can be imagined.

3.) If 1 and 2, then nothing greater than God exists.

4.) If God does not exists, then something greater than God can be imagined (by virtue of imagining something that actually exists, assuming that something that does indeed exist is assigned value above that which does not exist, I would add here).

5.) If 4, then God exists.

I hope that I have done justice to the argument and have not simply confused everyone. In logic, we refer to this sort of argument as a reductio ad absurdum argument; because it presents a thesis, presents the ridiculous implications of accepting that thesis to be true, and concludes that the thesis must therefore be false. No one has (as of yet) come up with a satisfactory refutation of this argument. Even the most ardent atheist critics have to admit that, even though they feel something is not quite right about it, they have nothing with which to refute it. I personally believe Anselm was really on to something here. I’ve read some of his other work, and none of it that I have read has proved quite on the same level of genius as this.

What I would like to propose is that, on the basis of acceptance of a few presuppositions, we can begin to construct an understanding and interpretation of reality. This is no easy task, but I believe it is essential for all ministers to deal with, at least at an elementary level. Growing up, I sometimes wondered if anything was really real. As a teen of 16-17, I struggled from time to time with depression that was set on by doubts of the reality of anything. I  wondered what I could KNOW for certain, and if this whole Christianity thing was just a huge deception that I had bought into. I didn’t feel like I could talk with anyone about these thoughts and feelings without 1) being condemned as some kind of deviant and betrayer of the Faith and 2) making everyone around me worry about my spirituality. So, I kept them to myself, though I thought long and hard about them. I kept going back to forcing myself not to think about them and just accept what I had been told. I wanted desperately to believe that what I believed was actually true. Everything in my belief system was contingent on the fact that reality did exist and that I could interact with reality in a meaningful way. Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and others really saved my faith. Once I was exposed to some of these, though I ultimately rejected much of what they had to say, I was able to recognize that other Christians had gone through the same struggles as I had faced, that they had come to the conclusion that we can understand existence and reality (at least to an extent), and that we are indeed able to interact with reality in a meaningful way.

Thus, even you would-be youth pastors out there really do need to know something about this, because you have no idea what some knowledgeable encouragement for a young man could mean in the grand scheme of things. Those of you who may be weak in your faith, uncertain as to whether you can responsibly throw your lot in with Christ, go ahead and dissect this argument for the existence of God. It’s grounded in strong Christian tradition, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a formidable opponent in terms of its value as a logical system.

Anselm and others who decided that they were going to look into the logical implications of their beliefs provided me with a basis on which to strengthen my faith. Today, I propose that Christianity is the only religion in the world that makes good logical sense. Every other religious system (including atheism) is shot through with logical inconsistencies and must therefore be rejected as belief systems.

For Christians, this is vitally important, because upon your  paradigm of reality, you build your theological and doctrinal interpretation of the Apostolic tradition. If you are to rightly divide the word of truth and deal responsibly as a Christian leader with both those you serve in a pastoral sense and those you serve in an evangelistic sense, you will fail without a proper paradigm from which to approach the Christian faith. This starts here: understanding why you believe what you believe, providing a logical basis on which to build a logical Faith. God is a God of clarity, of truth; Satan is the author of confusion. Therefore, be servants of God, not servants of Satan. Even the best-intentioned Christian will perish from a lack of knowledge.

In fact, let me go so far as to say that any Christian leader who does not take philosophy, logic, and education seriously is just making excuse for laziness. If you’re one of those people who thinks that “the Holy Spirit  will reveal it all to me”, let me knock you off your high-horse. You’re not fooling anyone. In fact, not only are you not more spiritually firm or possessed of more faith than us “philosophical Christians”, you’re just ignorant would-be’s! Take a good minute to do some serious self-assessment and reflection. Take a good, hard look at yourself. I’ll dare you to look me in the eye any day and tell me with full confidence before God that you don’t need to be responsible in your pursuit of knowledge outside of Scripture. If understanding that the Faith of Jesus Christ makes sense in this natural system that God created doesn’t produce an enormous and profound impact in you to quicken your faith  and give it life, then I daresay your heart is colder than the most analytic mind that tries to deny subjectivity altogether.

That being said, have a great day, and God bless!