Reading List

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Following is a partial list of books and other material that I've read as I've researched this topic (plus other stuff).

Introduction to Philosophy, 4th Edition, Lous P. Pojman & James Fieser, Part III, Religious Philosophy

Part III of this college text contains an excellent selection of essays and debates on the core arguments on both sides of this topic.

Arguments for God

  1. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) – The Five Ways
    1. Cosmological Arguments
      1. First mover
      2. First cause
      3. Contingency – necessary being
      4. Excellence
      5. Harmony
  2. Samuel Clarke (1675 – 1729) – The Causal Argument for God
    1. Key Point: An infinite series of dependent objects requires a necessary being.
    2. Counter Point: The argument for a first cause for the universe doesn’t’ explain the first cause for God’s existence.
  3. William Paley (1743 – 1805) – The Watch and the Watchmaker
    1. Teleological - argument from design
    2. Note: this argument fails to explain the complexity inherent in a “Creator” of the universe.
  4. Anselm (1003 – 1109) – The Ontological Argument
    1. Note: this is a thought exercise
  5. Richard Swinburne (still living) – A Theistic Response to the Problem of Evil
    1. The free-will argument
    2. Note: This assumes total free will. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to have limited free will? Mankind imposes limits on freewill via government laws.
  6. C. D. Broad (1887 – 1971) – The Argument from Religious Experience.
    1. Note: the human mind can create seemingly realistic experiences – i.e. dreams & visions.
  7. Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662) – Faith is a Rational Wager
  8. William James (1842 – 1910) – The Will to Believe
    1. Classic response to Clifford’s ethics of belief – in everyday life, where evidence for important propositions is often unclear, we must live by faith or cease to act at all.
  9. Alvin Plantinga (b. 1932) – Religious Belief without Evidence
    1. Key Point: Argues it is rational to believe in God despite the lack of evidence for such belief.

Arguments Against God

  1. David Hume (1711 – 1776) – Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
    1. Attacks Samuel Clark’s Causal Argument
    2. Key point: The existence of the entire series is fully explained by the existence of each thing in the series.
  2. David Hume (1711 - 1776) – A Critique of the Teleological Argument
  3. Gaunilo’s (11th century) - Criticism of Anselm’s Ontological Argument
  4. Voltaire (1694 – 1778) – The Best of Possible Worlds? from Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
    1. Key Point: Conflict between the existence of suffering and idea of a God who is all-powerful and all-good.
  5. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1822 – 1881) – The Brothers Karamazov – Argument from evil
    1. Why he can’t accept God
  6. Bruce Russell (still living) – The Problems of Evil - Why is there so much suffering?
  7. W. K. Clifford (1845 – 1879) – The Ethics of Belief
    1. Key Point: Argues that an ethics of belief makes all believing that lacks sufficient evidence immoral.

Debates on God's Existence

  1. Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) & Father F. C. Copleston (1907 – 1944) – A debate on the argument from contingency
  2. Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) & Father F. C. Copleston (1907 – 1944) – A debate on the argument from religious experience
  3. Antony Flew, R. M. Hare, & Basil Mitchell – A Debate on the Rationality of Religious Belief
    1. Flew challenges theists to state the conditions under which they would give up their faith.
    2. Hare responds that religious faith consists of a set of profoundly unfalsifiable assumptions (he calls bliks) which govern all of a person’s other beliefs.
    3. Mitchell seeks a compromise; rational considerations enter the debate on faith, but no one can say exactly when a gradual accumulation of evidence is enough to overthrow religious belief.

Books (God exists)

  1. The Holy Bible - Primarily the NIV version - Author(s): many books in dispute or unknown
  2. The Ultimate Proof of Creation – Dr. Jason Lisle
  3. Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley
  4. More than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell
  5. Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell
  6. In Search of Certainty - Josh McDowell
  7. The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel
  8. Questions of Life - Nicky Gumbel
  9. The Great Dinosaur Mystery – Solved – Ken Ham
  10. Panorama of Creation – Carl E. Baugh, PHD
  11. Why Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds? Carl E. Baugh, PHD
  12. The Evolution of a Creationist – Jobe Martin
  13. Beyond Belief to Convictions – Josh McDowell
  14. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible - Max Anders
  15. Evolution Exposed: Biology – Roger Patterson
  16. The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods – John Woodmorappe, M.A. Geology, B.A. Biology (pro young earth)
  17. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome – Dr. J.C. Sanford
  18. Thermodynamics and the Development of Order – Creation Research Society – Emmett L. Williams
  19. Not by Chance – Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution – Dr. Lee Spetner
  20. Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – Letters to an Atheist – Ray Comfort
  21. The Lie: Evolution – Ken Ham
  22. The Reason for God – Timothy Keller
  23. Skeptics Answered – D. James Kennedy
  24. From Toronto to Emmaus – The Empty Tomb and the Journey from Skepticism to Faith – James R. White
  25. Battles of the Bible – Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon
  26. Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem – used as reference
  27. Proof of Heaven – Eben Alexader M.D – a near death experience (NDE)
  28. The Treasure Principle - Randy Alcorn
  29. TULIP - The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture - Duane Edward Spencer

Books (God doesn't exist)

  1. The Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
  2. The Blind Watchmaker – Richard Dawkins
  3. Evolution vs. Creationism – Eugenie C. Scott
  4. The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
  5. Godless – Dan Barker
  6. Atheism – The Case Against God – George H. Smith
  7. The Age of Reason – Thomas Paine
  8. A Theologico-Political Treatise – Benedict de Spinoza
  9. The Portable Atheist – Christopher Hitchens
    1. This is an excellent selection of essays and portions of writings from a broad selection of authors
  10. Atheism: The Case Against God - George Smith
  11. God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens
  12. The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice - Christopher Hitchens
  13. The End of Faith - Sam Harris
  14. Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris
  15. The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candlestick in the Dark - Carl Sagan
  16. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon - Daniel Dennett
  17. The Meaning of Human Existence - Edward Wilson
  18. Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  19. Is Christianity Good for the World? Christopher Hitchens & Douglas Wilson
  20. Free Will - Sam Harris
  21. Islam and the Future of Tolerance - Sam Harris & Maajid Nawaz
  22. Sapiens - a brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari (highly recommended)
  23. A Universe from Nothing - Lawrence M. Krauss
  24. Waking Up - Sam Harris
  25. Mortality - Christopher Hitchens
  26. Faith vs. Fact - Why Science and Religion are Imcompatible - Jerry A. Coyne

Neutral

  1. Genetics Demystified – Edward Willett
  2. Genetics for Dummies – Tara Rodden Robinson, PhD
  3. The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History – Colin McEvedy
  4. The Middle Ages – Morris Bishop
  5. Compact History of the World – Geoffrey Parker
  6. Ancient Rome – Robert Payne
  7. The World of the Ancient Greeks – John Camp & Elizabeth Fisher
  8. Egypt: People, Gods, Pharaohs – Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen
  9. A Short History of the World – Geoffrey Blainey
  10. A History of God: Karen Armstrong
  11. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (highly recommended)
  12. Cyber War - Richard Clarke
  13. Octopus - Guy Lawson
  14. Arms and the Dudes - Guy Lawson
  15. A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah
  16. Night - Elie Wiesel
  17. Man's Search for Meaning - Viktore E. Frankl
  18. Industrial Network Security - Eric D. Knapp
  19. Hacking - the Art of Exploitation - Jon Erickson
  20. Dune - Frank Herbert
  21. A Rule Book for Arguments - Anthony Weston
  22. The Prize - Daniel Yergon (highly recommended)
  23. Lone Survivor - Marcus Luttrell
  24. The Mechanic's Tale - Steve Matchett
  25. Out of Orbit - Chris Jones
  26. Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World - Kevin Bales
  27. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond