The Existence of God
Alexander R. Pruss (Cambridge University Press: Mar 20, 2006), 350 pages.
The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) says that all contingent facts must have explanation. In this volume, the first on the topic in the English language in nearly half a century, Alexander Pruss examines the substantive philosophical issues raised by the Principle Reason. Discussing various forms of the PSR and selected historical episodes, from Parmenides, Leibnez, and Hume, Pruss defends the claim that every true contingent proposition must have an explanation against major objections, including Hume's imaginability argument and Peter van Inwagen's argument that the PSR entails modal fatalism. Pruss also provides a number of positive arguments for the PSR, based on considerations as different as the metaphysics of existence, counterfactuals and modality, negative explanations, and the everyday applicability of the PSR. Moreover, Pruss shows how the PSR would advance the discussion in a number of disparate fields, including meta-ethics and the philosophy of mathematics.
James F. Sennet and Douglas Groothuis (InterVarsity Press: Nov 30, 2005), 336 pages.
The shadow of David Hume, the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher, has loomed large against all efforts to prove the existence of God from evidence in the natural world. Indeed from Hume's day to ours, the vast majority of philosophical attacks against the rationality of theism have borne an unmistakable Humean aroma. The last forty years, however, have been marked by a resurgence in Christian theism among philosophers, and the time has come for a thorough reassessment of the case for natural theology. James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis have assembled a distinguished team of philosophers to engage the task: Terence Penelhum, Todd M. Furman, Keith Yandell, Garrett J. DeWeese, Joshua Rasmussen, James D. Madden, Robin Collins, Paul Copan, Victor Reppert, J. P. Moreland and R. Douglas Geivett. Together this team makes vigorous individual and cumulative arguments that set Hume's attacks in fresh perspective and that offer new insights into the value of teleological, cosmological and ontological arguments for God's existence. ~ Product Description
"Was Darwin Wrong?" in National Geographic Magazine (November 2004).
Charles Darwin was shy and meticulous, a wealthy landowner with close friends among the Anglican clergy. He had a gentle, unassuming manner, a strong need for privacy, and an extraordinary commitment to intellectual honesty. As an undergraduate at Cambridge, he had studied halfheartedly toward becoming a clergyman himself, before he discovered his real vocation as a scientist. Later, having established a good but conventional reputation in natural history, he spent 22 years secretly gathering evidence and pondering arguments—both for and against his theory—because he didn't want to flame out in a burst of unpersuasive notoriety. He may have delayed, too, because of his anxiety about announcing a theory that seemed to challenge conventional religious beliefs—in particular, the Christian beliefs of his wife, Emma. Darwin himself quietly renounced Christianity during his middle age, and later described himself as an agnostic. He continued to believe in a distant, impersonal deity of some sort, a greater entity that had set the universe and its laws into motion, but not in a personal God who had chosen humanity as a specially favored species. Darwin avoided flaunting his lack of religious faith, at least partly in deference to Emma. And she prayed for his soul.
Richard Swinburne in The Existence of God (Oxford University Press, 2004).
I understand by an argument from design one which argues from some general pattern of order in the universe or provision for the needs of conscious beings to a God responsible for these phenomena. An argument from a general pattern of order I shall call a teleological argument. In the definition of ‘teleological argument’ I emphasize the words ‘general pattern’; I shall not count an argument to the existence of God from some particular pattern of order manifested on a unique occasion as a teleological argument.
Michael Martin on God and Evil said...
Third Statement The Fernandes-Martin Debate
On most interpretations of the theistic God, He desires His creatures to love Him. However, the mystery of evil conflicts with this desire. It is difficult for rational humans to love God when they do not understand why there is so much evil. If the reasons for evil are beyond humans' ken, God could at least make THIS abundantly clear. Why does He not do so? Moreover, why does not an all-powerful God have the power to raise human intelligence so humans can understand why there is so much evil? If there is reason for not doing this, then why is THIS not made clear? There is mystery on top of mystery here which seems to conflict explicitly with God's desire to be loved.
The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986), p. 316.
If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must already have been vastly complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow ourselves the luxury of postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!
William Lane Craig, presented to the Christian Theological Research Fellowship meeting at the AAR in November, 1996
William Lane Craig argues first that objective morality is indefensible apart from the existence of God, and second, therefore, that the evident fact of objective morality is evidence for the existence of God. If not A (no God) then not B (no objective morality), then conversely, B therefore A. Craig justifies his thesis by noting the inability of atheism to account for moral evaluation, moral responsibility, and moral accountability. He is careful to stipulate that he is not arguing that belief in God is required for moral action and character, as the argument is sometimes misconstrued. Rather, "that if God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties, and moral accountability is secured, but that in the absence of God, that is, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and non-binding." ~ Afterall
David Mills (Xlibris: Apr 6, 2004)
Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence — arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history and science. Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language and logic used by philosophers and presents its scientific evidence in simple lay terms, making it a richly entertaining and easy-to-read introduction to atheism. A comprehensive primer, it addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including: Is there proof that God does not exist? What evidence is there of Jesus's resurrection? Can creation science reconcile scripture with the latest scientific discoveries? Atheist Universe also answers ethical issues such as: What is the meaning of life without God? It's a spellbinding inquiry that ultimately arrives at a controversial and well-documented conclusion. ~ Product Description
John Foster (Oxford University Press: Mar 25, 2004), 202 pages.
John Foster presents a clear and powerful discussion of a range of topics relating to our understanding of the universe: induction, laws of nature, and the existence of God. He begins by developing a solution to the problem of induction — a solution that involves the postulation of laws of nature, as forms of natural necessity. He then offers a radically new account of the nature of such laws and the distinctive kind of necessity they involve. Finally, he uses this account as the basis for an argument for the existence of God as the creator of the laws and the universe they govern. The Divine Lawmaker is bold and original in its approach, and rich in argument. ~ Product Description • "John Foster... uses his philosophical background to analyze the question of the rationality of belief in God as a causal agent for nature's regularities... Foster is writing for the philosophically literate; The Divine Lawmaker will appeal to the specialist and professional philosopher of science or religion..." ~ Science & Theology News
William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Oxford University Press: Feb 12, 2004)
The question of whether or not God exists is endlessly fascinating and profoundly important. Now two articulate spokesmen —one a Christian, the other an atheist — duel over God's existence in a lively and illuminating battle of ideas. In God?, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. With none of the opaque discourse of academic logicians and divinity-school theologians, the authors make claims and comebacks that cut with precision. Their arguments are sharp and humorous, as each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God in order to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. By assuming a traditional concept of God in their discussion, the authors ensure that they are truly addressing each other's viewpoints and engaging in a disagreement over a unified issue. The book is composed of six chapters that alternate between Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong, so that each separate point can be discussed as it arises. Ideal for courses in the philosophy of religion and introduction to philosophy, this lively and direct dialogue will stimulate students and anyone interested in the existence of God, regardless of whether or not they believe in God. ~ Product Description
Nicholas Everitt (Routledge: Dec 22, 2003), 352 pages.
Is it possible to prove or disprove God's existence? Arguments for the existence of God have taken many different forms over the centuries: the ontological, cosmological and teleological arguments; arguments which invoke miracles, religious experience and morality; and prudential arguments such as Pascal's Wager. On the other hand are the arguments against theistic belief: the traditional problem of evil; the logical tensions between divine attributes such as omnipotence, omniscience and eternity; and arguments from the scale of the universe. In The Non-Existence of God, Nicholas Everitt reconsiders all of these arguments and examines the role that reason and knowledge play in the debate over God's existence. He draws on recent scientific disputes over neo-Darwinism, the implication of "big bang" cosmology, and the temporal and spatial size of the universe; and discusses some of the most recent work on the subject, such as Plantinga's "anti-naturalism" argument in favor of theism. Everitt's controversial conclusion is that there is a sense in which God's existence is disprovable, and that even in other senses a belief in God would be irrational.
William Lane Craig, Antony Flew, Stan Wallace, ed. (Ashgate: Dec 2003), 230 pages.
This title presents debates by leading contemporary philosophers of enduring themes and issues concerning the question of God's existence. William Craig and Antony Flew met in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the famous Copleston/Russell debate to discuss the question of God's existence in a public debate. The core of this book contains the edited transcript of that debate. Also included are eight chapters in which other significant philosophers — Paul Draper, R. Douglas Geivett, Michael Martin, Keith Parsons, William Rowe, William Wainwright, Keith Yandell and David Yandell — critique the debate and address the issues raised. Their insights complement and further the debate, helping the reader delve more deeply into the issues that surfaced. In the two final chapters, Craig and Flew respond and clarify their positions, taking the debate yet one step further. The result of these many contributions is a book which provides the reader with a summary of the discussion and allows one to enter into the dialogue on this central question in the philosophy of religion. ~ Product Description
Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier, eds. (Prometheus Books: December 1, 2003).
Since 1948, a growing number of scholars have been formulating and developing a series of arguments that the concept of God — as understood by the world's leading theologians and major religions — is logically contradictory, and therefore God not only does not exist but, more significantly, cannot exist. In short, God is impossible. This unique anthology collects for the first time most of the important published arguments for the impossibility of God. Included are selections by J.L. Mackie, Quentin Smith, Theodore Drange, Michael Martin, and many other distinguished scholars. The editors provide a valuable general introduction and helpful summaries of the cricual issues involved. ~ Product Description
Paul Copan and Paul K. Moser, eds. (Routledge: March 2003), 308 pages.
This book is a collection of thirteen essays which, in one way or another, defend the thesis that a personal God exists. I disagree with the notion that these essays are "brand new" in that much of the material in several of the essays (e.g., Craig on the Kalam cosmological argument, Moreland on the argument from consciousness, and Collins on the teleological argument) has been published elsewhere, whether in books or academic philosophy journals. Thus, I think the description overly hypes the book. Moreover, given that an essay on aparticular topic will, pretty much necessarily, not approach the depth and rigor that a book-length treatment of a given topic would, there is a danger that a person who reads only these essays will be left with a more or less truncated picture of what a robust defense of theism on any particular front looks like. Again, the back cover statement that the book, "[aims] to offer comprehensive theistic replies to the traditional arguments against the existence of God..." seems a bit overblown. Nonetheless, this books makes an important contribution to the analytic philosophy of religion in at least two ways. First, it gives the reader a feel for what kinds of arguments for theism are currently being presented. Second, it benefits the non-expert in that it brings together under one cover a collection of material that would otherwise only be found by those already familiar with the relevant literature. Both of these are very good things, I think. ~ J. Wisdom at Amazon.com
Norman Geisler and Winfried Corduan (Wipf and Stock: Jan 2003).
Is there any basis in reality for a religious experience? Is there any basis in reason for belief in God? Is it even possible to speak meaningfully of a transcendent being? And how does one account for evil? The authors answer these questions, representing the four most important issues in the philosophy of religion, in a comprehensive way and "form the perspective of classical theism." They support this position with in-depth argumentation, taking into account both classical and contemporary writers. ~ Wipf and Stock
Raymond Martin and Christopher Bernard, eds. (Jul 18, 2002), 581 pages.
God Matters is a state-of-the-art, accessible anthology of the major issues in philosophy of religion. Its accessibility is due to its mix of classic readings and brand new readings about contemporary issues, commissioned specifically with an undergraduate student in mind. These commissioned readings make the difficult concepts of contemporary philosophy of religion easy to understand, and are complemented by key excerpts from more technical philosophers' writing on the same subjects. The result is an engaging, comprehensive reader that introduces students to the most important ideas in classical and contemporary philosophy of religion, to the most important thinkers, and even to excerpts from the key texts in which these thinkers presented their groundbreaking theories. ~ Product Description
Louis P. Pojman, 4th ed. (Wadsworth: May 7, 2002), 592 pages.
This textbook/anthology maps out the major controversies and key positions in the philosophy of religion. The traditional arguments for the existence of God are presented and critiqued (one is tempted to say, refuted), as is the argument from religious experience. The book then moves on to those other, equally thorny, problems — evil, the attributes of God, miracles, revelation, death, and immortality. Chapters also consider the relationship between faith and reason (currently a trial separation, with visitation rights), scientific and religious perspectives on evolution, the possibility of religious pluralism, and the connection between religion and ethics. The historical heavyweights are well represented, with excerpts from Aquinas, Hume, Anselm, Kant, James, Freud, Leibniz, Augustine, Plato, Russell, Pascal, Wittgenstein, and Kierkegaard. ~ Booknews
"The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism", Philo 4/2 (2001)
A hand waving dismissal of theism, such as is manifested in the following passage from Searle's The Rediscovery of the Mind, has been like trying to halt a tidal wave with a hand-held sieve. Searle responds to about one-third of contemporary philosophers with [a] brush-off... Searle does not have an area of specialization in the philosophy of religion and, if he did, he might, in the face of the erudite brilliance of theistic philosophizing today, say something more similar to the non-theist Richard Gale (who does have an area of specialization in the philosophy of religion), whose conclusion of a 422 page book criticizing contemporary philosophical arguments for God's existence (as well as dealing with other matters in the philosophy of religion), reads 'no definite conclusion can be drawn regarding the rationality of faith.'
"The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism", Philo 4/2 (2001)
Naturalists passively watched as realist versions of theism, most influenced by Plantinga's writings, began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians. Although many theists do not work in the area of the philosophy of religion, so many of them do work in this area that there are now over five philosophy journals devoted to theism or the philosophy of religion, such as Faith and Philosophy, Religious Studies, International Journal of the Philosophy of Religion, Sophia, Philosophia Christi, etc. Philosophia Christi began in the late 1990s and already is overflowing with submissions from leading philosophers. If each naturalist who does not specialize in the philosophy of religion (i.e., over ninety-nine percent of naturalists) were locked in a room with theists who do specialize in the philosophy of religion, and if the ensuing debates were refereed by a naturalist who had a specialization in the philosophy of religion, the naturalist referee could at most hope the outcome would be that 'no definite conclusion can be drawn regarding the rationality of faith,' although I expect the most probable outcome is that the naturalist, wanting to be a fair and objective referee, would have to conclude that the theists definitely had the upperhand in every single argument or debate. God is not "dead" in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.
Thomas Dubey (Ignatius Press: Sep 1999), 320 pages.
The physicist who knows nothing about Scripture and the theologian ignorant of calculus may yet see eye to eye on the remarkable power of beauty to manifest the presence of truth. It is this probative force of beauty that drives Dubay's impressive reflection on how the perception of harmony instills a sense of conviction among honest seekers in both science and religion. With the help of testimony from a wide range of scientists, Dubay discerns a pattern of elegance and symmetry uniting everything from the astrophysics of the cosmos to the biology of the cell. Disdaining the crabbed literalism of creationist science (which he dismisses as fallacious), Dubay uses the metaphysical intuition of beauty to challenge neo-Darwinian dogmatists who deny the existence of design in our curiously fine-tuned universe. Non-Catholics may protest that Dubay overextends his argument when he concludes with a defense of Catholicism as the supreme depository of truth and beauty, but readers need not endorse Dubay's Catholic orthodoxy to benefit from his philosophic insights. Bryce Christensen for Booklist