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The Rationality of Theism

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

Table of Contents

    • List of contributors
    • Introduction    1
    • The explanatory power of theism    2
    • Should theistic belief be psychoanalyzed?    4
    • Natural revelation and theistic arguments    6
    • Overview    10
    • Conclusion    12
  • Pt. I    Foundational considerations    15
    • 1    Religious language and verificationism    17
    • 2    Faith and foundationalism    35
    • 3    Cognitive inspiration and knowledge of God    55
    • 4    Science and theism: concord, not conflict    72
  • Pt. II    Arguments for God’s existence    91
    • 5    The ontological argument    93
    • 6    The cosmological argument    112
    • 7    The teleological argument    132
    • 8    The moral argument    149
    • 9    The evidential value of religious experience    175
    • 10    The argument from consciousness    204
    • 11    Theism, miracles, and the modern mind    221
  • Pt. III    Potential defeaters for theism    237
    • 12    The possibility of God: the coherence of theism    239
    • 13    God and evil    259
    • Bibliography    278
    • Name index    284
    • Subject index    289