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The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology Paperback – Feb 27 2012
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"If natural theology is overdue for a comeback, this work will help it on its way, and, for skeptical readers, there is much here to go on thinking about for months to come (making it a good catalyst for intelligent debate)." ("Reference Reviews, " February 2010)
"All of these essays show sophistication and deserve wide attention. Common objections to the theistic arguments are considered and logical proofs are helpfully provided when appropriate." ("Religious Studies Review, " June 2010)
"Laudable and timely." ("Church Times", January 2010)
"The Companion contains papers on a rich diversity of topics that are representative of the new natural theology that emerged in the 1970s with books by Alvin Plantinga, William Craig and others. The rapidly evolving lines of thought are increasingly influential in the field of philosophy and the essays in this collection are "cutting edge" works, such as the very recent formulation of a new version of the ontological argument for God's existence by Robert Maydole. The high quality of the essays make this book required reading for philosophers of religion and its diverse topics will interest thinkers in many fields."
–Quentin Smith, Western Michigan University
"This collection is a major contribution to the intellectual discussion of classical theism. Its philosophically sophisticated essays provide essential background reading for all those engaged in serious debate about the rationality of belief in God today."
–John F. Haught, Georgetown University
"I used to think natural theology was a dead area and not worthy of mourning. The scholarship represented by this volume has convinced me I was wrong. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology aptly demonstrates why natural theology has become an exciting scholarly area again. These essays combine cutting-edge philosophy with recent scientific advancements to provide a thorough, timely resource balancing confidence and humility, rigour and readability."
–Justin L. Barrett, University of Oxford
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
And when a reviewer writes that they will be "dismantling" the arguments shown here, simply disregard this. The philosophers and theologians who write essays in this book are top notch; atheist philosophers have a hard enough time trying to rebut them, and a 3rd year civil engineer student is attempting to? He is simply preaching to the choir (ironically, an atheist choir). I have witnessed quite a few layman try to disprove the Kalam, or the Modal, etc., only to use faulty logic or completely misunderstand the arguments. Christopher Hitchens admitted to being beat by William Lane Craig in a debate, and renowned atheist philosopher Walter Sinnot-Armstrong admitted to the coherency of theism during another Craig debate, and yet the average layman believes he has a chance??? Go look on Reasonablefaith.org to read all the poor attempts at outsmarting Craig.
My main point is this: Do not obsess. I went through a time when I was rampantly reading apologetics, and then I would turn around to read atheistic literature. I did this because I was constantly in a state of, "But what if Craig/Plantinga/Moreland/etc. is wrong?? Look at all the atheists today! Surely they can't ALL be wrong!" This line of thinking is natural, though can be very detrimental. Even the great Socrates recognizes the problem here: "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing. And that is that I know nothing." We cannot know the answer to every question or every objection. Do not constantly worry about atheists attempting to disprove God, for this leads no where. Eventually you will have to make a choice, and stick with it without having to worry about possible objections.
Oh, and order this for your library! That's an easy way to get it (and without cost!).
Note: This book is definitely advanced. If you would describe yourself as "the layman," this book is not for you. I immerse myself in apologetics, but there is quite a bit that I don't understand. You need a thorough education in certain aspects in order to understand EVERY argument from top to bottom. Nonetheless, it is a joy to read.
Be warned, this book assumes you have an understanding of the vocabulary and methodology of analytic philosophy. The ontological argument assumes that you, the reader, understand propositional calculus. This book is not for the layman.
William Lane Craig has put out a beautiful argument in the Kalam Cosmological Argument that has been taking on numerous gunfire from opponents, however in the end it still stands unblemished. It seems as though many have tried and THOUGHT they succeeded in debunked the KCA only to find that their thoughts have been put to shreds due to lack of philosophical and scientific knowledge or they just don't understand the argument. I laugh at the flops and hopelessly bad objections to the KCA and it seems like the critics are running out of steam. it seems as though that the attention this argument gets, speaks volumes. Now the argument just got stronger.
Premise 1 is what most of the critics have TRIED to bring down constantly, but always seem to fall short. So this time Craig wants to make it more iron-clad then it already is and brings some help alongside him with a man by the name of James Sinclair who combined with Dr. Craig really show how virtually indestructible this powerful argument is. This is as of 2011 most likely the best essay in regards to the description of Kalam Cosmological argument.
Then you have J.P Moreland with the argument from consciousness, Tim Mcgrew with the argument for the resurrection (though I think N.T Wrights "Resurrection of the Son of God" is still the best book on this subject). Robin Collins provides a great dissection of why the "fine-tuning" argument is possibly the greatest evidence for a higher power that we have as of today.
It is interesting how we don't see Robert Merrihew Adams or John Hare writing about morals in this book (as I consider them the best in this subject), but WLC and JPM choosing Mark linville to write about morals. Mark did good, and considering I've hardly heard of him before this book, I'm definitely considering checking out his new book on morals that is coming out later this year. Robert Maydole tweaks Plantinga's Ontological argument and molds it into a formidable argument for God's existence. Some of these others I've never heard of, but what impressed in what I read.
All in all this book is worth the price tag, but if you are not experienced in philosophy or apologetics it might take a couple of reads, before you can fully understand it.
I do not expect the book to succeed in demonstrating theism, but it might take a full decade for me to fully analyze its meaty arguments and come to some conclusions.
Even if Earth's universities are emptied of theists by the year 2400, we may look then look back and see 'The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology' as the high-point in the philosophical defense of theism. So I give this book 5 stars not because it convinced me that a magical super-being spoke the universe into existence and revealed himself to ancient, ignorant people through the virgin birth of a man-god who did party tricks, got killed, then rose from the dead and flew off into the sky. No, I give this book 5 stars because it's the best defense of such a myth that can possibly be mustered.
High points include Craig & Sinclair's new deployment of the Kalam Cosmological Argument and McGrew & McGrew's astounding Bayesian defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.
Also, readers may be surprised to learn that the modal ontological argument has progressed a great deal since Plantinga. To my knowledge, atheists have yet to show what might be wrong with Robert Maydole's latest ontological argument, printed within.
Because I hold this book in such high esteem, I will be writing hundreds of pages in response to its arguments, starting with Craig's kalam argument and Linville's moral argument. You can track my progress at CommonSenseAtheism.com.
'The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology' is a tour-de-force of analytic philosophy. If the world is just, it will shape the theistic side of the debate over the existence of God for at least a decade. In my opinion, it has no equal among atheistic literature - yet.
The Leibnizian cosmological argument(Alexander R. Pruss),
The kalam cosmological argument (William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair),
The teleological argument: an exploration of the fine-tuning of the universe (Robin Collins),
The argument from consciousness (J. P. Moreland),
The argument from reason (Victor Reppert),
The moral argument (Mark D. Linville),
The argument from evil (Stewart Goetz),
The argument from religious experience (Kai-Man Kwan),
The ontological argument (Robert E. Maydole) and
The argument from miracles: a cumulative case for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew)
It is a tour de force of Christians leading thinkers. I would highly recommend it to both atheist and theist. Though it is not written in a popular lay person level, it is still powerful for those who wish to take Christian's claims seriously.
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