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Does God Exist?: The Debate Between Theists and Atheists Paperback – 19 Apr 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (19 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879758236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879758233
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,000,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply essential reading for anyone interested in the debate about God's existence. Indeed if certain recent contributors to the God debate had bothered to read it their books would have been immeasurably enhanced.

This book is worth buying simply for Peter Kreeft's masterful introduction to the debate. He comprehensively and fairly outlines the issues at hand, the approaches of the contributors, and the importance of the question. He also conclusively demonstrates that belief in God and non-belief in God are BOTH rational hypotheses which require defending - neither side has a monopoly on "rationality" (or irrationality for that matter).

Secondly this is worth reading for Neilson's bold and original argument that the whole notion of God is simply incoherent (like the notion of a married bachelor) - if successful this would at a stroke render God's existence impossible and be the killer blow to theistic belief. Unfortunately for Neilson his argument never gets off the ground and he receives somewhat of a mauling not only from Moreland (who mounts a robust and well defended - if fairly classical - argument for God's existence) and his theist counterparts, but also from the other the atheist contributors.

Thirdly, this should be read for the essays of Dallas Willard and Antony Flew who give by far the best contributions for the theist and atheist side respectively (Neilson actually interacts more Willard than Moreland in the closing remarks). Flew's contribution is of particular note in the light of his recent conversion to theism (he would now describe himself as a Deist) and makes for interesting historical reading.

Finally, this book is so wonderfully refreshing because of the manner in which the debate is conducted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Aug. 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is really a must for anyone who is open-minded and interested in religion and deep, ultimate questions. It is not only of the highest philosophical qualtiy but is also fun and thrilling to read, as one becomes fascinated by the debate.

This debate uniquely features some of the most famous philosophers of religions, the Atheists Nielsen and Flew.Both have a career of active and brilliant atheism, especially Nielsen, who is the most brilliant Atheist since the death of Mackie.

On the Theist side, Moreland plays the major role. Moreland uses excellent arguments, but makes a few minor mistakes. These mistakes are fortunately corrected by Craig, the most brilliant Theist philosopher. Actually the arguments that Moreland uses stem from Craig's research work (Kalam cosmological argument, teleology, resurrection of Christ...) and the Christians would have been much better represented if Craig had had the major role instead of repeating and correcting Moreland. (See Craig's book: "Reasonable faith". the books of Moreland and J. P. Geisler should also be consulted). The presentation of the Kalam argument, of the design argument and of the resurrection of Christ are compelling. On the other hand , the argument of religious experience is subjective and worthless. The contribution of Dallas Willard is disappointing, he kind of simply restates the points in a more intuitive, less formal way.

On the Atheist side Nielsen is very well completed by Flew. Nielsen major's point is to show that the concept of God is meaningless and is very smart in not trying to argue afterwards that "God" does not exist, which would refute his own point about the meaningless of "God".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. G. Mccarthy on 6 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a great book. It is a record of a debate, held at the university of Mississippi in 1988, between a Christian and an atheist, both of whom are professional philosophers. Moreland opens with a defence of Christian theism, that attempts to establish that is at least rational. It is not compelling and is messy. If he can establish that theism is a rational position, as atheism may also be, the necessary result seems to be some kind of Baylean scepticism. Nielson offers a very messy case for atheism that many atheists will find inadequate and depressing. His main point is that we can't know what the word God means, and that it is irrational for any intelligent and educated adult to believe in God (and there is a lot one would like to say about just how clumsy his address is). The word `God', claims Nielsen, has no referent. This is clearly extremely weak as Nielsen seems to understand quite clearly what the word refers to. The only good part of the book is the review of both debaters by William Lane Craig who is very critical of both Moreland and Nielsen and is so razor sharp that you are left wondering why Moreland was selected to face Nielsen. Craig's main criticism of Moreland is that he doesn't answer the question `Does God Exist?' and argues that Moreland's position is too modest. Craig then goes on to argue a tremendously powerful case for theism, so compelling that you wonder why there are atheists at all. Given the force of Craig's position, it is easy to understand why Dawkins is reluctant to face him. The result would be inevitable.
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