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Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God Hardcover – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573922285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573922289
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Drange (philosophy, West Virginia Univ.) mounts a focused attack on belief in the existence of God based on the careful delineation of two arguments. Part 1 of the book sets forth the definitions of terms basic to the arguments that follow. The eight chapters of Part 2 are devoted entirely to refuting "The God of Evangelical Christianity," while in Part 3 only a chapter a piece is allotted to orthodox Judaism, liberal Christianity, and broad theistic belief. Drange sets out to refute the seven defenses against the Argument from Evil and the five defenses against the Argument from Nonbelief; his "overall aim is to show that each of the 12 defenses [of belief in God] is refuted by at least one good objection." Drange's goal is to provide material of interest to a "dichotomy of readers": evangelical Christians vs. everyone else and professional philosophers vs. lay readers. Within limits, he is successful. The arguments are clear and accessible but rigorous enough to interest scholars. Recommended for philosophy of religion collections.AEugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Theodore M. Drange, Ph.D. (Morgantown, WV) is a professor of philosophy at West Virginia University.

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Customer Reviews

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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By jlowder@infidels.org on August 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
_Nonbelief and Evil_ is a fascinating, thorough, and (in my opinion) persuasive presentation of two arguments for the non-existence of God: nonbelief and evil. Drange presents his own unique formulation of the Argument from Evil, along with rebuttals to virtually every theistic defense against the argument from evil, including Alvin Plantinga's Free Will Defense, John Hick's Soul-Making Theodicy, the Unknown Purpose Defense, and much more. And the Argument from Nonbelief -- the argument that the mere existence of nonbelievers constitutes evidence for the non-existence of God -- is an original argument by Drange. I think the book will serve as a major contribution to the philosophy of religion. _Nonbelief and Evil_ also includes some interesting appendices on related issues including the argument from the Bible, the concept of an afterlife, and the fine-tuning argument. I enthusiastically endorse Drange's book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Drange's book, with more clarity and meticulous attention to detail than perhaps any other on the subject, demolishes traditional beliefs with two simple arguments. The existence of nonbelief (in God) and evil (premature death and suffering), as Drange persuasively demonstrates, may very well constitute an insurmountable challenge to theists, especially evangelical Christians. Both arguments severely undermine the basis of Western theology, exposing the flagrant fallacies and inconsistencies thereof in clear, straightforward language. In each chapter, Drange swiftly obliterates a common theistic defense against the arguments, first focusing primarily on the dilemmas faced by evangelical Christians and then considering other concepts of a deity, namely those of Orthodox Judaism and God in general. No matter what theodicy is brought forward, Drange amply demonstrates why it fails, ultimately concluding that it's exceedingly unlikely that there exists a god of the sort in which people typically believe. He assigns scores to both arguments as applied to the various concepts of God, thereby assessing the overall strength of each and the probability of their conclusions' truth. In so doing, Drange renders it obvious that most Western concepts of God are irreparably flawed, asserting that evangelical Christians in particular are utterly irrational in clinging to their beliefs. In the final pages of the book, Drange explains why he belives ANB (the Argument from Nonbelief) to be the more forceful of the two, a contention which, while perhaps rather controversial, certainly has its merits. I unreservedly and enthusiastically recommend that everyone read this book, particularly those who are confident that their theism is tenable but who may have failed to duly explore opposing arguments.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
TEN stars.
This book is outstanding. Drange formulates evidential arguments against god ideas based upon the existance of evil and nonbelief. The conclusion of these arguments is that god probably does not exist. One can conclude that there is very good reason not to believe in god. The atheist therefore is justified saying both "I don't believe in god", but also the stronger, "I believe (with good reason) that god (as defined in this sense) does not exist", not as a declaration of atheistic faith but as a conclusion of rational and solid and comprehensive argument.
These arguments, particularly the nonbelief argument, are aimed squarely and effectively at evangelical concepts of god. Drange uses Biblical support to show that god wants everyone to be saved and "come to know the truth" by the time they physically die, and yet we observe that even after 2000 years only 33% of humanity is Christian (and by the way, that number is dropping). The Argument from Non-belief establishes a necessary (to the Biblical literalist) characteristic of god, and then shows how that necessary attribute is incompatible with widespread nonbelief.
If god is omnipotent, he is capable of giving us unambiguous evidence (and has done so in the past, if biblical miracles are any indication). The theist might respond that god has a higher desire, the desire we maintain free will, and unambiguous evidence would necessarily violate our free will. Drange responds saying that evidence doesn't violate free will, it enhances it. We have a desire and a will not merely to believe, but to believe that which is TRUE, about a topic which (if true) is maximally important, our everlasting existance (or even infinite torture).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Theodore Drange's achievement in Nonbelief and Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God sets a standard that few other authors
can match. Drange is meticulous, precise, thorough and very painstaking. No one who reads this book should expect entertainment or recreational reading. Drnage is utterly serious and deeply committed to the project of constructing the most powerful arguments against the existence of God that can be conceived. He can only be compared with such atheist authors as Michael Martin, J.L. Mackie, and Kai Nielsen. He has not yet received the kind of attention that the last three have, but that may soon change. Drange does something that few other atheist philosophers do. He straightforwardly explains that no argument on this subect is possible unless one begins by stating which "God" it is that one is claiming exists or does not exist. The God of the Bible? The God of classical western philosophical theism? A sort of God-in-general? The God of evangelical Christianity?
Drange makes the invlauable point that each of these alleged deities is different in important ways and, thus, different sorts of arguments and analyses must be made in the case of each one.
Drange repeatedly and exhaustively considers possible defenses
against his arguments. He makes numerous admissions of possibly strong counterarguments from theists and he characterizes theistic ideas and arguments in a remarkably fair and objective way.
Drange has published most of his philosophical work in professional journals and on websites, including his own, which I encourage readers of this review to discover for themselves.
It is a matter or mind-boggling importance that Drange is dealing with here.
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