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God and the Philosophers

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

Table of Contents

  1. Suspicions of Something More (8)
  2. A Philosopher’s Way Back to the Faith (19)
  3. Quam Dilecta (31)
  4. Seek and You Will Find (61)
  5. Skepticism, Romanticism, and Faith (77)
  6. Faith Has Its Reasons (88)
  7. On Keeping the Faith (102)
  8. A Little Protector (113)
  9. Not in Kansas Anymore (128)
  10. Love of Learning, Reality of God (137)
  11. Faraway Fields are Green (162)
  12. Philosophy and Faith (173)
  13. Confessions of a College Teacher (182)
  14. From Jerusalem to Athens (189)
  15. There was a Wind Blowing (208)
  16. Faith Seeking Understanding (215)
  17. When the Time Had Fully Come (227)
  18. The Mirror of Evil (235)
  19. Truth, Humility, and Philosophers (248)
  20. The Overexamined Life is Not Worth Living (263)