As the only collection of essays to present, in a comprehensive way, the case against belief in God, this classic volume rejects the niew that moral values and human purpose require divine sanction. The arguments for God's existence, the validity of mystical experience, and the importance of the God concept for the development of morality and meaning in life are critically evaluated by sixteen well-known philosophers and psychologists. Included are works by Kurt Baier, John Dewey, Paul Edwards, Antony Flew, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, Sidney Hook, Walter Kaufmann, Corliss Lamont, Wallace I. Matson, H.J. McCloskey, Ernest Nagel, Kai Nielsen, Richard Robinson, Bertrand Russell, and Michael Scriven. Included are discussions of the meaning of the existence of God, the relationships between faith and mysticism, reason and science, fate, the problem of evil, ethics without God, and immortality.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of anti-religion essays by such philosophers as Bertrand Russell, Walter Kaufmann and Wallace Matson. It is a good series of commentaries which elucidate why philosophical atheists believe as they do. (When I say philosophical atheists, I am referring to people who actually have justification for their views - there are many plenty of people on both sides of the issue who do not). The book covers a myriad of traditional "proofs" of His existence as well as the problem of evil, the possiblity of the afterlife, etc. Most of the essays are of high quality. However, Matson's critique of the argument from design is a bit out of date & the essay on the First Cause argument is bereft of discoveries in 20th century science (this is an important omission as the First Cause argument is being fought on the battlefield of cosmology these days as opposed to being confined to philosophy). For a contemporary book on the argument from design I...
On the whole, this is a good representative collection of arguments against belief in God (the Christian variety). None are cutting edge, however several can lay claim to places in the modern canon, (Baier's, Flew's, Nielsen's). The editor is an acolyte of Thomas Nagel and as such the volume presents not only the case against God, but a stout defense of scientific method as an explanation of why things are the way they are.There's nothing wrong with this, except that unwary readers should not risk confusing the two. Moreover, the collection concentrates exclusively on arguments against the truth of God's existence. Some of the more interesting recent critiques, however, examine not the truth of the God concept, but whether the concept even makes sense or not. Happily, readers do not need a graduate philosophy degree to benefit from these articles. Most are accessible to any person of thoughtful, literate background. Their refutation, however, will require more than a simple...
_Critiques of God_ is a hard-hitting, comprehensive anthology of essays by leading atheist philosophers. My only complaint is that Prometheus Books should have updated this book to reflect recent developments in the philosophy of religion since the book's original publication in 1976 (e.g., the kalam cosmological argument, the fine-tuning argument, the evidential argument from evil, etc.).
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