This is a worthy follow-up to Wielenberg's excellent "Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe." Using a "conversation" among C.S. Lewis, Bertrand Russell (who plays more of a cameo role), and David Hume, Wielenberg explores key arguments for and against the Christian god. He plays fair with all the arguments, going so far as to put weaker arguments in a better and brighter modern light, and pointing out drawbacks to venerable and well-respected older arguments. If the hellfire and brimstone "New Atheists" have piqued your interest in faith-free thought, the much gentler, more amiable tone Wielenberg adopts in this book will probably give you more space and quiet to think through the issues raised in the more hysterical screeds. For example, while some non-Christian authors dismiss Lewis with a hand-wave and one-finger salute, Wielenberg recognize that Lewis's arguments are novel and often ahead of their time. And sometimes, as with his argument from Reason, quite convincing.
One area where I might have taken an additional step that Wielenberg has not taken is to suggest that, far from being the near-tie that he portrays the debate between theism and atheism being, the very fact that God's existence is so arguable is a perhaps deciding factor in favor of atheism. If, as Lewis maintains, God wishes to make himself known to us and our ultimate happiness depends on a relationship with Him (to the extent that God will use severe pain as his "megaphone" to get our attention), why is this same God so coy? The fact that such a conversation is possible, and that upon final reflection, while theism remains a bare possibility, atheism has the better arguments, IN ITSELF seems to argue strongly against a personal God. It could be that some sort of god does exist and has no interest in revealing itself to us. If this is the case, surely we should respect its privacy and quit bothering it all of the time.
All in all, a superb entry into the continuing discussion about God's existence, written with philosophical precision, but completely comprehensible to any interested layperson.
on January 1, 2008
A great opportunity to share in the age old debate betweem three great minds. Regardless of your personal beliefs about who, what and the why
of creation, I believe you will enjoy this book.