God's Existence and Nature
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
Keith Ward (Oneworld Publications: April 2002), 320 pages.
Keith Ward is an eminent Oxford theologian, and such a title might make many ordinary people run for cover. Don't run. God: A Guide for the Perplexed is a wonderful book. Ward is a philosopher as well as a theologian and he succeeds in presenting the sweep of mankind's religious and philosophical thought with style, reverence, and a wry humour. He is to be congratulated in producing a book that avoids churchy clap trap, academic jargon, religious cliché, and mushy spirituality. He writes in a crisp, entertaining way that is never flippant and he wears his immense learning lightly, sharing a genuine enthusiasm for his subject with a clear desire to communicate with ordinary people. In seven chapters Ward takes us through the history of mankind's religious thought. He shows how philosophical questions have always been linked with religious questions, and how religion has never been merely a set of rules or doctrines, but a quest for meaning and a search for the blazing darkness that is God. In other words, Ward has written a feast for the mind and the heart. While the academic ground is covered lightly, the mystical, poetic, and mysterious side of religion is also given due weight. If you can only buy one book which explains the heart and mind of mankind's spiritual quest, buy this book. ~ Dwight Longenecker, Amazon.co.uk
Maria Pia Lara, ed. (University of California Press: Oct 1, 2001), 328 pages.
This innovative volume will be welcomed by moral and political philosophers, social scientists, and anyone who reflects seriously on the twentieth century's heavy burden of war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other evidence of people's desire to harm one another. Mar’a P’a Lara brings together a provocative set of essays that reexamine evil in the context of a "postmetaphysical" world, a world that no longer equates natural and human evil and no longer believes in an omnipotent God. The question of how and why God permits evil events to occur is replaced by the question of how and why humans perform radically evil acts. ~ Product Description
Daniel-Howard Snyder and Paul K. Moser, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
With the publication of J.L. Schellenberg's Divine Hiddeness and Human Reason, in recent years philosophers of religion have focused their attention on the problem of the "hiddenness of God", the evident fact that, if God exists, he is not as overtly obvious as he could be. The psalmists and prophets often lamented this apparent absence of God. And Bertrand Russell, imagining a possible meeting with God in the afterlife, famously said he would explain his atheism by the lack of sufficient evidence. A good place to start exploring the problem is in a recent collection of essays: Divine Hiddenness: New Essays. On a more pedestrian level, Phillip Yancey has wrestled with this question at length in his typically poignant and honest style. See his Disappointment with God and Reaching for the Invisible God.
Marilyn McCord Adams (Cornell University Press: Oct 2000), 240 pages.
When confronted by horrendous evil, even the most pious believer may question not only life's worth but also God's power and goodness. A distinguished philosopher and a practicing minister, Marilyn McCord Adams has written a highly original work on a fundamental dilemma of Christian thought — how to reconcile faith in God with the evils that afflict human beings. Adams argues that much of the discussion in analytic philosophy of religion over the last forty years has offered too narrow an understanding of the problem. The ground rules accepted for the discussion have usually led philosophers to avert their gaze from the worst "horrendous" evils and their devastating impact on human lives. They have agreed to debate the issue on the basis of religion-neutral values, and have focused on morals, an approach that — Adams claims — is inadequate for formulating and solving the problem of horrendous evils. She emphasizes instead the fruitfulness of other evaluative categories such as purity and defilement, honor and shame, and aesthetics. If redirected, philosophical reflection on evil can, Adams's book demonstrates, provide a valuable approach not only to theories of God and evil but also to pastoral care. ~ Product Description
Ric Ergenbright (Tyndale House: Oct 1, 1999), 160 pages.
Renowned landscape photographer Ric Ergenbright here turns his attention to the holiness reflected in the beauty of the natural world. Combining scriptural passages with photographic and scientific observations relating to the elements of nature, Ergenbright uses his dramatic, often astonishing photographs as a testament to the power and perfection of God. Though he recognizes that "if all Scripture were lost, we could still know something of [God's] character by carefully studying the works of his hands," Ergenbright uses the book to emphasize how God's Word can illuminate the world around us. This beautiful coffee-table book is a wonderful addition to any nature-lover's collection, and the detailed notes throughout are an education to any aspiring photographer.
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
Keith Ward (Oneworld Publications: April 1998), 208 pages.
Using terms acceptable to each religious tradition, Professor Ward considers the doctrine of ultimate reality — God — within five world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. By closely studying a definitive, orthodox writer in each tradition, Ward builds a series of "pictures" of God and uncovers a common core of belief. "An invaluable introduction to the religious traditions which have helped shape human culture through the ages. Indispensable lot a comparative religions library."
Thomas V. Morris, ed. (Oxford University Press, USA : Jan, 1996), 304 pages.
Twenty professional philosophers tell how they combine intellectual rigor with religious commitment. Although most of the great philosophers have believed in God, argues Morris , many Americans today reckon that religion and reason are diametrically opposed. With this collection of essays, Morris assembles a cross section of scholars who effectively challenge this assumption. In brief chapters, the philosophers touch on themes such as their upbringing, conversion or religious development, and the ideas and thinkers who have most influenced them (Immanuel Kant, William James, and C.S. Lewis are among the most often mentioned). The general tone, however, is more personal than scholarly. We are treated to insights into the connection between spiritual life and the love of learning, as well as discussions of more obvious philosophical problems such as the nature of objectivity and the rational grounds required for religious assent. Eleanore Stump offers a moving account of how confrontation with the problem of evil can cause us to seek, rather than reject, God. Peter van Inwagen questions the basic assumptions of the Enlightenment, which he believes continue to distort our view of religion. David Shatz speaks of the dual program of Torah and secular studies at New York's Yeshiva University and of the intense relationship between religion and study in Orthodox Judaism. Morris lets his authors speak for themselves, without attempting to draw together what has been said. Although he provides a broad spectrum of Christian viewpoints, some readers will regret the absence of Islamic and Buddhist perspectives and of any discussion of the classical syntheses of faith and reason, such as that of St. Thomas Aquinas. The honesty and humanity with which these controversial themes are treated make for attractive reading. ~ Kirkus Reviews