Newmans view of the existence of God






Newman’s view of the existence of God

God’s existence has been and still a matter of debate that has proved to beyond man’s understanding. Thus God’s existence has for long been regarded as a metaphysical question; that is a question beyond human comprehension and understanding. There have been several theories and suggestions that have been advanced to explain this phenomenon. John Henry Newman argues for God’s being in the presence of conscience in normal beings. According to Newman, conscience is the standard way by which many people come to be informed about God (Robert, 2). Newman asserts that conscience is neither a long-sighted self-centeredness, nor is it a wish to be dependable on oneself; but it is a communication from God. He continues to say the God speaks to us through His grace and nurture which usually is in a hidden manner. Besides, God governs us through his people who represent him (Robert, 2).

Newman also emphasizes that faith starts with a personal experience with God through the individual’s moral conscience. He believed that consciousness can lead one to vividly see the image of God. Besides, he adds that God’s image is real, concrete and personal. Thus, on the basis of the image of God that one sees; he can have a real assent to God’s existence and the single identity of God (Connolly, 83).

Russell’s view of the existence of God

Contrary to Newman, Bertrand Russell’s does not buy the idea of God’s existence. He was a professional mathematician; who used several ideas including mathematical principle of set theory to disapprove the idea of God’s existence. He disapproved several theories that have been advanced by several people in an attempt to explain God’s existence. For example, the moral argument, the argument from reason, and the argument from desire. Concerning Newman’s postulation on God’s existence as reflected through our conscience, Russell asserted that he wished he believed in eternal life but this belief may make him miserable. He argued that accepted wisdom that man is a kind of machine that is endowed unhappily for himself with consciousness is what actually made him oppose Newman’s theory (Russell and Mumford, 16).

Mencken‘s view of faith

Mencken defined faith as irrational conviction in the occurrence of unbelievable. He finds it hard to believe in the words miracle, curative nature of faith, and the likelihood of unlikely occurrences. He further argued that the requirement, according to various faiths, for one to be sure of a place in the alleged kingdom of God are so indistinguishable and he highly doubted if any rational human being is sure of entering the kingdom (Henderson, 58). Thus Mencken’s view concurs with that of Russell’s.

Huxley’s view of faith

Huxley stressed that faith requires psychological analysis. He defined faith as the total of our belief that predisposes us to think and act. He believed that Freudian “super-ego” was a developed moral sense that replaced the conscience. And therefore, sin arose from the disagreement between our intuition and self-restraint and philanthropy. Huxley was resolute that his mission to put man in the accepted order required to be supported on the progressive technical discoveries that have proofs. With this, he argued would combat the power of dualism formed by the unrelenting belief in the supernatural (Phillips, 10). Huxley meant that there is need for a modern religion or faith created by scientist that is universally accepted to all human being (Phillips, 1). Huxley thus supports Newman’s view that God actually exists.

In conclusion, issues of God’s existence and faith have seen a lot of debates. These debates usually leave even further confusions and even contradictions. To date the two issues are still and will remain a matter of metaphysics; that is they are, among others, matters that are beyond human comprehension and understanding.

As to the question whether films have lessened the value of written literature? It is a matter of debate. To start with, looking at the above media both has advantages and disadvantages. For example, film has the advantage, over the over media, of the possibility to include, remove, supplement, or record sound at any given time (Ferrell, 43). Films provide scenes wich are easy to discern compared to the written literature where the scene is a mental creation as it is described in a novel or play. The scene helps the viewer of the film to feel the characters and their character traits instantly (Ferrell, 39). This means that understanding is faster and easier.

On the other hand, written literature is more valuable than films; although not popular. Written literature involves reading which is a mental process that helps us make use of our brains and thus become more mentally alert and intelligent. Through reading, we find not only knowledge but a better understanding of various phenomena and the intellectual explanation behind them. Written literature s opposed to films helps us build and sustain our vocabulary. Because comparing watching films and constantly reading reveals that we have better writing skill than when we engage in watching films. Those who do not read actually forget their ability to write may be due to disuse. This is a theory that postulates that we often forget certain things simply because we constantly do not put them to use.

Besides, film watching does not require as much attention as compared to reading literary works. Reading actually, improves our attention and makes us more focused. Reading in general, increases our level of self-esteem. Comparing what one reads and what they hear, one can easily see that it is easier to remember what we read as compared to what we hear. This means that our visual memory is comparatively more powerful than our visual memory. Therefore, those with reading culture become more self-confident than those who watch films because of their improved memory. In reading literature, one is required to remember plots, character and character traits and themes. In this regard, reading further improves one’s memory; since in recalling the above; you actually stretch your brain muscles. As opposed to watching film which does not engage our brain muscles and therefore leaves our mind inactive. Written literature can be read at ones pace, and are almost portable to anywhere; which brings about the convenience that they have compared to films which need sophisticated machines and electricity so as to function. On the other hand films make communication easier, interactive and fun. Films are more popular since they accompanied with excellent audiovisual stimulation that brings about enjoyment and fun.

In conclusion, written literature and films both are important in our society because they supplement each other to our virtual satisfaction. Thus, they all are indispensable in the contemporary society for both communication and intellectual information. However it requires one to learn the act of balancing so that he maximizes on the benefits of each.

Works Cited

Connolly, John R. John Henry Newman: a view of Catholic faith for the new millennium. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

Ferrell, William K. Literature and film as modern mythology. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000.

Henderson, John A. Fear Faith Fact Fantasy. North Carolina: Parkway Publishers, Inc., 2004.

Phillips, T. Paul. “One World, One Faith: The Quest for Unity in Julian Huxley’s Religion of Evolutionary Humanism.” Journal of the History of Ideas (2007): 1-22.

Robert, Noel Keith. “Newman on the Argument from Design.” Academic journal (2007): 1-12.

Russell, Bertrand and Stephen Mumford. Russell on metaphysics: selections from the writings of Bertrand Russell. London: Routledge, 2003.