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Reason to Believe: Why Faith Makes Sense Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586170880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170882
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on October 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the 35th anniversary edition, second printing of a book first published by Eerdmans in 1974. How does this revised and expanded version compare with the original? Joseph Tremblay wrote in a review of the new edition at "Permanent Things in a Bookcase": "Richard Purtill writes with a lucidity reminiscent of Frank Sheed....As Sheed walked the common man through theology, so Purtill guides us through a philosophical reasoning of faith."

The first thing one might ask is "Who is Frank Sheed?" The answer to that comes in the second appendix in this new edition, "Chesterton, the Wards, the Sheeds, and the Catholic Revival". The revival referred to took place in Britain, and led to his life-long interest in the philosophy of religion, as Purtill notes in this autobiographical essay. The first appendix, "Justice, Mercy, and Atonement" is a revised version of a paper read at Notre Dame University, which a search of the Internet shows is one of the author's most cited and quoted from essays. There's also a new preface, updated bibliography-- the sort of revisions that characterize a second edition.

How does this book differ from the numerous "answers to Dawkins" sort of books published recently? Even in the first edition, this wasn't your basic apologetics book, "apologetics" being taken to mean "a defense of belief". In the preface, the author says it's the third book he wrote, the other two being philosophy textbooks, and the first on "the philosophy of religion". Philosophy in this sense is not concerned with the truth of a proposition, but the validity of the links in the argument for or against it. Not what to think, but how to think.

The book is divided into three sections, "Objections", "Reasons", and Revelation" (plus appendices).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike Robinson on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Richard Purtill is a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at WWU, as well as an author of sci-fi fantasy books and other volumes on apologetics and philosophy. He is well known for his novels of the "Kaphtu" fantasy world. But in "Reason to Believe" Purtill offers a fine update of his classic apologetic work from the 1970's. Purtill circumspectly demonstrates that there is a rational basis for theism. The author evaluates the some familiar objections to belief in God as he asserts that the arguments for theism are rational and sensible.

The three major sections in "Reason" are:

- Objections (he answers many skeptical accusations)
- Reason (discusses many metaphysical and ontic issues)
- Revelation (provides apologetic insight into Christian theism).

Some interesting quotes:

"Many people think mainly with their emotions" (p. 60).
"If the reality we believe in is ultimately personal, then a total commitment may be the only appropriate response" (p. 79).
"Not only is an ultimate explanation needed, but unless one is forthcoming, al intermediate explanations are left suspended in midair" (p. 67).

Men must keep in mind that humans make mistakes in calculations, logic, and memorization. Furthermore, men do not always agree on what is logical or reasonable. Reason is largely reliable, but our rational fitness must be built on the edifice of the truth of theism. God must be to make reason, reasonable.
An Argument from Reason: Rational men use reason; however, a non-rational big bang and its aftereffects fail to account for reason whilst reason necessitates God.

The late CRI researcher Bob Passantino named this book as one of his favorite apologetic works to read and reread. C.S.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By jmkwisconsin on February 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Did not like it. I love theology, especially Old and New Testament, pretty much anything about Jesus. I found this book to be long and very uninteresting.
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