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Thinking About God

Gregory E. Ganssle (InterVarsity Press: Nov 2004), 187 pages.

Greg Ganssle has produced the most fun and readable introduction to philosophy of religion I have ever encountered. His target audience runs from high school seniors to introductory college students, and I can say that I have enjoyed teaching an introductory philosophy course using this book. He presents the issues in a clear-headed way while drawing readers in with fun examples and humor. After arguing for the value of thinking through philosophical questions in a reasonable way, Ganssle argues for open-mindedness in the sense of not being so sure of your views that you are not open to reason, but he also dismisses the idea that we must be neutral or that we must not make exclusive truth claims. Open-mindedness does not require having no views in those ways. I especially like seeing this in a book designed for younger students unfamiliar enough with philosophy to need some kind of way of heading off the simplistic kind of relativism that many students of philosophy find themselves stumbling over. The main body of the work considers philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. ~ Parableman @

Table of Contents

    • 1    Why bother thinking about God?    13
    • 2    What is philosophy?    17
    • 3    You cannot prove God’s existence    25
    • 4    What about faith?    28
    • 5    Can we be neutral?    33
    • 6    Where do we begin?    39
    • 7    Starting at the beginning: why is there anything at all?    43
    • 8    Starting at the beginning: must the universe have a cause?    52
    • 9    Starting at the beginning: must the first cause be God?    59
    • 10    Looking at the details: design and designers    66
    • 11    Looking at the details: Darwin and design    73
    • 12    Looking at the details: fine-tuning and design    77
    • 13    Looking at the details: many worlds and small chances    81
    • 14    Looking in the mirror: moral reality    86
    • 15    Looking in the mirror: moral facts point to God    97
    • 16    Reasons to believe: the cumulative case    104
    • 17    The square circle objection    109
    • 18    God and evil reconciled    115
    • 19    Reasons God could have to allow evil    122
    • 20    Freedom and determinism: a chapter you might want to skip    130
    • 21    The unicorn objection    138
    • 22    Is there an elephant in the room?    143
    • 23    Beginning to think about what God is like    153
    • 24    What can God do?    156
    • 25    What can God know?    166
    • 26    Can God know the future?    175
    • 27    Does God communicate?    178