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Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity Paperback – February 1, 1987

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. P. Moreland (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He has authored or coauthored many books, including Scaling the Secular City, Love Your God with All Your Mind, and Immortality: The Other Side of Death.


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Product Details

  • Series: Scaling the Secular City
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 1st edition (February 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801062225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801062223
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Bruce H on September 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of defending Christianity rationally. That said, for a Christian new to this topic, a more entry-level book would be more helpful (e.g. Lee Strobel's two books: The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith).
The book is written to an educated audience and parts of it are difficult. The most difficult part was Moreland's discussion of the kalam cosmological argument and the mathematical part evidence therein. Moreland is an excellent scholar; in total, there are 359 footnotes where Moreland documents arguments, refers to other philosophers and so on. There is also an excellent bibliography at the end where Moreland classes the books under three categories: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Moreland covers what one would expect to find in an apologetics book:
The Cosmological Argument
The Design Argument
The Historicity of the New Testament
The Resurrection of Jesus
Much of this material can be found in hundreds of other books. In his chapter on the Cosmological Argument, Moreland focuses on a specific form of it, recently revived by William Lane Craig, namely the kalam Cosmological argument (in brief: If the universe had a beginning, then it was either caused or not-caused, if caused, then the cause is either personal or not-personal). In the Design Argument, Moreland covers different forms of Design, some of which are untouched, even if evolution is true (e.g. Design as Order, Purpose, Simplicity, Complexity, Beauty, Sense and Cognition, Information and Cosmic Constants).
Moreland's defense of the Resurrection is similar in many respects to Craig's; see my reviews of, "Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Fiction," and, "Will the real Jesus please stand up?
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic! Moreland tackles certain issues in a thorough way, which is not attained by any other book I know of. He very clearly lays down all the arguments and all the counterarguments and his conclusions seem inescapable. Here are the chapters:

1 The cosmological argument

2 The design argument

3 God and the argument from mind

4 God and the meaning of life

5 The historicity of the New Testament

6 The resurrection of Jesus

7 Science and Christianity

8 Four final issues

The excellent treatments of these issues are however not integrated, linked together. One must already have an idea of their relevance (I can recommend here the book of N. L. Geisler, "Christian Apologetics", Baker Book House).
I also would like to recommend Moreland's other books ("The Creation Hypothesis", "Jesus under fire", ...).

Bruno Granger,

The Hague, Hollan
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J. F Foster on August 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Moreland wrote this book 15 years ago at a time when the intellectual veracity of evangelical thought was being attacked from all sides. 15 years later, there is a growing, albeit grudgingly, consensus among secular scholars and philosophers that intellectual evangelicalism is not the intellectual lightweight that many once thought. Moreland has proven himself to be one of an increasing number of evangelical thinkers that have forced such a reappraisal due to his sound argumentation, internally consistent philosophy, and compelling apologetical viewpoints. This book was Moreland's attempt to bring his level of evangelical thought out of the seminary classroom and outside obscure scholarly journals, to everyday readers. I believe he succeeds in this effort.
Moreland clearly demonstrates himself to be of a classical apologetic bent, by putting forth and defending many of the traditional arguments for God's existence. His discourse on the cosmological argument is very good, as is his design argument. These philosophical arguments have been sources of severe debate for decades, not only between theists and non-theists, but also among theists of differing apologetic approaches. I happen to agree with Moreland that these arguments remain compelling and have actually been made sharper as a result of the many arguments that have been waged against them.
Overall, I felt that Moreland has produced an effective multifaceted presentation for why belief in the Christian God is plausible and reasonable, and that such belief appears to stand on firmer ground than believing in alternative viewpoints.
Although I admit that this is not a fair criticism, I will point out something to interested readers. A few years after this book by Moreland, Bill Craig came out with his 'Reasonable Faith'.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kushin on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
J.P. Moreland has done an excellent job in presenting a cumulative case for the truth of Christianity. Chapter 1--The Cosmological Argument--Moreland surveys the three forms of the argument and defends the kalam version. Much of this chapter tries to establish an ultimate beginning of the universe by appealing to philosophical and scientific reasons. Moreland makes the case that it is rational to believe that the universe has a personal cause (God).Chapter 2--The Design Argument--Moreland considers different kinds of design and different forms of the design argument. The richness and force of the design argument is shown in this chapter and common objections are considered as well.Chapter 3--God and the Argument from the Mind--In this chapter, Moreland presents a case for substance dualism and critiques different forms of physicalism as insufficient in explaining the mind.Chapter 4--God and the Meaning of Life--This section examines nihilism, optimistic humanism, the immanent purpose view, and Christian theism. The first three are shown to be inconsistent and lacking in their explanatory power and scope. Christian theism is defended as providing the necessary preconditions for a meaningful life.Chapter 5--The Historicity of the New Testament--Moreland attempts to show that the New Testament documents pass general tests for historicity and can be trusted as reliable. A defense of the early dating of the Gospels and Acts is given along with helpful cultural considerations which point to the general trustworthiness of the New Testament.Chapter 6--The Resurrection of Jesus--This chapter gives the usual arguments for the resurrection including the empty tomb, appearances, and early features of the church.Read more ›
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