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The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God by [Mackie, John L.]
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Length: 278 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. L. Mackie is at University College, Oxford.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2849 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 13, 1983)
  • Publication Date: January 13, 1983
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EWFZUK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,504 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. S. Heersink on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, together with Swinburne's "Coherence of Theism," is among the most valuable books on the philosophy of religion from an Anglo-American analytical-philosophical perspective. While Swinburne goes back to Anselm and Aquinas, this book considers mostly post-1500 theodicy, still covering the ontological argument from Descartes' and a posteriori arguments from Hume. The full spectrum of the arguments for and against God are here, including Kant, Newman, Kierkegaard, James, Phillips, Leslie, Kung, et alia.
First, a brief exposition of a philosopher's argument is surveyed, followed by an analysis of where the philosopher's strengths and weaknesses lie. There is even a section on the most notorious of all arguments against the existence of God: the existence of evil. In the final analysis, Mackie believes theism is itself a mircle, hence the title. Overall, this book makes a significant contribution to beginning philosophy students who want a rigorous examination of the crucial questions of God's existence and non-existence. The writing is clear, generally concise, exceptionally well-constructed, and only occasionally labyrinthine.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Australian philosopher John Mackie, sadly now deceased, has always been one of my favorite philosophers, and when I heard from several religious people that this was in their view the best critique of religion, I decided to buy it at once. The book is indeed highly rewarding of its praise, for it is the most thorough philosophical (here as opposed to scientific) critique of all (mono)theist apologetics written so far.

Unlike such recent anti-theist writers as Dawkins and Dennett, Mackie is extraordinarily charitable to the theists' claims, making sure to mention every possible argument in their favor and using only counter-arguments that could not possibly be considered controversial or contingent on a given scientific theory, etc. In fact, he is much more charitable in some places than is really necessary; I would not have the same patience with the meaningless phrasings of Swinburne or Küng that Mackie has. In any case, Mackie diligently and cordially addresses each of the main issues surrounding theist apologetics: miracles, the ontological argument, the cosmological arguments (including Kalam), moral arguments, the issue of consciousness, free will, the argument from design, the argument from faith alone (Kierkegaard), the argument from popularity (William James), the problem of evil, the possibility of atheist morality, and so on.

Mackie shows himself at his best here - an impressive array of arguments and decisive counterarguments, even against such modern superstars of apologetics like William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga, are dealt with in sequence with seemingly no effort at all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most admirable literature of philosophy of religion that J.L. Mackie has contributed before his death at 1981. Fortunately, it was published posthumously in 1982 for future readers to examine Mackie's critique against Theism. What makes this critical book so impressive and excellent is Mackie's astute, comprehensive, and sophisticated critiques, along with his fair-minded attempts to understand the Theistic arguments, against theistic arguments; Mackie's analysis on the stregnths of theistic arguments shows that he is capable of being intelelctually fair-minded and practices the pinciple of charity, but his critique on the weaknesses of those arguments also demonstrates his impressive ability to pinpoint the vital weaknesses in those arguments with deadly precision and insight that could make anyone doubt those rebust arguments for theism. What obviously attracts me to this book was the simple fact that Mackie's rigorous and analytical critique against Theism is in contrast unquestionably superior to any arguments made by other atheists such as the New Atheists. While the New Atheist will simply ridicule theism, Mackie takes Theism so seriously that he uses the most of his intellectual resources to show why Theism is such an ironically miraclous claim. Instead of wasting your time reading "God Delusion", "Letters to the Christian Nation", "God is not great", or any of that new Atheist nonesense that is only good for simple-minded Atheists who want an easy argument against obviously horrible formulated arguments for Theism, it is a MUST to read this book to find yourself reading critiques against the more rebust (or more interesting or eccentric) arguments for the existence of God made by Plantinga, Swineburne, and others.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
this volume will serve, for a long time to come, as the supreme case against the existence of God. written with special attention to swinburne's masterful THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, the book is a must have for any reader in the philosophy of religion.
that said, i don't think that mackie's case is quite so strong as many maintain. his argument from evil is, to many, not strong enough to serve as a foundation for affirming the non-existence of God, and for me, not even reason enough to 'flinch' if you are a theist. his rebuttals to various forms of the teleological argument seem to miss the point entirely (see mark wynn's GOD AND GOODNESS). et cetera.
but i would be lying if i didn't admit that this book has force. as a theist, i constantly felt intrigued, but never 'threatened'. i highly recommend this book alongside swinburne's THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. God bless and shalom :-)
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