"...carefully argued..." -- Free Inquiry, December 2004/January 2005
"Every chapter in this book is logical, definitive, indisputable (except by unteachables) and provides complete proof of its conclusions." -- Midwest Book Review,
"General readers...will want to browse this book. For believing theologians, it's a call to arms." -- Science & Theology News, March 2004
In this anthology, Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier bring together for the first time a comprehensive collection of articles containing arguments for the impossibility of God. The arguments are grouped into five areas focusing on definitional, deductive evil, doctrinal, multiple attributes, and single attribute disproofs of God.
Part one, definitional disproofs, comprises arguments for the impossibility of God based on a contradiction within the definition of God. Startling contradictions are found, for example, by J.N. Findlay, when God is defined as the adequate object of religious attitudes, and by Douglas Walton, when God is defined as a being than which no greater can be thought.
Deductive evil disproofs--based on a contradiction between the attributes of God and the existence of evil--compose part two. J.L. Mackie formulates and develops the famous logical argument from evil for the impossibility of an onmiscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God. Several scholars, such as Quentin Smith, explore and further develop this argument.
Part three contains doctrinal disproofs, each based on a contradiction between God's attributes and a particular religious doctrine or story. For example, Christine Overall shows that a God with the attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence is inconsistent with the doctrine of miracles. Richard Schoenig demonstrates that this God is inconsistent with the theistic reward/punishment doctrine regarding the postmortem fate of humans.
In part four, multiple attributes disproofs expose a variety of unexpected contradictions between different divine attributes. Theodore Drange, Matt McCormick, and many others offer arguments for the incompatibility of such attributes as omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, agency, and immutability. Michael Martin, for instance, argues that omniscience and omnibenevolence contradict one another.
The last part comprises single attribute disproofs, each based on a self-contradiction within just one divine attribute. For example, J.L. Cowan formulates and defends an argument that omnipotence is self-contradictory, and Patrick Grim presents a battery of arguments, including indexical, Cantorian, and Godelian arguments, that omniscience is self-contradictory.
Finally, in the appendix, there is a remarkable selection written by Paul Thiry d'Holbach in 1770 that anticipates many of the insights in this anthology.
By providing a diverse collection of arguments for the stunning conclusion that God cannot exist, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF GOD is an invaluable resource for anyone who ponders the nature and existence of God.