Belief in God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

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Clarendon Press, 2005 - Philosophy - 272 pages
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Belief in God answers two questions: what, if anything, is it that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are agreeing about when they join in claiming that there is a God; and what, if any, prospects are there for rationally defending or attacking this claim? In the context of a sustained argument for particular answers to these questions, Tim Mawson tackles many of the most prominent topics in the philosophy of religion. He argues that those who believe that there is a God are best interpreted as believing that there is a being who is essentially personal, transcendent, immanent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, perfectly free, perfectly good, and necessary; and non-essentially creator of the world and value; revealer of Himself; and offerer of everlasting life. Having explored the meaning and consistency of this conception of God in the first half of the book, Mawson goes on to consider whether or not belief or the absence of belief in such a God might be the sort of thing that does not rationally require argument and, if not, what the criteria for a good argument for or against such a God's existence might be. Having established some criteria, he uses them to evaluate specific arguments for and against the existence of such a God. He looks at the Argument to Design; the Cosmological Argument; the Ontological Argument; the Argument from Religious Experience; the Argument from Apparent Miracles; the Problem of Evil; and Pascal's Wager. Finally, he explores the relationbetween faith and reason. In the course of his argument, Mawson makes striking new claims and defends or attacks established positions in new ways. His conversational style, lively wit, and enlightening examples make Belief in God as pleasurable as it is instructive and thought-provoking. It makes an ideal text for beginning undergraduate courses and for anyone thinking about these most important of questions.

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About the author (2005)

T. J. Mawson is at St Peter's College, University of Oxford.

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