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

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3642-9
241 pages
October 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
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September 30, 2010
Boston, MA

The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers

The existence of God is a subject that has occupied individual thinkers and entire schools of philosophy for thousands of years, and it remains one of the greatest debates of our day. In The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers John Shook, Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry and a self-professed “fair and open-minded skeptic”, explains prominent arguments over God's existence in a non-technical manner, and justly analyzes the chances of their success.

Shook challenges believers and non-believers alike to engage in an informed dialogue about the existence of God. This book equips everyone with key information about important theological arguments, offering insights into the timeless quest that can give meaning to our lives: “This book is aimed at people who want to know what is going on with all this God debating. They want to learn the arguments and their pros and cons as efficiently as possible without encountering too much technical philosophy or theology. Even scholars interested in the God debates will profit, since I organize theological debating in a vastly more useful way and I distill complex arguments into their most essential formulations for logical appreciation and digestion. Christians and atheists and agnostics and Hindus and Buddhists and pagans can benefit from this book.”

Shook presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God. Using current ideas and concepts such as modernism, postmodernism, fideism, evidentialism, presuppositionalism, and mysticism, Shook ushers the importance of theological debates into a present-day context, steering clear of outdated caricatures of religion.

By mastering the clear and concise strategies Shook presents in each chapter, readers of all levels can participate in a thoughtful debate, grounded in knowledge of key arguments for and against the existence of God. Shook helps nonbelievers learn important theological standpoints while also acknowledging the shortcomings of some faith-based arguments. A final chapter considers the possibility of harmonizing reason and faith in light of several current worldviews, including fundamentalism and secularism.

All major traditional and contemporary arguments for God are included in the following sections: Debating Religion (a guide to terminology and debating), Five Types of Theologies (an introduction to the ways of arguing for God), Theology From The Scripture (can we trust its accounts of Jesus?), Theology From The World (should we supplement science with God hypotheses?), Theology Beyond The World (does cosmology need supernaturalism to explain the universe?), Theology In The Know (grounding religious knowledge on certain first principles), and Theology Into The Myst (letting religious experiences of the divine lead the way). The final section on Faith and Reason compares today's worldviews struggling to reconcile rationality and fidelity.