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Philosophy of Religion: Thinking About Faith (Contours of Christian Philosophy) Paperback – September 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0830838769 ISBN-10: 0830838767 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Contours of Christian Philosophy
  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 02 edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

C. Stephen Evans (Ph.D., Yale) is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities at Baylor University. He previously taught in the philosophy departments at Calvin College, St. Olaf College and Wheaton College. His publications include Why Believe?, The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History, Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love and Keirkegaard on Faith and the Self: Collected Essays.

R. Zachary Manis (Ph.D., Baylor University) is assistant professor of philosophy at Southwest Baptist University.

Customer Reviews

This book was first published in 1982.
Steven H Propp
This little book gives a very comprehensive and comprehensible overview of the area of philosophy of religion.
Jersey Girl
It gives a good survey of the agruement of the existence of God.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Everhard on September 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this short book, C. Stephen Evans has done an admirable job of making the incredibly complex world of the philosophy of religion attainable to new students in this field. As such, this work would make a very helpful textbook at the introductory college level. Throughout this work, Evans does a remarkable job of defining the seemingly unending array of technical verbiage, while giving helpful illustrations to explain their usage to the reader.

"Philosophy of religion," as a technical term, is the particular branch of philosophy which, as its name suggests, grapples with religious truth claims and beliefs through the grid of reason and logic. Among the topics covered in this book are:

the classical "proofs" for the existence of God,
the validity of religious experience,
the nature and possibility of miracles,
particular objections to theism (such as evil and the apparent contradictions of science),
and the unsettling difficulties related to religious pluralism.

Each one of these topic could easily fill an entire volume.

In this reviewer's opinion, the most helpful aspect of this work is the way that Evans fairly and evenhandedly deals with skeptics' attacks on theism. While Evans eventually does show the rationality of theism (and particularly Christianity) in each chapter, I don't think anyone could accuse Evans of attempting to deal with the skeptic's challenges unfairly or impatiently. Where he sees weaknesses in the theistic position, he does not attempt to hide them. Where he sees strengths, he likewise argues back with equal force.

No chapter of this book should be seen as an outright apologetic defense of theism in general or Christianity in particular. It is not a book on apologetics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ronald L. Klaus on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is one of several books in the series, Contours of Christian Philosophy. Evans is the series editor. In this book he defines philosophy of religion as "critical reflection on religious belief." The book is an excellent and readable introductory survey of the most pressing questions that have arisen about religious belief. It was refreshing to have all the various points of views on things presented fairly. Though a Christian, Evans doesn't duck the difficult questions that Christian faith poses.

In the first chapter he defines the field. He specially discusses two approaches to this field: fideism and neutralism. Arguments for and against these are presented. He prefers another approach, which he calls "critical dialog." He describes this as open dialog with people of opposing points of view with a "willingness to test one's commitments." There aren't any fixed rules for this, but this approach implies a willingness to listen to other points of view and respond courteously even if firmly.

The second chapter is about how theists attempt to discuss the existence of God. He explains the approaches of natural theology. The third chapter presents the four most common classical proofs of the existence of God: ontological (about reality and being), cosmological (the existence of the universe), teleological (design), and moral. He presents some of the responses which bring out why none of them are completely satisfying to unbelievers. This chapter includes an interesting "case study" concerning divine foreknowledge and human freedom. There is also a discussion of the problems of religious language.

The fourth chapter is about religious experiences. The reality of such experiences can't be denied.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Collier D. Dodson, III on October 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a digest of the major topics in the current study of philosophy of religion as it applies to christian theology. It contains no original source materials and is definitely written from a particular point of view rather than attempting to make an objective presentation of the topics at hand. This would probably be a fine companion to another of the philosophy of religion books that are collections of original sources but this book is certainly not adequate to cover the field by itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 50 REVIEWER on November 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1985 and more recently updated, "Philosophy of Religion: Thinking About Faith" is a good basic introductory text in the philosophy of religion. Many of the topics generally covered in a philosophy of religion text (or course) are found in this book. Evans discusses various concepts of God, the classical arguments for God's existence (ontological, cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments), religious experience, miracles, objections to theism (including the problem of evil and the challenge of science), religious language (including a discussion of the doctrine of analogy), and religious pluralism. Seeing that this is a fairly short book it is not surprising that none of these topics are covered in great detail. Someone looking for an in-depth analysis of any of the issues covered will want to look elsewhere. However, for someone looking for an overview of the field, this is a very good book.
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Format: Paperback
I have to preface this review by saying I am generally annoyed by philosophy books. It seems like some sort of Cracker Jack pseudo-religious material compiled by a too-smart-for-his-own good man who thinks he has the answers to life. Secular philosophers, especially, seem to have no filter for ridiculous concepts, and I have read the most glorious nonsense that I would have thought the author would have been too embarrased to claim. Okay, I realize this is not a fair statement, some philosophers are legit, and some good can be garnered from reading philosophy (at least in theory).

This book is from a Christian perspective, so that is somewhat better--at least it is coming from the proper mindset and potentially incorporating the correct presuppositions. Also, this is a survey, so that is better than an in-depth book that will go deep into the nonsense. Now that we know my presuppositions, we can proceed with the review.

Philosophy of Religion is a book about philosophy by philosophers. The main thrust of the book is to serve as a survey in the field of the philosophy of religion and to maintain a Christian defense and worldview as it pertains to that field.

As might be expected, the first portion of the book seeks to identify and define the term “philosophy of religion,” both by what it is and what it is not. Critical dialogue is selected as the methodology for the book’s approach. This term assumes reason to mean “the willingness to test one’s commitments,” thereby allowing an honest appraisal in grappling with the complex issues Christianity or any belief system faces. This permits the possibility and judgment as to which system(s) are viable.
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More About the Author

C Stephen Evans is a University Professor at Baylor University. He has published many books dealing with Kierkegaard, philosophy of religion, philosophy of psychology, and theology.

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