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on 31 January 2014
Excellent text. The author uses humourless stories to explain what can be quite complex issues. Very good all round. Could be read by anyone interested in this subject.
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on 8 December 2013
Engaging and entertaining. An imaginative and logical exercise- Very well written, Id say suitable for the novice and the scholar but to truly grasp most parts one has to have some previous experience and knowledge. This is by no means a - lets grasp the basics book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been more than helpful in preparing for my philosophy of religion uni. exams.
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on 14 June 2014
This remarkable little book is choc full of good , witty, arguments that trigger
thinking and challenge the ways in which philosophy of religion has been traditionally
discussed.
The lightness of touch, innovative arguments, and the recognition that it is
just as important that the reading of a book should be as good an experience
for the reader, as the writing of the book for the author is refreshing.
More power to Mr Mawson''s elbow
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on 27 April 2017
Bottom of page 11: "... it is, as I say, a remarkable fact that all Jews, Christians, and Muslims are agreed that God has these properties and that this is their status. Of course, one can find a few Jews, Christians, and Muslims who will deviate form this orthodoxy ..."

No, because, in the previous sentence, it says that ALL of them agree! I would also be surprised if most could rattle off the nine properties on their way to the supermarket, let alone in a discussion group, though, in Oxford, I might well be surprised!

This list of properties is written within a paragraph, and not tabulated, so it is difficult to work out which are essential and which are accidental properties. Even though they are dealt with later, it would have been better to introduce them properly.

Given only the slightest knowledge of these three religions it is NOT surprising that each of their gods has the properties mentioned. It would be surprising if they were different!

Also, in the preceding paragraph, it says that while he has divided it into these nine properties "some might sensibly divide it into a different number or indeed not divide it at all." Well, so they can, and probably put in a different order, but I would rather focus on the view in hand.

I did well to get to page 11.
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on 5 May 2008
This is a clear and helpful book suitable for anyone pursuing a course of philosophy or theology. It has been an extremely useful guide both before an after commencing theological studies at university, and remains an excellent reference book. The author obviously has an extensive knowledge of the subject and writes interestingly, engaging with the issues in a way that is insightful and easy to understand. The book covers a diverse range of issues and I would certainly recommend it for anyone wishing to engage more deeply with philosophical and theological issues.
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on 15 October 2005
I've recently started a philosophy degree at university and having ploughed through a number of books on my reading list over the summer, I've found this to be the most useful having actually got into the details of my course. The book is comprehensive in its coverage of the philosophy of religion and unlike many, it's refreshingly easy to follow despite the complexity of the subject matter. The author's injection of humour is a welcome surprise and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone thinking about starting a course in philosophy.
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on 3 July 2010
When studying the philosophy of religion, you will need to look in a detatched manner as issues that are very real and personal to some, that is the nature of philosophy. As an entry level book, this will give you a good overview of the subject, it is readable and accesible and after reading it, I can certainly describe and debate to God of theism. As an academic text needs to, this book is written dispationately, it does seem to trivialise the nature of personhood, suffering and evil, but the book is not meant to be an apologetic, it is meant to outline the arguments. If you are beginning a study of the philosophy of religion then this is a good starting point, but I wouldn't want the discussion to end here.
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on 20 March 2008
This book is a philosophical Swiss cheese, the arguments being generally so full of holes that it is hard to see how it can be taken seriously. The first part of the book Mawson goes into what he sees as the properties of God. Sometimes blatantly contradictory he is nevertheless forced into some bizarre situations. For example in trying unsuccessfully to make a case for the personhood he ends up denying that young children the mentally retarded are actually people. Dealing with the omnipotence of God he is more than happy to replace the proper meaning of the word with watered down definitions of his own but still ends up concluding that as long as you do not include committing suicide, being able to create a stone that he cant lift, performing any bad act then he is able to do anything wilfully oblivious to the fact that if he is unable to perform a bad act he is even less free than we are. Carrying on he spends the majority of second part of the book `examining' the various arguments for and against God, however discredited, and getting himself into an unbelievable pickle when trying to deal with the problem of evil. Squirming about like a fish on a hook, he tries any number of bizarre justifications, claiming at one time that God owes nothing to us since when he created the universe we did not actually exist and eventually retreating to the position that evil is perfectly justified as long as he makes amends afterwards. I would have let all this slide and let him write whatever rubbish he wants but finally he has the bare cheeked gall to suggest that if there be any doubt about the existence of God then `by way of an experiment' we all get on our knees and pray for guidance. This is not philosophy. It is a less than half baked attempt to gather more souls to the cause. Rather than making any contribution whatsoever to philosophical thought it creates yet another impenetrable mystery, How on earth did Mawson ever get away with writing such complete rubbish and passing it off as philosophy?
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on 22 December 2009
If you already believe in god, and so see evidence as optional as support for an argument, then you will get on well with this book. But if you are looking for well defined arguments with solid justification, even if you don't agree with the conclusions, then you will find it annoying at best. It was a required book for an online philosophy course with Oxford University. I think the fact that Mawson works at Oxford and wrote the course may be the main reason it is a required text. The course was great, despite the book, because of the tutor and the other students. Apart from one rather closed fundamentalist (a self professed 'bible literalist' who ardently defended the idea that the universe was created in 6 days, about 6000 years ago) no one had a good word for it. The students ranged from long term established atheists to the aforementioned Christian fundamentalist, with all shades of Christian, Muslim, agnostic, pantheist, pagan and New age flakes. Several Christians noted that Mawson made them question their belief, his arguments were so bizarre. A nice thick book that will hold open a really heavy door. Well worth the money if that's what you need. Much better theist texts out there.
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