141 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2003
We live in a modern culture that is not interested in the cultivation of the mind. This is true inside the church as well as outside. In "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview", authors Moreland and Craig, who are among the best in Christian scholars, place all of the fundamental concepts needed to provide a strong foundation for intellectual growth in one volume. The book is primarily written for the Christian but is very accessible for the non-Christian who is interested in the debate.
The book begins by laying down a philosophical groundwork concerning concepts such as logic & rationality, epistemological issues such as truth and knowledge, and various important issues in metaphysics. Gradually, as the concepts build, the book covers areas in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, ethics, concepts of God, arguments for the existence of God, Christian doctrines, etc.
This book is a philosophical text and should be treated as such. That is, it should be rigorously studied and not just read. Most people who have not contended with weighty concepts in philosophy and religion may find some sections tedious and difficult to grapple with-hence the need to study. Fear not however, for the book is intended for the beginner and intermediate levels of understanding. Bold face text will alert readers to key definitions and concepts, and the chapters end with summary and list of concepts that should be mastered. Footnotes are placed at the end of book so as to not clutter the text.
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview is an indispensable scholarly work that combines classical apologetics with fundaments philosophical concepts. It is sure to provide a solid platform by which the Christian can conduct his or her intellectual life. It also exemplifies the intellectual rigor that we have come to know in J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig.
Aristotle once said that the unexamined life is not worthy to be lived. With this book, one is well on their way to an examined life. It is high quality indeed
76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2003
I highly recommend this outstanding book. Moreland and Craig are two intellectual leaders in a growing movement of Christian philosophers who have offered to both the general public and the academic world sophisticated and compelling arguments for why it is rational, and sometimes obligatory, to embrace the beliefs that are central to the Christian worldview--e.g., the existence of God, the existence of the soul, the reasonableness of miracles, the coherence of the Incarnation, the possibility of theological knowledge, etc. If you have an interest in philosophy and its relationship to the rationality of Christian belief, do yourself a favor and buy this book...
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2006
This book is an excellent introduction to philosophy from a Christian perspective by two of the world's leading evangelical philosophers. This textbook covers everything from epistemology to metaphysics to philosophy of science to ethics to philosophy of religion. Craig and Moreland divide it up according to their specialties: Craig does most of the epistemology and philosophy of religion (and philosophy of space/time), while Moreland writes about metaphysics and philosophy of science. The book is written for those with no expereince in the field, though by no means is it a light fireside books.
This comprehensive and thorough book acts partly as an introduction to philosophy and partly as an apologetic for the Christian worldview (this is evident in the chapters on God's existence, the coherence of theism, and substance dualism). Keywords are bolded, and each chapter has a useful summary at the end. There is also a helpful bibliography for further, more in depth, reading.
If I was forced to say anything less than bubbly about it, I would say that at times, Craig and Moreland act like their specific view (for Moreland, substance dualism, for Craig, Molinism and God's omnitemporality) are the Christian view, when, in fact, there is dissent among Christian thinkers. Even though I agree with Craig and Moreland, I still think they should have been more up front about that. (Though, in all fairness, Moreland does make that point in his chapter on free will.) However, this is fairly minor and does not prevent the book from getting an A+ from me.
If you can only have one book on Christian philosophy, this is definitely the one to get.
55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2005
I certainly agree with those five-star reviewers about the thoroughness and depth of this volume. It offers up a vigorous defense of a robust Christian worldview, and does so in a way that is unmatched by any single volume of which I am aware. There is much good philosophy here, from its consideration of contemporary issues in epistemology, including the internalist-externalist debate and Plantinga's views on warrant as proper function, to a rare and careful discussion of issues in general ontology, then a careful assessment of alternatives to dualism in its discussion of the mind-body problem, and on to its work in the philosophy of time, God's relation to time, and various concerns in philosophy of religion.
But I have found that the majority of even the best undergraduate students find it all but incomprehensible. I suppose one nice thing about this is that it makes me feel needed: they couldn't get through the text without a guide. But I know that many students are simply frustrated, with the result that the hedonic calculus ranks their first encounter with philosophy on roughly the same level as a root canal or a prostate biopsy. Keeping up class morale has become a sisyphusian task.
This raises the question: Where is the market for this text? For what level is it intended? It is described as an "introduction," but, from several semesters of use, I do not recommend it for introducing undergraduates, unless, perhaps, they are in an honors track or the like. Nor would I think that the class time of graduate students is well spent in this text, as grads should be ready to head straight for the Kripkes and Kims and Quines. Perhaps it best serves as a ready reference on one's shelves as a primer and/or refresher for those who have been introduced by kinder, gentler means. And it could prove to be a valuable single-volume resource for pastors, theologians and seminarians. (But for this anecdotal caveat: a bright and well-educated theology/biblical studies colleague of mine recently confessed his struggles with it before moving on to something else in disgrace.)
A less significant point: Here in my third semester of use, my own copy has physically fallen apart--cracked spine, loose pages. I have not used the book to mash out hamburger patties or to play fetch with my border collie, so I might have expected greater longevity.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2006
To begin I must comment that before entering college I studied no logic of any kind whatsoever. I tend to be a rather emotional person and had this feeling like I was destined to be that way forever. Enter Dr. Rapinchuk...my first religion professor, who everyone tends to refer to as a "brain." He challenged every presupposition I had ever had about my Christianity and forced me to look for more than just feeling reasons for my belief in God. This semester myself and one of my best friends are using this book as the main text in an independent study apologetics class that Rapinchuk is directing for us. I have only one word to describe this book... unbelievable... in more ways than one.
Beginning this book was unblievably hard. I have had one intro level philosophy class and I was glad for that. There are a lot of new and confusing terms in this book. If you learn the terms, the book gets much easier as you go along, so that after you are about 6 chapters in you may finally be able to say, "That was an easy chapter."
Reading this book is of unbelievable worth. Moreland and Craig are positively amazing apologists. They understand their subject matter and do a fantastic job of explaining it. Every issue that they address is extremely well covered. They bring up an amazing number of arguments against their points and then show how they can be defeated, creating amazingly strong positions. They begin with the basics, so it is important not to dive into this book in the middle. However, we read the first 7 chapters for class and then have had some specific apologetics questions such as, "Does God Exist?" which is covered later in the book, and I was able to read and understand those chapters having read the basics already. However, the format is logical, and it is best to read the book from beginning to end.
I pray that this type of work will become more prevalent and that more schools will require this type of reading. Moreland and Craig are fighting a battle for our minds, a very important battle which we have been losing until now. I think the most important message of this book is that faith and reason are not separate. Reason provides a strong foundation on which to base one's faith in God.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2005
Moreland and Craig have put together a very large work that systematically addresses fundamental issues in philosophy and philosophical theology from a Christian perspective. Christians will benefit from mastering the arguments that are sketched in this fine book. The real strength of this work is found in the clear explanations of the terms and arguments in the main fields of philosophy. Some of the strongest points in the book include Moreland's and Craig's own specialities like philosophy of mind, universals, philosophy of time, and philosophy of religion. Readers will learn the most from these sections.
I noticed a significant increase in the depth and breadth of argumentation that occurs in the final division of the book that delves into philosophical theology. This final section may be the most difficult section for students to understand. However, this final section may also be the most rewarding part of the whole book. Even among those who have a fairly good mastery of philosophy will probably find the material in the final part of the book engaging and informative.
Unlike typical introductory textbooks, Craig and Moreland have taken an approach that argues for particular positions in each chapter. In some ways, this is good for it provides some guidance for students who might be overwhelmed and perplexed amidst so many philosophies. This might stifle some independent thought, though, among young Christian philosophers. While I agree that libertarian free will, molinism, God's temporality, God's non-simplicity, and their analysis of the Trinity are all correct, it would be wrong for introductory students to get the impression that all Christian philosophers are (and must be) in agreement with Craig and Moreland on these controversial positions. Nonetheless, it is refreshing to read philosophers who give a fair treatment of various philosophical positions, but who aren't afraid to tell you what they think, and back it up with convincing arguments.
Finally, as an introductory textbook it is deficient in communicating any sense of the history of philosophy. I would encourage teachers who wish to use this textbook to supplement it with material that gives students proper instruction in the history of philosophy as well.
I recommend this book as a handy guide through the main positions and arguments in philosophy. For the reasons I've noted above, I rate this as a very good introduction to philosophy, but it's not quite five stars.
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2003
I find this book very helpful as a reference. It gives philosophical arguments for Christianity in a thorough and scholarly way. Moreland and Craig are libertarian free thinkers, but they are fair to other theological perspectives. Chapter 13 is worth the price of the book alone. The various views of man's freedom are discussed. All Christians should understand these key questions. Does God predestine everything in our lives, as Calvinism teaches? Or, does God allow men to have freewill? One view says God determines everything we do. The other view says in some ways man is a self determining creature. This has been a hotly debated topic for many centuries. Moreland and Craig handle it admirably.
Christians should be encouraged that this book exists. The old saying, "Park your brain at the door, come in and praise the Lord!" Is just silly. Christianity is a thinking man's religion. For too long Christians have hid while secular science and philosophy have been dogmatically taught in our schools and media. Christians have the arguments to take on the secular thinkers on every subject. The challenge before us is to take up the truth like a sword and jump into the battle for souls. This book will sharpen your sword and prepare you to debate the challenges to your faith.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2011
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Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview deserves a huge amount of credit for what it accomplishes. It describes with reasonable depth every major area of philosophy, from metaphysics to philosophy of science, in a Christian context. For this reason, this book has much value for both the believer trying to develop a more sophisticated worldview, or the non-believer who is looking for the most thoughtful version of Christianity as a whole.
Still, the ideological biases become apparent when the actual points in the book are subjected to more critical scrutiny. A salient example will help show this point. A recent survey on philpapers.org found that only 13.7% of philosophers accept libertarian free will, and many philosophers have gone so far as to call libertarian free will incoherent. The book's section on free will, while seemingly leaving the debate open to the reader, ultimately ends up solely making points critical of compatibilitism, making no room for the substantive professional critiques of libertarian free will. This is no surprise since free will is necessary for the authors' defense against the problem of evil and the defense of Christian Particularism. None of these doctrines or notions are defended (or likely can be defended) from a compatibilist or determinist standpoint, which goes far in explaining why the authors neglect to provide the substantive critiques of libertarian free will.
The authors' use of selective criticism can be found in many chapters including The Mind-Body Problem, Philosophy of Time and Space, nearly all of Part V- Ethics, as well as the chapters on the existence of God.
The ideologically driven will find over 600 pages with which to fuel a raging confirmation bias. Skeptical believers and non-believers will find an impressive tome, which, despite the flaws, will provide a highly sophisticated and worthwhile example of a Christian worldview.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2004
J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, both currently teaching at Biola University have collaborated on a philosophical encyclopedia of sorts to introduce philosophy and logic to the Christian public. This book is written for people who may have had no philosophy, a little philosophy or maybe as a quick reference resource for those who have had intermediate or advanced training.
Philosophers, whether one likes it or not, have contributed, both for good and bad, to such an extent in this world that knowing basic terms, ideas, arguments, and ideas is essential for Christians so that we can dialogue with others, including other Christians who may have a different perspective on a Varity of issues.
The first chapter is brilliant in introducing certain terms and ideas as expressed in the arena of ideas. If there is a weak chapter, it is the next one which is on argumentation and logic. It is actually very good, but in comparison to Geisler's and Brooks' "Come Let Us Reason", it comes up a little short; but I throw this in there, just to point out, that its weakest chapter is actually very good.
The book deals very well with Skepticism and metaphysics. Also they tackle some ideas that many Christians assume are axiomatic, however, many skeptics have serious questions and chapters like "Personal Identity and Life After Death," "Scientific Methodology," the chapters on ethics are just outstanding. While they only scratch the surface in these discussions, they do so in a way that provides a full content of information for the reader has a well rounded backdrop for further study or even conversation.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2006
In Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig offer a comprehensive introduction to the study of philosophy from a Christian perspective. In their broad overview they seek to introduce readers to the principal divisions of philosophy, including: ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of religion. They write with their characteristic clarity and insightfulness. Their arguments are clearly outlined, and they present competing theories with fairness and accuracy.
A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. J. P. Moreland is currently the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California and a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. He has written, edited and contributed to over twenty books with publishers ranging from academic presses of Oxford University Press, Routledge, and Wadsworth to the more Evangelical presses of Zondervan and InterVarsity Press. Among Dr. Moreland's books are Christianity and the Nature of Science, Scaling The Secular City, Does God Exist? (with Kai Nielsen) and Philosophical Naturalism: A Critical Analysis. He has also published more than fifty articles in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, MetaPhilosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Southern Journal of Philosophy, Religious Studies and Faith and Philosophy.
A graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity Schools with M.A. degrees in Church History and the Philosophy of Religion, Dr. William Lane Craig earned his advanced degrees at University of Birmingham and the University of Munich. Dr. Craig is the Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He has written or co-written more than twenty books, including: The Kalam Cosmological Argument, Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom, Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology and God, Time and Eternity. He has published articles in philosophical and theological journals such as The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Modern Theology and Religious Studies. Dr. Craig is also a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.
This text is geared toward the new student of philosophy or Christianity who has a limited background in the issues at hand. For a very reasonable price, this is a good source of information best suited for graduate students or lay readers with rhetorical sophistication. Some of the articles can be quite advanced, employing a daunting vocabulary, but while this might make for a challenging read, it will only aid students in expanding their knowledge. Moreland and Craig's writing is concise, yet very thorough. The work is extremely well organized and chapters flow perfectly as each section compliments the next. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview is one of the best introductory texts on philosophy written in quite a while. The textbook is comprised of six sections; the introduction discusses philosophy and the basics of argumentation and logic. The next segment, Epistemology, covers rationality, the problem of skepticism and rival theories of truth. Issues such as mind-body dualism, as well as human freewill vs. divine predestination, are addressed in the third chapter, Metaphysics. Philosophy of Science is the fourth chapter and has a nice summary of the scientific method as well as the integration of science and religion. Part five, Ethics, deals with the basic questions of morality, virtues and ethics and contains a comparison of relativism with absolutism. Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology is the last section covering arguments for the existence of God and the possibility of miracles.
This important new book is a guide intended for use as a textbook in courses on philosophy of religion. It aims to bring to the student the very best of explanations and arguments on important topics in the field. This text is a great reference tool emphasizing the Christian perspective; it offers some first rate introductions, explanations and provides the reader a list of suggested titles for further study. The only downfall, if you could call it that, is the fact that this text written from a decidedly Christian point of view. This should come as no surprise give both Dr. Moreland and Dr. Craig are known as contemporary Christian apologists. Someone who is looking for a text that is a collection of viewpoints or all inclusive in its approach may be disappointed with the authors' presentation. Yet in spite of its slant, it would make an outstanding primary text for an upper division undergraduate or graduate course in philosophy of religion. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview would be a valuable addition to the library of anyone who is interested in the subject of philosophy or Christianity.