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4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0195166000
Manufacturer : Oxford University Press, USA|
Release data : 04 February, 2004
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A selection of product reviews
A look into both minds
This is not the first apologetic book I have read. I do not recommend this to people not familiar with apologetic reading. The angle to see into both the Christian's approach to God via logic and an atheist's is where I find this book so useful and unique. The point-counter-point format was invaluable. Each debater wrote a their opening pieces and stated their points and arguments as a formal debate but did so with such detail that would take several hours had they orated this book before an audience. It was more detailed than I would expect to see a live debate but each point was not developed to the point that one can grasp the full complexity of each point. I found it to be a healthy mix of detail but not too much as to go over one's head.
While this is the first book I have read that shares the logical perspective of the counter point (Athiesm) of my own beliefs it was invaluable to see the developed arguments as they were presented. From the perspective of Christians interested in what the Atheistic/Naturalist viewpoints argue I highly recommend this book. I now look forward and can confidently approach Dawkins' and Harris's books.
Good introduction to the debate, but rather unoriginal
This is a good introduction to the debate on the existence of God. If you're new to the issue, you'll find this book very informative, and it contains many of the common arguments for and against the existence of God.
If you've been studying the issue for awhile, you probably won't learn all that much from this book, since the arguments are, as I mentioned above, mostly the common arguments - nothing too new, original, or surprising on either side.
If you're only familiar with one side (or you're not familiar with either side), you'd probably benefit from reading this book. If you're already fairly familiar with both sides, you'll probably find that you've already heard most of the arguments before, so it's probably not worth the time to read.
Good Overview of Both Sides
I enjoyed this book. I thought that both speakers presented a clear explanation of some common arguments from both sides. I also appreciated the courteous tone of each speaker (although they obviously disagreed strongly with each other). They generally only debated the Biblical concept of God (all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, effective, and personal) although vaguer depictions of a Prime Mover did pop up at times. The outline of the book is as follows:
I. Theist Argument for God's Presence
II. Atheist Rebuttal
III. Theist Rebuttal of Rebuttal
IV. Atheist Argument for God's Absence
V. Theist Rebuttal
VI. Atheist Rebuttal of Rebuttal
Craig gives the following five reasons (paraphrased) for the existence of God in Chapter I: 1) God explains the universe's origins; 2) God explains the fine-tuning of cosmological parameters; 3) God explains objective morality; 4) God explains Jesus' life, death and resurrection; and 5) God can be subjectively experienced. In Chapter IV, Sinnott-Armstrong gives the following three reasons (paraphrased again) for disbelief in God: 1) the existence of evil (by far the longest section in this chapter), 2) the problem of an eternal being acting in discrete time, and 3) the lack of extraordinary evidence to justify extraordinary belief.
Each chapter will likely speak to the already converted, but they do demonstrate more intelligent arguments from both sides than one is likely to encounter in random, public discourse. Also, the debate format provides a more balanced presentation by its very nature than do most other books on religious or atheist arguments. I would recommend this book, especially to those who are interested in the topics of Christianity and atheism.