Top positive review
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Excellent intro to subject
on May 1, 2004
Does God Exist? is based on the 1998 public debate between Christian philosopher William Craig and atheist philosopher Anthony Flew. The debate itself was held on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of a similarly titled debate between Russell and Copleston in 1948.
The layout follows a common format for debate-type books. First, a transcript of the debate is provided, followed by comments from subject matter experts representing both sides of the argument. Finally, the debaters are given an opportunity to make closing comments and respond to points raised by the other contributors.
The debate itself was quite good with the discussion covering all the major arguments, cosmological, teleological, existence of evil, etc. In fact, the 1998 debate was superior to the Russell-Copeston debate wherein Russell was largely evasive and did not actively engaged in debate (still an interesting read though). For those new to this area William Craig is the preeminent contemporary Christian apologist (arguably also one of the finest current day philosophers). In addition to his impressive intellectual abilities Craig is a brilliant debater and excellent communicator. Anthony Flew is also a well-known philosopher who has written and debated on the existence of God and other related philosophical questions. Although I respect Flew as a philosopher, he was overmatched by Craig both intellectually and rhetorically.
In my opinion the weakest part of the book was the commentary by the subject matter experts. This is unfortunate, because quite often it is one of the more enjoyable aspects of this format. Michael Martin's comments were interesting, however, the others particularly David and Keith Yandell were weak and added little.
In summary, good book that provides a strong overview of contemporary arguments for and against the existence of God. If someone were to read just one book of this type, however, I would recommend God? God? is a debate on the same issue between Craig and Walter-Sinnott-Armstrong. Craig is outstanding in both these efforts, but Sinnott -Armstrong presents a stronger case than Flew for atheism.