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Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers Paperback – October 29, 1997


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Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers + God and the Philosophers: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason (Oxford Paperbacks)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830815430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815432
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Eleven American, British, and Canadian philosophers contributed to this collection of essays, addressing the theme of their practice of Christianity. Both the Roman Catholic and various Protestant traditions are included here, but the majority of writers are affiliated with or have been influenced by the philosophy staff at Calvin College and Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Alvin Plantinga, Mortimer Adler, and John Rist number among the authors, all of whom write well and many of whom write compellingly. However, an overall lack of clear audience focus--some are writing for scholars, some for the convinced, some as though they were addressing the callowest undergraduates--calls into question the usefulness of the volume as a whole. The best place for this in the library may be where undergraduate students browse for relaxation or inspiration.
- Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Kelly James Clark (Ph.D., Notre Dame) is Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. Kelly has held visiting appointments at Oxford University, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Notre Dame. He is former Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College and Calvin College. He works in philosophy of religion, ethics, and Chinese thought and culture. His other books include Return to Reason, Our Knowledge of God: Essays on Natural and Philosophical Theology, When Faith is Not Enough, 101 Key Philosophical Terms and Their Importance to Theology and The Story of Ethics.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ben Kilpela on March 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Philosophers telling stories: that's what you get in this finework. Some of the story-tellers are quite well known, such as MortimerAdler and Richard Swinburne, that redoubtable defender of the existence of God. It's an act of humility and generosity for these men and women, who have spent their lives in debate, sometimes heated raucous, page to page combat, to step back, cook off, and tell why they believe in God and Christianity and how they came to believe. Few came to believe, it is interesting and of great importance to note, through academic philosophy. That's a point worth putting a lot of thought into. The stories they tell are deep, thought-provoking, sometimes inspiring, always fascinating. Plenty of arguments for faith are offered, but the thinkers are seldom harsh toward alternate viewpoints. I often thought as I was reading that this is how thinkers should talk about their ideas all the time. One suddenly realizes that all the academic blather that gets passed off as thought these days was and is of little importance in the lives of these people. Philosophers are people like us, thinking, hoping, searching, thinking again -- and again -- trying to get it right, hoping to get it right. One comes away from this book perhaps a little disturbed by all the disagreement floating around, but encouraged by all the faith, and faith gently and stirringly defended. Anyone interested in religion, Christianity, philosophy, theology, and the personal spiritual essay, which has become so popular in just the past three years, will find much to enjoy and profit from in this book. Hats off to the authors! By the way, there is a book that is very similar, somewhat better, and just as profound: "God and the Philosophers", edited by Tom Morris. The books are worth reading together. END
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this to be generally interesting, but not exactly what the title had led me to expect. I was expecting a more philosophical/intellectual discussion of belief - i.e., why these scholars find Christian theology convincing notwithstanding their training in philosophy. Instead, this might just as easily be "Lawyers Who Believe" or "Accountants Who Believe." In other words, the contributors' descriptions of how they came to their beliefs and how they maintain them in an academic environment generally struck me as no more (or less) profound or well-thought-out than you might get from any group of reasonably intelligent Christians. The essays are well-written, candid and diverse, but overall the book seemed to convey no deeper message than: "See, not all academics regard Christianity as nonsense." I thus had the feeling that the book might be aimed primarily at college-age readers rather than those of us who have struggled with our beliefs at least as much as these folks and were hoping for something meatier. Too often, I was left wondering: "So precisely why, having been steeped in philosophy, are you a Christian? Can you explain it a little more deeply?" I give this four stars because I did enjoy all of the essays and found them to be generally worthwhile, albeit not what I was expecting from "11 leading thinkers." I also appreciated the fact that the book has no particular agenda, except to demonstrate that belief isn't incompatible with a high level of intelligence and academic training; the contributors' beliefs seem to range across a wide spectrum of Christianity. (Be forewarned that some of these essays are VERY candid: One contributor discusses his promiscuous homosexuality and struggles with masturbation at greater length than we perhaps needed in order to get the picture. On the other hand, it's admirable of him and the others that they were willing to be this honest, because a dishonest spiritual autobiography would be pretty useless.)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit a bias against, and consequent ignorance of, academic philosophy. I tend to think all human beings are philosophers by nature, but suspect professional philosophers may forget they are human beings. One measure of my ignorance is that, even though I've written a couple rather philosophical books on the truth of Christianity in relation to other religions, I had never heard of the authors of this book, aside from Plantinga, Adler, and Wolterstorff.
This book seems an ideal introduction to them for someone like me. (Or, yes, the intellectual but down-to-earth uncle you're looking for a present for.) Most of the autobios are genial and human, written with sometimes surprising honesty. Reason is not discarded as irrelevent to the spiritual quest, nor given a naive carte blanche, but seems to integrate naturally into the whollist ic engagement with reality that our spiritual lives, with their sometimes ambivalent attitude towards truth, tend to be.
Some of the stories are pretty far out; one or two a bit dull. Frederick Suppe seems to have lived his life on the edge, and made a wild story even more dramatic by his matter-of-fact style and repressed passion -- a lonely thrill-seeker spending a life trying to choose between God and sin, apparently doing top-notch philosophy (as both vocation and avocation) all the while. Wolterstorff's warmth and unabashed affirmation of his roots makes a good read. I noticed a lot of parallel's between Basil Mitchell's story and C. S. Lewis' growth, as described in Surprised by Joy, and enjoyed the story. I could also relate to Richard Swinburne's honest confession that he tended to be rather glad Christianity was a minority religion, "The more clever people there were to argue against, the better!
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