Peter Angeles sets out to assemble an anthology--"of value to undergraduate philosophy classes as well as to the general public" --that presents the case against God. For both audiences, the decision to concentrate on authors "of known stature" was a wise one, because of the ease with which less well known writers could be dismissed by popular audiences (including audiences of undergraduates). The list of authors is a veritable who's who of twentieth-century philosophy, and the selections (as Angeles promises in the preface) are not snippets. Readers who work their way through the 17 selections in the anthology will get a substantial sampling of both the style and the substance of philosophical argument as practiced by a range of thinkers. One quirk of the collection is its concentration on material from 1950 to 1970 (13 of the 17 selections). This does not lessen its value as an anthology, but it may spur some readers to look closely at the context those decades provided for philosophical reflection on God's existence. Steve Schroeder
Is a God concept really necessary for humans to enjoy a sense of significance and a life of value and dedication? Does human kind really live in a purposeful universe with a divine creator, upon which we can rely to reshape things to come? These questions and many others have been pondered for centuries by the great minds in their day. This noted collection of essays rejects the view that moral values and human purpose require divine sanction.
Critiques Of God is the only collection of writings to present, in a comprehensive way, the case against belief in God. The arguments for God's existence, the validity of mystical experience, and the importance of the God concept for the development of morality and meaning in life are critically evaluated by sixteen well-known philosophers and psychologists. Included are works by Kurt Baier, John Dewey, Paul Edwards, Antony Flew, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, Sidney Hook, Walter Kaufmann, Corliss Lamont, Wallace I. Matson, H. J. McCloskey, Ernest Nagel, Kai Nielsen, Richard Robinson, Bertrand Russell, and Michael Scriven.
In no other volume are the most fundamental questions of religion explored with such force and conviction. Included are discussions of the meaning of the existence of God, the relationships between faith and mysticism, reason and science, fate, the problem of evil, ethics without God, and immortality.
Peter A. Angeles is retired from the Philosophy Department at Santa Barbara City College (California). He is the author of The Problem Of God: A Short Introduction. -- Midwest Book Review