The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God

By J. L. Mackie | Go to book overview

Preface

My aim in this book is to examine the arguments for and against the existence of God carefully and in some detail, taking account both of the traditional concept of God and of the traditional 'proofs' of his existence and of more recent interpretations and approaches. While my own view is atheist, I have tried to give a full and fair hearing to the opposing case. In particular, I have tried to present as well as to answer the philosophical arguments for theism given recently by Richard Swinburne in The Existence of God and the very different case developed by Hans Küng in Does God Exist?

I have discussed this question over many years in various lectures and seminars, but not much of what appears here has been published previously. Chapter 6 is an expanded version of "'Die Ohnmacht moralischer Gottesbeweise'", which appeared in Glaube und Vernunft, edited by Norbert Hoerster ( Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1979), and Chapter 9 incorporates and develops the arguments of "'Evil and Omnipotence'", published in Mind 64 ( 1955) and of replies to several critics of that article. I am grateful to the editors and publishers for permission to use these materials again.

I am particularly grateful to Norbert Hoerster, who has read the whole typescript and has suggested many improvements, and also to Michael Ayers, Robert Gay, John Lucas, Derek Parfit, Gerhard Streminger, Timothy Stroup, and David Wiggins for a number of corrections and suggestions.

J. L. M.

September 1981

-vii-

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The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Miracles and Testimony 13
  • 2 - Descartes and the Idea of God 30
  • 3 - Ontological Arguments 41
  • 4 - Berkeley's God and Immaterial Realism 64
  • 5 - Cosmological Arguments 81
  • 6 - Moral Arguments for the Existence of a God 102
  • 7 - The Argument from Consciousness 119
  • 8 - Arguments for Design 133
  • 9 - The Problem of Evil 150
  • 10 - Religious Experience and Natural Histories of Religion 177
  • 11 - Belief Without Reason 199
  • 12 - Religion Without Belief? 217
  • 13 - Replacements for God 230
  • 14 - Conclusions and Implications 240
  • Index 263
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