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

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.  The three sections below 1) Arguments for God; 2) Arguments against God and 3) Debates on God's Existence, highlight key essays and debates from this book.

Arguments for God

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) – The Five Ways

  • Cosmological Arguments

    • First mover

    • First cause

    • Contingency – necessary being

    • Excellence

    • Harmony

Samuel Clarke (1675 – 1729) – The Causal Argument for God

  • Key Point: An infinite series of dependent objects requires a necessary being.

  • Counter Point: The argument for a first cause for the universe doesn’t’ explain the first cause for God’s existence.

 

William Paley (1743 – 1805) – The Watch and the Watchmaker

  • Teleological - argument from design

  • Note: this argument fails to explain the complexity inherent in a “Creator” of the universe.

Anselm (1003 – 1109) – The Ontological Argument

  • Note: this is a thought exercise

Richard Swinburne – A Theistic Response to the Problem of Evil

  • The free-will argument

  • Note: This assumes total free will. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to have limited free will? Mankind imposes limits on freewill via government laws.

 

C. D. Broad (1887 – 1971) – The Argument from Religious Experience.

  • Note: the human mind can create seemingly realistic experiences – i.e. dreams & visions.

 

Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662) – Faith is a Rational Wager

 

William James (1842 – 1910) – The Will to Believe

  • 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.

 

Alvin Plantinga (b. 1932) – Religious Belief without Evidence

  • Key Point: Argues it is rational to believe in God despite the lack of evidence for such belief.

 

Arguments Against God

 

David Hume (1711 – 1776) – Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

  • Attacks Samuel Clark’s Causal Argument

  • Key point: The existence of the entire series is fully explained by the existence of each thing in the series.

 

David Hume (1711 - 1776) – A Critique of the Teleological Argument

 

Gaunilo’s (11th century) - Criticism of Anselm’s Ontological Argument

 

Voltaire (1694 – 1778) – The Best of Possible Worlds? from Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary

  • Key Point: Conflict between the existence of suffering and idea of a God who is all-powerful and all-good.

 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1822 – 1881) – The Brothers Karamazov – Argument from evil

  • Why he can’t accept God

 

Bruce Russell – The Problems of Evil - Why is there so much suffering?

 

W. K. Clifford (1845 – 1879) – The Ethics of Belief

  • Key Point: Argues that an ethics of belief makes all believing that lacks sufficient evidence immoral.

 

Debates on God's Existence

 

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) & Father F. C. Copleston (1907 – 1944) – A debate on the argument from contingency

 

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) & Father F. C. Copleston (1907 – 1944) – A debate on the argument from religious experience

 

Antony Flew, R. M. Hare, & Basil Mitchell – A Debate on the Rationality of Religious Belief

  • Flew challenges theists to state the conditions under which they would give up their faith.

  • 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.

  • 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 (on God exists)

  1. The Holy Bible - Primarily the NIV version - Author(s): many books in dispute or unknown

  2. TULIP - The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture - Duane Edward Spencer

  3. The Ultimate Proof of Creation – Dr. Jason Lisle

  4. Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley

  5. More than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell

  6. Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell

  7. In Search of Certainty - Josh McDowell

  8. The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

  9. Questions of Life - Nicky Gumbel

  10. The Great Dinosaur Mystery – Solved – Ken Ham

  11. Panorama of Creation – Carl E. Baugh, PHD

  12. Why Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds? – Carl E. Baugh, PHD

  13. The Evolution of a Creationist – Jobe Martin

  14. Beyond Belief to Convictions – Josh McDowell

  15. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible - Max Anders

  16. Evolution Exposed: Biology – Roger Patterson

  17. The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods – John Woodmorappe, M.A. Geology, B.A. Biology (pro young earth)

  18. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome – Dr. J.C. Sanford

  19. Thermodynamics and the Development of Order – Creation Research Society – Emmett L. Williams

  20. Not by Chance – Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution – Dr. Lee Spetner

  21. Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – Letters to an Atheist – Ray Comfort

  22. The Lie: Evolution – Ken Ham

  23. The Reason for God – Timothy Keller

  24. Skeptics Answered – D. James Kennedy

  25. From Toronto to Emmaus – The Empty Tomb and the Journey from Skepticism to Faith – James R. White

  26. Battles of the Bible – Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon

  27. Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem – used as reference

  28. Proof of Heaven – Eben Alexader M.D – a near death experience (NDE)

  29. The Treasure Principle - Randy Alcorn

 

Books (on 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 End of Faith - Sam Harris

  13. Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris

  14. The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candlestick in the Dark - Carl Sagan

  15. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon - Daniel Dennett

  16. The Meaning of Human Existence - Edward Wilson

  17. Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

Neutral (general knowledge – helps with context)

  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

Detecting Truth

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