The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

Synopsis

The God Debates presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God, allowing readers to participate in a debate about the existence of God and gain understanding and appreciation of religion?s conceptual foundations.
  • Explains key arguments for and against God's existence in clear ways for readers at all levels
  • Brings theological debates up to the present with current ideas from modernism, postmodernism, fideism, evidentialism, presuppositionalism, and mysticism
  • Updates criticism of theology by dealing with the latest terms of the God debates instead of outdated caricatures of religion
  • Helps nonbelievers to learn important theological standpoints while noting their shortcomings
  • Encourages believers and nonbelievers to enjoy informed dialogue with each other
  • Concludes with an overview of religious and nonreligious worldviews and predictions about the future of faith and reason

Excerpt

As a philosopher and a professor, and as a participant in god debates, I hope to enrich our understanding of religion and the human world. Philosophies and religions offer their learning, but I wonder how well we are learning from each other. Debating a question, like any conversation, is an opportunity for intellectual growth. Arguments and debates have winners and losers, yet judging a match only raises more debate. That’s the point – the real winners are those who think about the questions, reflect on proposed answers, and come up with new questions. The winners are the learners, not those sure that they already know.

In the god debates there are many proposals about what a god may be like, and what a god is supposed to be doing. New speculations about this or that god are not foreign to religions. No religion today is precisely what it was 500 years ago, or even 100 years ago. Thinking, debating, and learning enrich religion as much as anything. Doubting and questioning, and the fresh insights aroused, are the signs of intelligence at work. Believers dismayed by religious questioning overlook nourishment for their religion’s vitality.

Many kinds of gods are considered in this book, revolving around the theistic god of the Judeo-Christian traditions. Where the specific God of the Bible is discussed the upper-case ‘God’ is used, and in all other cases the lower-case ‘god’ is used. No disrespect is intended by using ‘god’, quite the opposite – the diversity of conceptions of god ought to get due attention and respect. There simply is nothing that everyone means by ‘god’ any more. The conformity imposed by medieval thinking upon Western civilization has mostly dissolved, and the West has greeted the East. To avoid presumptive agreement with any single concept of god, our conversations shouldn’t be about some upper-case ‘God’ as if that term means the same for everyone.

Vibrant dialogue about religion in the twenty-first century now includes both believers of many religions and nonbelievers too. Nor can we overlook, as the subtitle of this book indicates, how there are plenty of people feeling “in between.” It is easy, too easy, to sharply divide people into believers and nonbelievers. There are so many different notions of divinity available for consideration, and new ideas about god, religion, and spirituality emerge constantly. A broad spectrum of belief has brightened a complex religious . . .

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