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Warranted Christian Belief [Kindle Edition]

Alvin Plantinga
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is the third volume in Alvin Plantinga's trilogy on the notion of warrant, which he defines as that which distinguishes knowledge from true belief. In this volume, Plantinga examines warrant's role in theistic belief, tackling the questions of whether it is rational, reasonable, justifiable, and warranted to accept Christian belief and whether there is something epistemically unacceptable in doing so. He contends that Christian beliefs are warranted to the extent that they are formed by properly functioning cognitive faculties, thus, insofar as they are warranted, Christian beliefs are knowledge if they are true.

Editorial Reviews


"Warranted Christian Belief belongs on every Christian scholar's shelf"--SCJ 5

"[A] fine book; it has more virtues than a brief review can enumerate ... WCB adroitly extends Plantinga's project of developing a distinctly Christian philosophy, and in particular an epistemology of Christian belief."--Trinity Journal


"Warranted Christian Belief belongs on every Christian scholar's shelf"--SCJ 5

"[A] fine book; it has more virtues than a brief review can enumerate ... WCB adroitly extends Plantinga's project of developing a distinctly Christian philosophy, and in particular an epistemology of Christian belief."--Trinity Journal

Product Details

  • File Size: 991 KB
  • Print Length: 536 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195131924
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 30, 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0059EQ4DY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,431 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De jure March 12, 2001
By Nathan
There are two different types of criticism commonly given against Christian belief - one type is what Alvin Plantinga calls the De facto objection, which says that Christian belief is false because the evidence has proven it so - the other type (that is becoming more and more popular) is the De jure objection (the subject of this book) which claims that Christian belief is irrational, intellectually unacceptable, or morally suspect - irrespective of whether it is true or false. The beginning of the book discusses the difference between the De facto and De jure objections, and like the whole book it is very clear and illuminating -- The exact opposite of what you will read in this review --
Part 1 (Is there a question) begins by discussing (or searching for) some of Kants arguments concerning the impossibility of referring to anything beyond the world of experience -phenomena. Many others have taken up this 'argument' claiming that Kant proved that the language we use when speaking about the phenomenal world can not speak about the transcendent. Apparently, when the Christian speaks about God, ascribing properties to him -like infinite, ultimate- he is talking nonsense.
Part 2 (what is the question) deals with what is meant by an objector when he says that Christian belief is irrational. After much consideration the most plausible answer is found in Marx & Fraud -the same basic type of objection can be found in Nietzsche and Durkheim too.
In Part 3 Plantinga further develops his model for warranted Christian Belief (even if you have never read the other two books in the series - or God and other minds - you'll still be able to understand). This part of the book is the main response to the masters of suspicion (M&F), showing the futility of their objections.
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134 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith is the reason for the Christian faith March 9, 2000
Plantinga has devoted his scholarly life to answer the question whether the Christian faith can be justified, and this book is the fruit of forty years of excellent work. How can the Christian faith be justified? The usual answer is to give arguments for the truth of Christian convictions (from popular writers like Josh McDowell to first rate philosophers such as Richard Swinburne). Plantinga took a different route by asking: what is justification (or warrant for knowledge)? Why must Christians prove his convictions based on principles accepted by non-Christians? The first part of the book review and refute different theories about how Christian faith may be justified (e.g. evidentialism) or dismissed (e.g. Marx and Freud). The second part argues that experience of faith of an ordinary Christian is a perfect justification for the Christian faith, unless one can show that the Christian faith is likely to be false. The third part looks at reasons for arguing Christian faith is likely to be false (biblical criticism, pluralism, evil and suffering). Plantinga think that the truth of Christian faith cannot be demonstrated or proven, but he provides coherent and compelling reasons that faith is a sufficient justification for Christian belief. The arguments sometimes get very complicated, but Plantinga is exceptionally clear and precise and this work is more accesible to non-philosophers than his previous works.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maximally Excellent May 8, 2006
In WCB, Plantinga repeatedly refers to Alston's PERCEIVING GOD as "magisterial." Alston's book is indeed that. But Plantinga's own work in this volume is that and more.

WCB is a philosophically sophisticated defense of even the simplest (and least sophisticated) faith. He challenges a very common objection to Christian belief: "I am not in a position to say whether Christian theism is true or false (who could know a thing like that?), but one thing I do know is that it is not warranted." Plantinga argues, successfully, I think, that this position itself is without warrant. Why? For the simple fact that *if* Christian theism is true, then believers probably *are* warranted even in simple faith. A serious challenge to warrant must therefore include a serious challenge to the truth of the belief.

Warrant is whatever, when added to true belief, yields knowledge. And Plantinga carries into the WCB discussion the results of the prior two volumes. A belief is warranted when it is the product of a belief-producing mechanism that is (a)functioning properly (b) truth-aimed, and (c) functioning in the epistemic environment for which it was designed to acquire truth.

This account seems to do the best job of making sense of those sorts of basic beliefs that all of us hold without having inferred them from other beliefs. I remember that it rained yesterday. What is my evidence that this memory is reliable? From what more basic and certainly known belief may I infer this? Nothing, really.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
After a month of mulling over this book I'm still not sure if I've digested it enough to give it a sufficient review, but I'll give it a try. Alvin Plantinga is the most important and influential evangelical philosopher of the last half-century, and Warranted Christian Belief (hereafter WCB) will probably end up being seen as his most important work, especially when taken along with the two earlier works in his "Warrant" trilogy, "Warrant and Proper Function" and "Warrant: The Current Debate." But WCB is important not because it is some sort of magnum opus of proof that Christian belief is true (these would fall under what Plantinga calls the "de facto question") but because it provides a defense of Christian belief as being rational, justified, and warranted (the "de jure question"). Plantinga goes to great pains to define these terms. What does it mean, for example, when someone says a belief is irrational? Here he is at his best, as he is essentially defining the terms of the debate. Plantinga is an epistemologist, and thus his primary task as a philosopher has been the study of knowledge: what it is and how we get it. The Warrant trilogy has dealt with the idea of what actually constitutes a justified belief. In other words, it has dealt with the question of under what conditions an individual has an epistemic right to hold a certain belief or belief system. Thus you will find no defenses of the empty tomb here, nor any complex argument for God's existence. These are answers to the de facto question, but not the de jure question. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Plantinga, and all of Analytic Philosophy, will ultimately go by the wayside in the grand scope of philosophical history. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ryan L. Godfrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent approach to explaining belief
Strong in methodology and addressing the mindset and challenges to belief today.
Published 7 months ago by Trent McEntyre
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a very good read.

It is intermediate read.....just to note

Recommended highly for all serious christian thinkers and skeptics alike. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Wanjuki
5.0 out of 5 stars Best philosophy book of our age
This is the best philosophy book of our time. Plantinga is awesome! He shows how belief in God can be rational. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Danny Mac
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and powerful
Plantinga goes right into the justification of everything and makes a great case for why Christian belief is Warranted. Read more
Published on July 26, 2011 by Cornell
5.0 out of 5 stars Plantinga's Third on Warrant
"Teddy Roosevelt a century ago ... waded into a fight over violence in football and possibly saved the game--if not from extinction, then at least from relegation to second-tier... Read more
Published on April 21, 2011 by Mike Robinson
2.0 out of 5 stars The Strange World of Alvin Plantinga
Talk about an ivory tower academic who is out of touch with the real world. If you have the same confidence in your belief in God as you do in your sense-perceptions and memmories,... Read more
Published on February 14, 2011 by maverick909
5.0 out of 5 stars Warranted Christian Belief
This can be a very difficult book to read; used as a text book. This is an excellent book in the area of Christian epistemology.
Published on March 23, 2010 by Michael A. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Acta est fabula plaudite
Alvin Plantinga, "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God", earns the aforementioned worthy title all over again with this formidable scholarly masterstroke. Read more
Published on February 24, 2009 by Truman Chipotle
1.0 out of 5 stars Unwarranted Christian Belief
I gave this book one star. I think it is all but mandatory to read it (that would suggest five), but not for the purpose of agreeing with it. Read more
Published on December 17, 2008 by Eugene R. Walker
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