The Non-Existence of God

The Non-Existence of God

The Non-Existence of God

The Non-Existence of God

Synopsis

Is it possible to prove or disprove God's existence? Arguments for the existence of God have taken many different forms over the centuries: in The Non-Existence of God , Nicholas Everitt considers all of the arguments and examines the role that reason and knowledge play in the debate over God's existence. He draws on recent scientific disputes over neo-Darwinism, the implication of 'big bang' cosmology, and the temporal and spatial size of the universe; and discusses some of the most recent work on the subject, leading to a controversial conclusion.

Excerpt

When I was a philosophy student, I once told my tutor that I would like to write an essay on the existence of God. 'My interest in my maker ceased when I read Hume's Dialogues', he loftily replied, leaving me in no doubt that my interest should be similarly short-lived. I never wrote the essay, but nor, in spite of reading Hume'ss Dialogues, did I lose the interest. Since those distant days, the philosophy of religion has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance. In those bad old days, with a few honourable exceptions, it was dominated by the woolly pieties and crass objections of third-rate thinkers. Since then, the field has been taken over by imaginative, creative thinkers who are themselves cutting-edge contributors in other areas of philosophy. These philosophers have brought with them an array of the sharpest weapons in the armoury of analytic philosophy. This combination of able thinkers and sophisticated techniques has transformed the field in the last few decades.

The Non-existence of God is intended as a modest contribution to this new way of tackling the philosophy of religion. The book began life as a rather bland introduction to the field. It aimed to be accessible to those who had not studied philosophy before, it was determinedly non-partisan, and it covered not just questions about God, but related issues in the philosophy of religion such as life after death and the meaning of life. In working on the book, I have come to abandon all of those early aims. First, writing at an elementary level was too restrictive. Points had either to be more simplified than I was comfortable with, or else to become intolerably prolix. This problem was solved by changing the intended audience, which is now at third-year undergraduate and postgraduate level. This has allowed the material to become more sophisticated and more original while still remaining, I hope, clear and accessible.

Second, the book has become avowedly more partisan. I still try to make the strongest case I can for positions which ultimately I think are mistaken (there is after all not much point in showing that the weakest defence of a position is open to attack, if other defences are invulnerable). But my own views on the various issues are much more transparent, and in many places I

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