Kinds of Fools
The “ontological argument,” a mainstay of introductory philosophy courses, purports to establish the rationality of belief in God on the grounds that to deny God’s existence is to make a logical mistake – because “God cannot be conceived so as not to exist.”
The argument’s flaws are well known; but, even apart from that, hardly anyone has ever felt compelled to believe in God for the reason that the ontological argument provides. Even those who find the argument sound don’t find it convincing.
But because it touches on a number of venerable philosophical issues – among others, what existence is, what essences are, what notions of perfection entail, and what it is to be a necessary truth – some philosophers and philosophically minded theologians still find it worth engaging, for pedagogical reasons and for its own sake.