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The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

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The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) [Paperback]

John R. Shook
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


"I do, however, think that the book will enable readers to enter into debates about God in a fully rational way, and with an awareness of the complexities of theistic arguments. It is one for students of the philosophy of religion to study, and they will do so with profit." (Church Times, 20 May 2011)

"The book reminds us, also, of how many of the current debates about God at best beg the question and at worst take the form of ranting dogmatism." (Network, 2011) 

"As a philosophy instructor (who frequently teaches philosophy of religion), I find Shook's book to be comprehensive in its coverage.  The theological arguments, as well as the atheological responses to them, are presented in accessible terms, and analyzed perspicuously."  (Metapsychology, February 2011)

"The God Debates is a clear, accessible, up-to-date account of philosophical wrangles about the existence of God. Shook re-organises the arguments in an interesting way ... [and] takes on more esoteric arguments such as the claim that we must presuppose the existence of God if we are to engage in reasoning and scientific inquiry. In all, this is a lucid, concise, up-to-date, yet comprehensive account of intellectual debates about the existence of God. It is easy enough to be used by senior high school students, and could certainly be useful in undergraduate courses in philosophy of religion." (Metamagician and the Hellfire Club, October 2010)

John Shook, author of The God Debates, will discuss effective ways for nonbelievers to engage believers over that very question: "Does a god exist?" Maybe it's not the old, familiar arguments themselves, but new strategies and tactics that make the atheist message get heard and produce results." (Science in the City, February 2011)


"If you've been puzzled by the complexity of the recent debates for and against God, this is the place to start. Shook lays out the questions, controversies, and schools of thought with amazing clarity, gradually building his case for a "staunchly naturalistic yet faithfully ethical humanism" ... Clear and blunt, with a light touch of irony."
Philip Clayton, author of In Quest of Freedom and the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science

"Knowing for sure is not necessarily a virtue. By mapping scriptural, intellectual, and mystical theologies as well as naturalistic ethical worldviews, John Shook helps us to understand the rich range of human ideas and arguments, and hence ourselves and our neighbours. Shook invites us all to become winners when he writes in the preface "real winners are those who think about the questions, reflect on proposed answers, and come up with new questions." A most interesting and valuable book."
Willem B. Drees, professor of philosophy of religion, Leiden University; editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science; author of Religion and Science in Context: A Guide to the Debates

From the Back Cover

The existence of God is a subject that has occupied individual thinkers and entire schools of philosophy for thousands of years, and it remains one of the greatest debates of our day. To equip readers with the information to enter the fray, The God Debates presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God. By mastering the clear and concise strategies put forth in each chapter, anyone can participate in a thoughtful debate over whether God exists, or simply gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of religion’s conceptual foundations. The best arguments and counter-arguments regarding God's existence are clearly elucidated, and both believers and non-believers will become acquainted with reasoned arguments for and against the existence of God. Moving well beyond Medieval and Modern arguments about God's existence, The God Debates brings theology’s story right into the twenty-first century by considering various existentialisms, postmodernisms, and fideisms, as well as the ongoing controversy of evidentialism/presuppositionalism. A final chapter considers the possibility of harmonizing reason and faith in light of several current worldviews, including fundamentalism and secularism. The God Debates provides believers, and non-believers alike with invaluable information to participate in a thoughtful religious dialogue -- and gain insights into the timeless quest for knowledge that can give meaning to our lives.

About the Author

John R. Shook is Vice President for Education and Research and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York. He also is Research Associate in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo. His recent books include The Future of Naturalism (2009) and Dewey's Philosophy of Spirit (2010).
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