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God and the Philosophers: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – January 11, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Here are essays by 20 theistic philosophers (those that identify the ultimate spiritual reality as God), including one by Thomas Morris himself. The essayists write of their spiritual journeys, explaining how they personally see the relationship between the spiritual and the philosophical in their lives and/or show with their own stories how a person of faith can grapple with some of the problems and prospects of religious belief from a philosophical point of view. Their religious backgrounds vary; among the 20, 5 are Baptists, a Methodist, 2 Presbyterians, a Protestant-turned-Catholic, 2 Jews, and a Jew-turned-Christian. William P. Alston writes of his way back to the faith through an experience of God at work in the Christian community. Laura Garc{¡}ia writes about her conversion to Catholicism from her evangelical Protestant belief. All 20 tell how their faith is consonant with their profession, a union of faith and reason. These contemplative essays are erudite to be sure, but there is much to benefit the patient reader. George Cohen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Twenty professional philosophers tell how they combine intellectual rigor with religious commitment. Although most of the great philosophers have believed in God, argues Morris (Philosophy/Notre Dame; The Logic of God Incarnate, not reviewed), many Americans today reckon that religion and reason are diametrically opposed. With this collection of essays, Morris assembles a cross section of scholars who effectively challenge this assumption. In brief chapters, the philosophers touch on themes such as their upbringing, conversion or religious development, and the ideas and thinkers who have most influenced them (Immanuel Kant, William James, and C.S. Lewis are among the most often mentioned). The general tone, however, is more personal than scholarly. We are treated to insights into the connection between spiritual life and the love of learning, as well as discussions of more obvious philosophical problems such as the nature of objectivity and the rational grounds required for religious assent. Eleanore Stump offers a moving account of how confrontation with the problem of evil can cause us to seek, rather than reject, God. Peter van Inwagen questions the basic assumptions of the Enlightenment, which he believes continue to distort our view of religion. David Shatz speaks of the dual program of Torah and secular studies at New York's Yeshiva University and of the intense relationship between religion and study in Orthodox Judaism. Morris lets his authors speak for themselves, without attempting to draw together what has been said. Although he provides a broad spectrum of Christian viewpoints, some readers will regret the absence of Islamic and Buddhist perspectives and of any discussion of the classical syntheses of faith and reason, such as that of St. Thomas Aquinas. The honesty and humanity with which these controversial themes are treated make for attractive reading. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 11, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195101197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195101195
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ben Kilpela on February 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Strange to say that this book was a deeper, more argumentative book than its companion "Philosophers Who Believe", which I also recommend highly. PWB contains the spiritual autobiographies of Evengelical Christians, and you would think they would have a lot to say in defense of their particular and usually exclusive faith. Yet though this book, "God and the Philosophers", contains the spiritual autobiographies of thinkers of many different faiths and religions, they are much more earnest in defending their faiths and making clear how they incorporate them into their work as professional thinkers. This book was probably the better of the two, though both are top-knotch. Read my review of the other at that site. The personal essays in this book are moving, sometimes combative, but always very personal and searching. Some of the authors appear to have thought this the occassion for offering arguments for their faith, for offering apologies; others that it was time to explore how they came to faith and how that faith plays a role in their lives as people and as thinkers. Once again, many of the essays are deeply inspiring, no matter what faith is being defended. One can hardly help but feel that God has been met, and met in many different places, on many different paths. This is encouraging and hopeful; and it calls us to keep exploring faith and to keep seeking God, to find ways to know and love him.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bethany McKinney Fox on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was great. I really enjoyed reading the autobiographical accounts of how each philosopher came to have belief in God--and it was interesting to see the varied paths that were taken to reach that belief. I was enthralled by the section written by Peter van Inwagen. And I was pleasantly surprised by Michael J. Murray's essay. He offers a rational and intriguing argument on how to reconcile the existence of an omnibenevolent God with the presence of evil. It's barely mentioned, and is only one or two paragraphs long, but it's really interesting because it's not the usual expanation people give for that age-old question. If you're not familiar with his line of argument, it's worth buying the book just for that. This book also represents the views of a couple of Jewish philosophers, so that offers a bit of variety from the Evangelical Christian and Catholic philosophers. Overall, the essays provoke thought and provide encouragement to other people who believe in God and also value rationality.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By William E. Turner Jr. on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Is it rational to believe in God? Do faith and reason go together? Can philosophers believe in God? This collection of autobiographical essays answers these questions in the affirmative. The main collective argument of this book is that it is rational to believe in God. Philosophers need not fear belief in God. Indeed this book shows in contemporary form how philosophers have historically believed in God.
These essays are personal journeys as to how twenty modern philosophers have handled their religious beliefs in their field of study. There is a diversity of Evangelical, Catholic, Episcopalian, and Jewish philosophers. The essays are of varying degree in quality and content.
Here are a few highlights: Peter van Inwagen's essay entitled "Quam Dilecta" is probably one of the best in this collection. He argues that in recent times the deck is stacked against religious belief in academic circles. It has been commonly accepted that religion and philosophy do not mix and that they must be compartmentalized. However he proves this to be a false disjunction. They cannot and should not be separated. In fact they should be wed together.
Brian Leftow's "From Jerusalem to Athens" is probably the second best essay in the collection. He argues that he is a philosopher because he is first a Christian. Christian belief is a help to the intellectual life and it was Christianity, which brought him to philosophy. He shows that historically it has been commonplace for philosophers to base their philosophy on theistic belief. He seeks to return philosophy to its rightful place as being rooted in the Christian religion.
Given the diversity of contributors it makes for a mixed bag of essays. I believe the worst one (biblically speaking) was that of Marilyn McCord Adams.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Trent Dougherty on February 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is *not* a book of apologetics. It is, rather, an insightful look into the personal lives and thoughts of some of the worlds top philosophers who are also Christians. It is very successful in that task. The contributors list is a veritable Who's Who of philosophy:

Thomas Morris

William P. Alston

Peter van Inwagen

Michael J. Murray

William J. Wainwritght

Merold Westphal

C. Stephen Layman

Jerry Walls

Robert C. Roberts

Jeff Jordan

Marilyn McCord Adams

Brian Leftow

George Mavrodes

Eleonore Stump

This book will challenge the discerning reader from both the rationalistic Christian perspective as well as the skeptic who is reading attentively. Very highly recommended.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Most of the philosophers in the history of Western Civilization have believed in God" editor Tom Morris writes in the introduction of this book, and so many of the American academic world's leading professional philosophers come forward to share their exciting journeys of faith and life in this exciting collection. Readers come to realize how many of these writers have not only clung to their faith in a very secular world, but have continued to examine and strengthen it after finding truth and reason in Christian theism. Many of the philosophers briefly describe how they find their positions of faith to be the most reasonable to the other alternatives(I say briefly because I know each one could turn their essay into an entire book). They also strongly examine the weaknesses associated with their beliefs(such as the problem of evil) by carefully examining those weaknesses and giving strong arguments towards those weaknesses. The philosophers also show how religious and spiritual faith is not simply based on reason(like demonstrating a mathematical formula's truth or demonstrating the strongest chemical reaction) but also a great life commitment. Each demonstrates how their faith challenges them to become a better person physically, ethically, spiritually, as well as intellectually. I recommend this book to all who want to better understand how religious faith and spirituality are not only compatible with intellectual endeavors, but also greatly enhance them.
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