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The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question Hardcover – 7 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1623564298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623564292
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 940,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I am a British philosopher and the author of several books on Sartre, existentialism and general philosophy. I was awarded my PhD in 1996 from The University of Birmingham, UK, for my thesis on Sartre. I am an honorary research fellow of The University of Birmingham, UK.

Find out more about me, Gary Cox, at www.garycoxphilosophy.com

Product Description

Review

Mentioned in The Blade -- TK Barger The Blade A readable little book on philosophical arguments for and against God. The tone is much more temperate than that of some recent atheistic writers. It sets out a clear definition of God, and examines most of the main arguments for and against God. It is by a good philosopher, and sets out very clearly the sorts of arguments you will hear in the analytical philosophical tradition of most British universities. If you want to know and think about those arguments, this is a good book to help you to do so ... Readers will find here a very good example of clear, considered thought. -- Canon Keith Ward, Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford University Church Times Cox writes that faith in God is not logical, but it can be beneficial to live as if God exists. It gives purpose and meaning and helps people to ground their ethics in this foundation. One can realize the uncertainty of God's existence and yet derive benefit from choosing belief. -- Terry Maksymowych Catholic Library World

About the Author

Gary Cox has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Birmingham, UK, where he is also an Honorary Research Fellow.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sian Eleanor on 10 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've loved all of Gary Cox's other books on Sartre and existentialism so I couldn't wait to get hold of this one and read it. It is different for him to write about God and religion but he shows that he understands this area of philosophy just as brilliantly as all the others he deals with. The book is very clearly written in his usual flowing, chatty, entertaining style. He really knows how to simplify complex ideas and make them accessible and entertaining to anyone.

He looks first at the idea of God, which he shows you can think a lot about, regardless of whether or not God actually exists. 'God' means 'supreme being' and the rest follows from that. There is an interesting exploration of where the idea of God comes from, everything from 'it comes from God' to 'it is an ideology to drug and oppress people' (Marx). The main part of the book is on the existence of God. He covers all the main arguments for God's existence - religious experience, ontological, cosmological, teleological and moral - and shows very convincingly why they ALL fail.

He is not an atheist because that is too strong a belief he says. God might exist but it is not possible to prove him by any of the theistic arguments. He concludes sceptically that agnosticism is the only credible philosophical position but says this leaves the way open for faith. Not faith as certainty but faith as committing to live as if there is a God. In the end, it probably doesn't matter whether a person believes in God or not, what matters is how moral they are, and you can do that without being religious. Many atheists and agnostics are more moral than religious people. There is also a chapter on the problem of evil as one of the main arguments against God.
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Format: Hardcover
Gary Cox examines and deconstructs the notion of the omniscient being from many different perspectives. This enables the reader to follow complex theoretical concepts without being weighed down with the dry minutiae of divinity/religion . All theological views are treated with respect and reason , This light-hearted approach allows the reader a bite size understanding of the existence of the supreme being, being here, there, everywhere , anywhere. If you like your theological arguments over God's existence examined with humour, rationality with the views of Plato, Sartre, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Hume , Gary Cox's : "The God Confusion", is recommended , enjoyable read.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Payne on 14 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Amazon's star rating system is like Almighty God in at least two salient respects: it moves in a mysterious way and it passeth all understanding. The fact that one is unable to give no stars (meaning that even the direst crime against trees is forced to bear at least one star) is a common complaint. More pertinent (to me at any rate) is the inability of the individual reviewer to give half stars when a book such as Gary Cox's The God Confusion cries out for a more nuanced evaluation. The undoubted strengths of this short (two hundred pages) book easily merit four stars; its central, calamitous flaw requires the subtraction of half a star from that at minimum.

The good -- well, there's quite a lot that's good about the book. Cox again demonstrates, as he has in his previous books, that he can write well, which with regard to philosophy is to say clearly and concisely, explaining complex and subtle ideas in simple language. The standard arguments for the existence of God are outlined simply and their refutations equally so. If you're new to the philosophy of religion and don't know what the teleological or the cosmological arguments are, this is a good place to start.

And now for the bad, and I'm afraid to me it really is howlingly bad and the major thing which mars the whole work. The most grating, clanging discordant note in this whole book rests on what I and many if not most other atheists would regard as Cox's almost total misconstrual of the definition of atheism. To Cox, atheism seems to exist in only one version: what's known in the technical lingo as strong atheism, an absolute, doctrinaire and dogmatic denial of God's existence, full stop, end of story, done and dusted. So, for example, on page 5 we find:

"...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Clearing Up the Confusion 7 Oct. 2013
By Sian Eleanor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've loved all of Gary Cox's other books on Sartre and existentialism so I couldn't wait to get hold of this one and read it. It is different for him to write about God and religion but he shows that he understands this area of philosophy just as brilliantly as all the others he deals with. The book is very clearly written in his usual flowing, chatty, entertaining style. He really knows how to simplify complex ideas and make them accessible and entertaining to anyone.

He looks first at the idea of God, which he shows you can think a lot about, regardless of whether or not God actually exists. 'God' means 'supreme being' and the rest follows from that. There is an interesting exploration of where the idea of God comes from, everything from 'it comes from God' to 'it is an ideology to drug and oppress people' (Marx). The main part of the book is on the existence of God. He covers all the main arguments for God's existence - religious experience, ontological, cosmological, teleological and moral - and shows very convincingly why they ALL fail.

He is not an atheist because that is too strong a belief he says. God might exist but it is not possible to prove him by any of the theistic arguments. He concludes sceptically that agnosticism is the only credible philosophical position but says this leaves the way open for faith. Not faith as certainty but faith as committing to live as if there is a God. In the end, it probably doesn't matter whether a person believes in God or not, what matters is how moral they are, and you can do that without being religious. Many atheists and agnostics are more moral than religious people. There is also a chapter on the problem of evil as one of the main arguments against God.

It is amazing how much Cox packs into a clear, simple, short book that is so much more balanced, calm and unbiased than some of the ranting religious and hysterical atheist stuff I have read. This is a great book for anyone who wants to be less confused about the whole God issue, and improve their ability to argue with religious people at their door. I am a lot less confused for reading it. I still don't know if God exists or not but as Cox makes clear, that is not possible anyway. Highly recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Little Book - Highly Recommended Read for Anyone Who has Ever Encountered the Idea of God 12 Sept. 2013
By squall-leonhart-8 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like most of Gary Cox's other books that I have seen or heard of, this newest book of his is small and is a quick, though deep and thoughtful, read. I have read a few chapters from one or two of his other books, including An Existentialist's Guide to Death, the Universe, and Nothingness. I found the parts I read interesting as I have always had a mild interest in philosophy, but they did not hold my interest enough for me to finish them (yet). However, this new book of his I found engrossing and could hardly put it down. Part of the reason may be that I have always been quite interested in the question of God and whether or not he exists.
My leaning on the question of God's existence at the writing of this review is agnostic, though leaning towards atheism. Another book I've read within the past several months relating to God is Richard Dawkins' excellent The God Delusion, and I was somewhat surprised that the only mention made to Richard Dawkins in this book was to Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker, when Cox discusses evolution. Most of this book consists of Cox presenting the different arguments that have been made for God's existence, and then showing that those arguments are extremely weak and do not even come close to providing conclusive proof of God's existence. For his arguing that secular theories are also inconclusive, it is mostly confined to just a few sentences in the conclusion: "Secular theories of the universe cannot prove God does not exist. God, if he exists, is transcendent, and therefore beyond the reach of scientific proof or disproof. Secular theories are, however, doing away with the NEED for God as an explanation of how things are in the world and how they came to be the way they are." Though it would have made the book longer, I feel it could have improved the book if Cox had maybe included a chapter looking at arguments AGAINST God's existence made by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and others, and then shown (as he did for arguments FOR God's existence) that the arguments are also actually inconclusive. It would have been particularly interesting knowing Cox's opinion on Dawkins' argument that a universe WITH a God is quite different from one WITHOUT a God, and though science may not be able to say precisely whether or not God exists, it can at the very least determine the PROBABILITY that God exists (which, obviously, in Dawkins' opinion is very low, near, if not at, the probability that fairies exist).
Other than wishing that Cox had included that chapter (and maybe he'll eventually write another God-related book exploring atheistic arguments against God's existence in the future), this book was an excellent new book by Gary Cox, and showed me some new angles to look at the question of God that I had not thought of or read before. Like I said in the title, I'd recommend this book to anyone who has ever heard of God (which I'd imagine is most, if not all, of the 7 billion people on this planet), including theists, atheists, and everyone in between. The book will no doubt (or perhaps, like a good philosopher, I should be skeptical and say 'most likely') cause readers to re-evaluate they're position on God, though it will probably not be enough to get anyone to completely change their beliefs, though it may be enough to start you reading more books arguing for or against God's existence. And unlike the similarly-titled book The God Delusion, Gary Cox's The God Confusion does not attack the idea of the existence of God, or for that matter the idea of the non-existence of God, but simply discusses the arguments for God in a rational, thoughtful way. A highly recommended book!
Enjoy the read once you get the book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sane, reasonable, balanced 7 Oct. 2013
By Gavin T. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is very salutary to come to Gary Cox's The God Confusion after a publishing decade characterized by partisan and highly polemical texts on the (non) existence of God by Christopher Hitchens et al. Cox has no axe to grind but is interested in addressing the Western tradition of thought as it relates to who or what God is and how successive thinkers have sought to define, understand and justify the notion of a supreme governing power within the universe. Given that a library containing the core books relating to these fundamental issues would take up yard after yard of shelf space we have to be grateful for Gary Cox's ability to explain (in beautifully clear and direct prose)everything that an intelligent layperson needs to know about first causes, theodicy and teleology, along with a great deal else. Anyone wanting a crisp, thoughtful and enlightening guide to our deepest questions will find The God Confusion a very rewarding reading experience.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A challeng 17 Aug. 2014
By JoAnn L - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Challenging but interesting reading.
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