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The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief Paperback – May 28, 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: GrandViaduct; 1 edition (May 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982408714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982408711
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mr. Hinman did his undergraduate work in sociology and debate at the University of Texas at Arlington. He earned a Masters degree in Theological studies where he focused upon history of doctrine at Perkins school of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He was a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Ideas (Intellectual History) and studied at the doctoral level for several years at University of Texas at Dallas. He began work focusing upon Derrida and the postmodern understanding of the self. He then switched and spent five years studying history and philosophy of science, focusing upon Newton, Boyle and the Latitudinarians. In the process of completing his dissertation, he was forced to terminate his studies ABD (all but the dissertation) due to family tragedies. Mr. Hinman published the peer-reviewed academic journal, Negations: an interdisciplinary journal of social criticism. He now works as an independent scholar.

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Customer Reviews

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This book is a very well and clearly written rational warrant argument for God.
James E. Bratone
A weakness of the book is that is somewhat limited in offering a broader view of the evidence and its implications.
David Stump
Those atheists, as well as people that are investigating belief, can learn from this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Stump on June 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
There is a subtle distinction between saying that something ought to be or must be true because of some combination of evidence and logic and claiming that it is reasonable to believe that something is true. It is reasonable to believe that the person lurking outside of your neighbor's window at night is dangerous, even though there may be an innocent explanation for their presence. Who would think you were being irrational if you called the police to investigate the matter? Even if it was all a misunderstanding your actions, based on the circumstances, would seem reasonable.

This is the premise of Joe Hinman's first book, "The Trace of God". In formal terms, the basis for such reasonable beliefs is described as a rational warrant. This is what Hinman seeks to offer as revealed in the subtitle, "a rational warrant for belief". To put it plainly: you don't have to be ignorant, stupid, or mentally incoherent to believe in God.

That message flies in the face of a popular depiction of those who do profess belief in God that has been perpetuated among some religious cynics and aggressive irreligionists. The image of the uneducated oaf who blindly accepts whatever his religion tells him is right no matter what. The image of a gloating imbecile who seems proud of his ignorance and whose pride in his anti-intellectual and anti-progressive stance is only matched by his inability to tolerate disagreement on matters of faith. To be fair, many who profess belief in God have helped to create and popularize this image and give those who deeply criticize religion increased credibility. This book is intended as a rebuttal to such an image and to those who professionally and casually capitalize on it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Witowich on June 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Perhaps in your life, at some point or another, whether desired or unanticipated, you may have had a supernatural encounter of a mystical, religious sort that gave you a greater awareness, or understanding of someone bigger than yourself, perhaps even God. But, maybe you tried to tell others about it, only to be met with skepticism, doubt and maybe even mockery. After all, you may have been told, 'there's no way to verify what you say took place'. there? And that is part of the facets found in Joseph Hinman's book, The Trace of God.
I was given this book for free to read through a relative who recommended it for my blog. I had never heard of the author, because this is his first offering. But, I soon discovered he had a very impressive set of academic credentials (see his biography no Amazon for more information). I was not required to write a positive review. And, I began to delve into and finished this intelligent work of literature.
The major premise of the book centers around the concept that mystical, religious experiences are not only real for many people, but can be verified scientifically. Using historical research data, the work of psychologists, scientists, philosophers and others, the author builds an impressive case for his arguments. In doing so, he deals with objections from others on the opposite side of the issue, including related skepticism about placebos, drugs, the issues of brain chemistry and other variables many would use to object to the validity of his conclusions.
I liked the fact that the author took somewhat of a systematic approach to the subject and the arguments against it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jason Pratt on June 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Theistic arguments often overlook the question of mystical experience due to difficulties in the necessary subjectivity involved, plus the obvious problem (for anyone with a modicum of experience in the topic) that the resulting doctrinal spread is practically as wide as all religions everywhere. Consequently such events seem of little use to most apologists of specific theistic religions or philosophies, where not outright self-contradictory or competitive or even hostile evidence: anti-religionists and even outright anti-theists may appeal to them as objective evidence (since the experiences objectively happen) against claims of special religious truths by any religion.

But the experiences do objectively happen, whatever their explanation(s) or subjective content, and so during the past century a body of work studying the experiences by scientific methods has been quietly grown and polished and continues to be grown through controlled studies on a regular basis.

Joseph Hinman has worked hard to collect and summarize typical studies for lay readers, creating an introduction to the field for people largely ignorant of the science of the topic (like myself). A former atheist, Mr. H was first led to study the field by mystical experiences of his own, and this route was what first led him to take the notion of some kind of ultimate God seriously. Later he decided some version of trinitarian Christian theism made the most sense to him, and has become (again like myself) a Christian apologist, but he also recognizes that the data from this field is spread too widely to point to more than a few characteristics of God (which could be considered one of the meanings of his chosen title for his study: only a trace can be detected by this method, but it is a trace.
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