108 of 138 people found the following review helpful
The single greatest defense of theism ever assembled,
This review is from: The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Hardcover)
As an atheist, I recognize this as the single greatest defense of theism ever assembled. Craig and Moreland basically made a list of the most compelling contemporary arguments for the existence of God, tracked down their foremost living defenders, and gave them 50-100 pages to make their case. The result is awe-inspiring, even for the atheist.
I do not expect the book to succeed in demonstrating theism, but it might take a full decade for me to fully analyze its meaty arguments and come to some conclusions.
Even if Earth's universities are emptied of theists by the year 2400, we may look then look back and see 'The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology' as the high-point in the philosophical defense of theism. So I give this book 5 stars not because it convinced me that a magical super-being spoke the universe into existence and revealed himself to ancient, ignorant people through the virgin birth of a man-god who did party tricks, got killed, then rose from the dead and flew off into the sky. No, I give this book 5 stars because it's the best defense of such a myth that can possibly be mustered.
High points include Craig & Sinclair's new deployment of the Kalam Cosmological Argument and McGrew & McGrew's astounding Bayesian defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.
Also, readers may be surprised to learn that the modal ontological argument has progressed a great deal since Plantinga. To my knowledge, atheists have yet to show what might be wrong with Robert Maydole's latest ontological argument, printed within.
Because I hold this book in such high esteem, I will be writing hundreds of pages in response to its arguments, starting with Craig's kalam argument and Linville's moral argument. You can track my progress at CommonSenseAtheism.com.
'The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology' is a tour-de-force of analytic philosophy. If the world is just, it will shape the theistic side of the debate over the existence of God for at least a decade. In my opinion, it has no equal among atheistic literature - yet.
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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2009 6:17:18 PM PDT
David M. says:
Did you actually read the whole book (or at least significant parts of it) before commenting?
In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2009 9:39:05 PM PDT
Luke A. Muehlhauser says:
Only significant parts. See the "it might take a full decade for me to fully analyze its meaty arguments and come to some conclusions" line.
Posted on May 29, 2009 12:38:08 PM PDT
D. M. Ohara says:
If Luke [?Skywalker?] imagines that Craig & Moreland believe that "a magical super-being spoke the universe into existence and revealed himself to ancient, ignorant people through the virgin birth of a man-god who did party tricks, got killed, then rose from the dead and flew off into the sky", then it could well take far more than a decade to "fully analyze its meaty arguments and come to some conclusions"!
It rather seems Luke might only be tilting against straw-men: not what the authors are actually proposing. A pity!
But even with such a back-handed compliment, it looks like a book worth engaging with. Sadly, it's out of my price-range!
In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2009 2:31:32 PM PDT
David M. says:
Out of my price-range as well, D.M. - don't feel bad, especially in this economy. I am sure the price will drop, though. But Luke's hand-waving rebuttals of theistic straw-men is a response I have come to, sadly, expect out of atheists, so I am not at all surprised.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2009 11:14:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2009 11:16:57 PM PDT
D. M. Ohara says:
David, I hope you are right about the price.
Two years ago, I bought from Amazon.co.uk Craig and Moreland's huge tome 'Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldwiew' at just £17.57 including P&P [= little more than $25].
A stupendous bargain!
Posted on Jun 4, 2009 9:12:12 AM PDT
John W. Loftus says:
While I know that the authors in this book cannot cover everything, it seems odd they never speak about how they came to believe in the first place and they never discuss the origins of those beliefs in the ancient world either. I don't think Victor Reppert came to believe because of the AFR, nor did Bill Craig come to believe because of the Kalam argument. What they have done is to defend what they were led to believe because of an initial commitment, usually in their youth, which controls how they approach these arguments. Now they find themselves defending an Anselmian conception of God arrived at by a long process of theological gerrymandering. What is completely lacking in this book is a defense of the veracity of the Bible from the assault of Biblical criticism, since reading it uncritically was what led them to believe in the first place. While we must evaluate the merits of their arguments separately, historical criticism of the Bible destroys the source of their beliefs on many fronts.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2009 9:39:50 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 15, 2009 4:53:05 AM PDT]
Posted on Jun 4, 2009 9:45:01 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 15, 2009 4:53:14 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2009 9:46:46 AM PDT
Micah Stott says:
John it sounds like you are a disgruntled former protestant. I wonder how many couples entered into their 50+ years of marriage upon a strict examination of all scientific and historical data prior to their commitment? Would you blame their decision on naivete or youth? If you want to find books on mystical experiences or conversion stories surely they are not wanting in the religious section of your local library. Some of us, after our experience with Christ, have faced all of life's challenges with a new sense of purpose and meaning. Others of us, like yourself, cannot stop talking about Christ even when we have come to reject him. What I don't understand is why some former protestants, christians, mormons or many others, develop this bothersome habit of staying so closely involved with the crowd they so clearly despise. No longer on the inside of course, they are content to reside on the fringes offering jeers and proclamations yet never finding a new crowd to join. If your new god is science or materialism or art or whatever you have come to embrace over and above god (for indeed you must replace god with something) then please give yourself to your new god. Embrace the world of geology or calculus or create a symphony but by all means do something with yourself. It's quite pathetic to see the scores of ex-this and former-that's never quite getting along with their lives. Give yourself completely to your sparkling new revelation and then come back and share your experiences with us.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2009 9:58:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2009 3:51:08 PM PDT
R. Demler says:
John: You are apparently confused about what "natural theology" is. If you weren't, you wouldn't be asking why the authors didn't include their personal testimonies. The same holds for your assertion that the book is "lacking" a defense of the Bible, seeing as probably only one of the ten arguments (the argument from miracles) even mentions the Bible. You might find it profitable to step away from your crusade for a while, take a breather, then think for a few seconds before writing.