How does Anselm provide a demonstration for the existence of God? Why does he say even an atheist would have to accept his argument? Why does Thomas Aquinas reject Anselm’s proof and what does he offer in its place?
According to the Archbishop of St. Anselm Canterbury, God exists in imagination, and only him should be pursued through imagination. The fact that God exists as ideation in the mind concludes that there is a greater power, God, that exists, and the human's mind should not imagine something else greater. Additionally, Anselm emphasizes that through human imaginations, the limit should be God as he's the greatest. Existing through imagination and not, in reality, is enough drive to believe in the existence of God. It thus means that God is superior in nature that he cannot exists in a human body or neither can he be seen, but exists as a spirit. Anselm seems to argue that something that does not exist cannot be imagined or present in human minds. Only that which exists, in reality, can be imagined, and thus, the imagination of God's existence in our minds as an idea proves that God exists in reality, (Iep.utm.edu 2021).
Anselm says that even fools accept his argument for in hearing something; they can comprehend and reason out. People seem to reason to logic, and if God exists as a notion in humanity's minds, then it is evident enough that there is God in existence. People do not believe in something without thinking and reasoning out; only then will they receive revelation the best way they know-how. The human mind cannot think of anything great that exists in reality, and if God only exists in our mind and that only him is greatest, then there is no other being mightier. Understanding logic like God's existence in our minds will help even non-believers know that there is a great power Almighty that exists. Only in understanding can people see things from a particular perspective, which is why Anselm says that atheists will conquer with his argument, (Iep.utm.edu 2021).
St. Aquinas rejected the idea that hearing makes people understand the existence of a mighty being claiming that some never understand even after hearing God's word. Anselm had earlier argued that people understand after hearing something which they have to ponder over to understand. Aquinas drove his point home by saying that imagining and understanding God's word cannot give credit to the belief in God's existence. He argued that humanity reasons differently and that they will have different perspectives and understanding. Aquinas argued that the reasoning above could only work for the people who share the same opinion/beliefs, (Iep.utm.edu 2021). Aquinas furthers the notion that God is the limit of imagining greater beings. He argued that the greater beings humanity imagines, none suit the description, and thus Anselm's argument makes no sense. Aquinas thus said that only those beings that can relate to our imagination could offer great understanding.
Iep.utm.edu. (2021). Anselm: Ontological Argument for the God's Existence | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 1 April 2021, from <span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height: 200%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";background:white">https://iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/</span>.