The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) [NOOK Book]


The God Debates presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God, allowing readers to participate in a debate about the existence of God and gain understanding and appreciation of religion?s conceptual foundations.
  • Explains key arguments for and against God's existence in clear ways for readers at all levels
  • Brings theological debates up to the present with current ideas from ...
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The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between)

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The God Debates presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God, allowing readers to participate in a debate about the existence of God and gain understanding and appreciation of religion?s conceptual foundations.
  • Explains key arguments for and against God's existence in clear ways for readers at all levels
  • Brings theological debates up to the present with current ideas from modernism, postmodernism, fideism, evidentialism, presuppositionalism, and mysticism
  • Updates criticism of theology by dealing with the latest terms of the God debates instead of outdated caricatures of religion
  • Helps nonbelievers to learn important theological standpoints while noting their shortcomings
  • Encourages believers and nonbelievers to enjoy informed dialogue with each other
  • Concludes with an overview of religious and nonreligious worldviews and predictions about the future of faith and reason
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I do, however, think that the book will enable readers to enter into debates about God in a fully rational way, and with an awareness of the complexities of theistic arguments. It is one for students of the philosophy of religion to study, and they will do so with profit." (Church Times, 20 May 2011)

"The book reminds us, also, of how many of the current debates about God at best beg the question and at worst take the form of ranting dogmatism." (Network, 2011)

"As a philosophy instructor (who frequently teaches philosophy of religion), I find Shook's book to be comprehensive in its coverage. The theological arguments, as well as the atheological responses to them, are presented in accessible terms, and analyzed perspicuously." (Metapsychology, February 2011)

"The God Debates is a clear, accessible, up-to-date account of philosophical wrangles about the existence of God. Shook re-organises the arguments in an interesting way ... [and] takes on more esoteric arguments such as the claim that we must presuppose the existence of God if we are to engage in reasoning and scientific inquiry. In all, this is a lucid, concise, up-to-date, yet comprehensive account of intellectual debates about the existence of God. It is easy enough to be used by senior high school students, and could certainly be useful in undergraduate courses in philosophy of religion." (Metamagician and the Hellfire Club, October 2010)

John Shook, author of The God Debates, will discuss effective ways for nonbelievers to engage believers over that very question: "Does a god exist?" Maybe it's not the old, familiar arguments themselves, but new strategies and tactics that make the atheist message get heard and produce results." (Science in the City, February 2011)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118146736
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/2/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 872,825
  • File size: 911 KB

Meet the Author

John R. Shook is Vice President for Education and Research and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York. He also is Research Associate in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo. His recent books include The Future of Naturalism (2009) and Dewey's Philosophy of Spirit (2010).
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Table of Contents


1. Debating Religion.

1.1. Religion under Scrutiny.

1.2. Debating Dogma.

1.3. Theology and Atheology.

1.4. Could Atheism Prove God Doesn’t Exist?.

1.5. Could Religion Disprove Atheism?.

2. Five Types of Theologies.

2.1. Categorizing Theologies.

2.2. Theology From The Scripture.

2.3. Theology From The World.

2.4. Theology Beyond The World.

2.5. Theology In The Know.

2.6. Theology Into The Myst.

3. Theology From The Scripture.

3.1. Scientific History.

3.2. Scientific History and Scripture.

3.3. The Argument from Divine Signs.

3.4. The Argument from Apostolic Faith.

3.5. The Argument from Divine Character.

3.6. The Argument from Pseudo-history.

4. Theology From The World.

4.1. Theology and Science.

4.2. Arguments from Nature.

4.3. Arguments from Design.

4.4. Arguments from Religious Experience.

4.5. Arguments from Morality.

4.6. Explanations for Reason.

4.7. The Ontological Argument for God.

4.8. The Argument from Pseudo-science.

5. Theology Beyond The World.

5.1. The Existence of Nature Argument for God.

5.2. The Fine-tuning Argument for God.

5.3. Why Would God Create?.

5.4. The Problem of Evil.

5.5. The Argument from Pseudo-cosmology.

6. Theology In The Know.

6.1. Arguments from Ignorance.

6.2. Religious Epistemologies.

6.3. Knowledge, Justification, and Truth.

6.4. The Religious Community.

6.5. The Arguments from Pseudo-theology.

7. Theology Into The Myst.

7.1. Believing in God without Knowledge of God.

7.2. Believing in God without Concepts of God.

7.3. Belief, Faith, and Pseudo-faith.

7.4. The Argument from Pseudo-faith.

8. Faith and Reason.

8.1. Liberal Modernism and Its Rivals.

8.2. Twelve Worldviews.

8.3. Faith and Reason Realigned.


Further Reading.


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  • Posted October 23, 2010

    Finally, an atheist takes a respectful look at religion

    The God Debates is a great up-to-date, comprehensive resource in philosophy of religion for both believers and non-believers, and as advertised, "everyone in between." A professional philosopher, Shook meticulously presents and analyzes the validity of the most popular contemporary arguments for the existence of god. These include the "fine-tuning" argument (the contemporary variation of the teleological argument), cosmological and ontological arguments, as well as arguments from religious experience. He evaluates the ability of reason and science to counteract these pro-god arguments. Though the book isn't focused on any one religion, rather on a variety of contemporary, common notions of "god," he does offer a very interesting Biblical analysis in his chapter "Theology from the Scripture." Here, he evaluates the reliability of the gospels against accepted criteria for historical credibility and evidence acceptance. In the chapter "Theology in the Know," Shook covers the epistemology (theory of knowledge) employed by religions e.g., presuppositionalism and evidentialism, and explains how these different epistemologies shape religious beliefs. He takes a look at various mysticisms ("Theology into the Myst") and explains the manner in which mystics prioritize faith over knowledge and even reason itself. He concludes with a discussion on the possible harmonization of reason and faith and the most current trends in religious belief, including liberal Christianity, fundamentalism, panentheism, mysticism, religious humanism, and secular humanism.

    This is not another "atheism book." Shook approaches religious arguments with an unbiased yet critical eye. Shook presents the nuances and complexity of various systems of beliefs in god. He provides a fair and balanced inquiry into both traditional religious arguments and new ones, from the last one hundred years down to the present. While Shook's analyses ultimately cannot agree that the arguments for a supernatural being succeed, he only arrives at that conclusion after a comprehensive review and critical examination of purported evidence and argumentative strategies for god. There are no rude jabs at the believer, no tone of either denigration or condescension, which makes the read a refreshing divergence from top-selling "atheist books" such as Dawkins' "The God Delusion," Harris' "The End of Faith," and Hitchens' "God is not Great." (While these are great books that are well-worth reading, their authors can't be commended for their diplomacy or humility.) Shook's goal is not to convert people to atheism but only to educate the reader regardless of his/her religious persuasion on the legitimacy of the arguments on all sides. He has no interest in denouncing belief in god, only to critically examine the wide variety of religious positions and accompanying arguments. A refreshing departure, that he should want us to understand one another's belief systems before we criticize! He understands how religion can't be lumped together as "one thing" so he dissects it and evaluates each piece, a smart strategy indeed.

    Whatever side of the debate you're on, you will absolutely benefit from learning the arguments of your intellectual "opponents," as well as arguments posited in your own camp. You might even change your own position! Or, you'll find new ways to strengthen it. Shook's book is a rich tool for anybody who wants to take part in the god debates, wherever one's convictions lie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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