Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings
Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David)
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Cover Blurb

  1. The new (third) edition of this perennially popular anthology in the philosophy of religion examines both basic classical concepts and a host of contemporary issues. Organized into fourteen thematic sections, Philosophy of Religion presents seventy-three selections that cover standard subjects – religious experience, theistic arguments, the problem of evil and miracles – as well as more recent topics including reformed epistemology. process theism, the kalam cosmological argument, the religion-science controversy, religious ethics, and the diversity of world religions. This third edition adds two new sections – on the ontological status of religion and open theism – along with helpful study questions and a glossary. It also features revised and expanded section introductions and updated suggestions for further reading.
  2. While it deals primarily with the Western and analytic traditions in philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Third Edition, also incorporates readings representing Continental, feminist, and Asian perspectives. New selections include essays by Marilyn McCord Adams, Robert Merrihew Adams, David Basinger, Emile Durkheim, C. Stephen Evans, J. R. Lucas, Bruce Reichenbach. and Jean-Paul Sartre.
  3. All ideal stand-alone textbook for courses in the philosophy of religion, this volume is also readily compatible for use as a primary source reader in conjunction with a secondary text. It is a perfect companion to the editors' textbook "Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David) - Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion", Third Edition, as the two books share the same topical organization.
    Introduction: Exploring the Philosophy of Religion – 1
  1. Religion As A Social Phenomenon – 8
    … Emile Durkheim
  2. A Defense Of Religious Realism – 13
    … Roger Trigg
  3. The Meaning Of Religious Beliefs Is Their Use – 20
    … D. Z. Phillips
    Suggested Reading – 28
  4. Religious Experiences – 32
    … Saint Teresa Of Jesus
  5. Religious Experience As The Root Of Religion – 35
    … William James
  6. Religious Experience As Perception Of God – 45
    … William P. Alston
  7. Religious Experiences As Interpretative Accounts – 54
    … Wayne Proudfoot
  8. Critique Of Religious Experience – 65
    … Michael Martin
  9. A Phenomenological Account Of Religious Experience – 79
    … Merold Westphal
    Suggested Reading – 87
  10. The Harmony Of Reason And Revelation – 92
    … Thomas Aquinas
  11. The Harmony Of Philosophy And The Qur'an – 96
    … Ibn Rushd
  12. The Wager – 101
    … Blaise Pascal
  13. The Ethics Of Belief – 104
    … William Clifford
  14. The Will To Believe – 110
    … William James
  15. Truth Is Subjectivity – 118
    … Soren Kierkegaard
  16. Critical Dialog In Philosophy Of Religion – 123
    … C. Stephen Evans
    Suggested Reading – 130
  17. God's Necessary Existence – 133
    … John Hick
  18. Negative Theology – 138
    … Moses Maimonides
  19. God Is Omnipotent – 143
    … Thomas Aquinas
  20. Some Puzzles Concerning Omnipotence – 146
    … George I. Mavrodes
  21. Divine Omniscience And Voluntary Action – 149
    … Nelson Pike
  22. God Is Timeless – 155
    … Boethius
  23. God Is Everlasting – 159
    … Nicholas Wolterstorff
  24. Atman Is Brahman – 168
    … The Upanishads
    Suggested Reading – 170
  25. The Classical Ontological Argument – 176
    … Saint Anselm
  26. Critique Of Anselm's Argument – 178
    … Gaunilo
  27. A Contemporary Modal1 Version Of The Ontological Argument – 181
    … Alvin Plantinga
  28. The Classical Cosmological Argument – 194
    … Thomas Aquinas
  29. The Cosmological Argument – 197
    … Bruce Reichenbach
  30. The Kalam Cosmological Argument – 210
    … William Lane Craig
  31. Critique Of The Cosmological Argument – 223
    … J. L. Mackie
  32. The Analogical Teleological Argument – 232
    … William Paley
  33. The Anthropic Teleological Argument – 235
    … L. Stafford Betty With Bruce Cordell
  34. Moral Arguments For God's Existence – 246
    … Robert Merrihew Adams
    Suggested Reading – 256
  35. The Reformed Objection To Natural Theology – 261
    … Alvin Plantinga
  36. Experience, Proper Basicality, And Belief In God – 273
    … Robert Pargetter
  37. The Case Of The Intellectually Sophisticated Theist – 280
    … William Hasker
    Suggested Reading – 286
  38. Evil Is Privation Of Good – 292
    … Saint Augustine
  39. Evil Makes A Strong Case Against God's Existence – 296
    … David Hume
  40. Evil And Omnipotence – 304
    … J. L. Mackie
  41. The Free Will Defense – 315
    … Alvin Plantinga
  42. Soul-Making Theodicy – 341
    … John Hick
  43. The Evidential Argument From Evil – 354
    … William Rowe
  44. Horrendous Evils And The Goodness Of God – 365
    … Marilyn McCord Adams
    Suggested Reading – 376
  45. Providence — Risky Or Risk-Free? – 382
    … Paul Helm
  46. Middle Knowledge And Classical Christian Thought – 393
    … David Basinger
  47. An Objection To Middle Knowledge – 402
    … Robert Merrihew Adams
  48. The Vulnerability Of God – 407
    … J. R. Lucas
  49. God Is Creative-Responsive Love – 416
    … John B. Cobb And David Ray Griffin
    Suggested Reading – 423
  50. The Doctrine Of Analogy – 427
    … Thomas Aquinas
  51. The Falsification Debate – 430
    … Antony Flew And Basil Mitchell
  52. Religious Language As Symbolic – 435
    … Paul Tillich
  53. Sexism And God-Talk – 441
    … Rosemary Radford Ruether
  54. Speaking Literally Of God – 447
    … William P. Alston
  55. The True Tao Is Unspeakable – 467
    … Lao Tsu
    Suggested Reading – 468
  56. The Evidence For Miracles Is Weak – 473
    … David Hume
  57. Miracles And Historical Evidence – 481
    … Richard Swinburne
  58. Miracles And Testimony – 488
    … J. L. Mackie
    Suggested Reading – 496
  59. The Soul Survives And Functions After Death – 500
    … H. H. Price
  60. The Soul Needs A Brain To Continue To Function – 510
    … Richard Swinburne
  61. Problems With Accounts Of Life After Death3 – 521
    … Linda Badham
  62. Resurrection Of The Person – 529
    … John Hick
  63. Rebirth – 539
    … Sri Aurobindo
    Suggested Reading – 545
  64. Two Separate Domains – 549
    … Stephen Jay Gould
  65. Science Discredits Religion – 559
    … Richard Dawkins
  66. Theology And Scientific Methodology – 563
    … Nancey Murphy
    Suggested Reading – 580
  67. Buddhism And Other Religions – 584
    … Dalai Lama
  68. The Uniqueness Of Religious Doctrines – 588
    … Paul J. Griffiths
  69. Religious Inclusivism – 597
    … Karl Rahner
  70. Religious Pluralism – 607
    … John Hick
    Suggested Reading – 617
  71. Which God Ought We To Obey? – 621
    … Alasdair MacIntyre
  72. Ethics Without Religion – 629
    … Jean-Paul Sartre
  73. Ethics And Natural Law – 639
    … Thomas Aquinas
    Suggested Reading – 642
    Glossary – 644

"Anselm - The Classical Ontological Argument"

Source: Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David) - Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings

Chapters 2-4 of the Proslogion:-
  • Chapter 2: That God Truly Exists
  • Chapter 3: That he cannot be thought not to exist
  • Chapter 4: How the fool said in his heart what cannot be thought
Editors’ Introduction
    Anselm (1033-1109) argues that we can conceive of God as "a being than which nothing greater can be thought." Yet, if we conceive of such a being as existing only in the understanding, a greater being could be conceived, namely, one that also exists in reality. Anselm's strategy, then, is to move from the admission that we have the concept of "a being than which nothing greater can be thought" to the conclusion that God cannot be understood not to exist. Those who already believe that God exists now have a better understanding that God exists.
My Comments
    When Anselm compares something that exists in reality to something that exists only in the understanding, it seems to me that he confuses a thing with a concept. Of course, God isn’t supposed to be a “thing”, but he’s certainly not (by Anselm) supposed to be a concept. Can we compare concepts with non-concepts as far as “greatness” is concerned? And we’re not comparing two concepts of God – one a concept of an existing God and the other of a non-existing God. Clearly the former is the concept of a greater being, since the former isn’t a concept of a being at all.
Full Text
    ”For I do not seek to understand in order to believe; I believe in order to understand. For I also believe that "Unless I believe, I shall not understand."
    Therefore, Lord, you who grant understanding to faith, grant that, insofar as you know it is useful for me, I may understand that you exist as we believe you exist, and that you are what we believe you to be. Now we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can be thought. So can it be that no such nature exists, since "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God" (Psalm 14:1; 53:1)? But when this same fool hears me say "something than which nothing greater can be thought," he surely understands what he hears; and what he understands exists in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it exists [in reality]. For it is one thing for an object to exist in the understanding and quite another to understand that the object exists [in reality]. When a painter, for example, thinks out in advance what he is going to paint, he has it in his understanding, but he does not yet understand that it exists, since he has not yet painted it. But once he has painted it, he both has it in his understanding and understands that it exists because he has not painted it. So even the fool must admit that something than which nothing greater can be thought exists at least in his understanding, since he understands this when he hears it, and whatever is understood exists in the understanding. And surely that than which a greater cannot be thought cannot exist only in the understanding. For if it exists only in the understanding, it can be thought to exist in reality as well, which is greater. So if that than which a greater cannot be thought exists only in the understanding, then that than which a greater cannot be thought is that than which a greater can be thought. But that is clearly impossible. Therefore, there is no doubt that something than which a greater cannot be thought exists both in the understanding and in reality.
  1. This [being] exists so truly that it cannot be thought not to exist. For it is possible to think that something exists that cannot be thought not to exist, and such being is greater than one that can be thought not to exist. Therefore, if that than which a greater cannot be thought can be thought not to exist, then that than which a greater cannot be thought is not that than which a greater cannot be thought; and this is a contradiction. So that than which a greater cannot be thought exists so truly that it cannot be thought not to exist.
  2. And this is you, 0 Lord our God. You exist so truly, 0 Lord my God, that you cannot be thought not to exist. And rightly so, for if some mind could think something better than you, a creature would rise above the Creator and sit in judgment upon him, which is completely absurd. Indeed, everything that exists, except for you alone, can be thought not to exist. So you alone among all beings have existence most truly, and therefore most greatly. Whatever else exists has existence less truly, and therefore less greatly. So then why did "the fool say in his heart, 'There is no God,’" when it is so evident to the rational mind that you among all beings exist most greatly? Why indeed, except because he is stupid and a fool?
  1. But how has he said in his heart what he could not think? Or how could he not think what he said in his heart, since to say in one's heart is the same as to think? But if he really—or rather, since he really—thought this, because he said it in his heart, and did not say it in his heart, because he could not think it, there must be more than one way in which something is "said in one's heart" or "thought." one sense of the word, to think a thing is to think the word that signifies that thing. But in another sense, it is to understand what exactly the thing is. God can be thought not to exist in the first sense, but not at all in the second sense. One who understands what God is can think that God does not exist, though he may say these words in his heart with no signification at all, or with some peculiar signification. For God is that than which a greater cannot be thought. Whoever understands this properly, understands that his being exists in such a way that he cannot, even in thought, fail to exist. So whoever understands that God exists in this way cannot think that he does not exist.
  2. Thanks be to you, my good Lord, thanks be to you. For what I once believed through your grace, I now understand through your illumination, so that even if I did not want to believe that you exist, I could not fail to understand that you exist.

COMMENT: Hard copy in "Various - Heythrop Essays & Supporting Material (Boxes)".

"Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David) - Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings"

Source: Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David) - Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings

Introduction: Exploring the Philosophy of Religion (Full Text)
  1. Philosophy Engages Religion
    • Although philosophy is a sophisticated academic field, it reflects our fundamental human drive to understand. Academic philosophy, then, is important because it employs methods that aid our essential quest for understanding various aspects of our world. We could divide academic philosophy into a number of sub-disciplines according to the dimension of life that they study: philosophy of science, philosophy of history, philosophy of art, and so forth. The sub-discipline known as philosophy of religion is the critical examination of religious concepts and beliefs.
    • It is worth stressing that philosophy of religion is clearly a branch of philosophy and should not be confused with religion itself or even with theology. While religion is notoriously difficult to define, it is, at the least, a set of beliefs, actions, and experiences, both individual and collective, organized around some idea of Ultimate Reality that is recognized as sacred and in relation to which persons enter into a transformative process. Ultimate Reality may be understood as a unity or a plurality, personal or non-personal, divine or not, differing from religion to religion. But every cultural phenomenon that we call a religion contains these important elements.
    • Theology is a discipline that occurs largely within religion. It is concerned with the conceptual development and systematization of the key beliefs and doctrines of some specific religious faith. As justification for its claims, theology typically appeals to such sources as holy writings and accredited teachings within its own tradition. We may call it "sacred theology," since it is rooted in authoritative sources that contain sacred truths. Sometimes there is also an appeal to what all persons can know through observing the world and employing human reason in order to arrive at some truths of religion (a project that is often labelled "natural theology").
    • Philosophy of religion, however, does not have to be viewed as having its proper home within some specific religious tradition. No doubt, certain religious traditions nurture and strongly support the life of the mind, in general, and the philosophical investigation of their teachings, in particular, while a few religious traditions discourage or disparage rational probing. Nevertheless, philosophy of religion is a bona fide academic field that is as objective, rigorous, and systematic as possible. As such, it is not a dogmatic or parochial project but seeks to follow the best approaches to study religious concepts and beliefs. In this way, it seeks authentic intellectual engagement with religion in the arena of ideas.
    • The robust intellectual examination of religion involves a rich variety of philosophical activities: assessing the reasons that thoughtful people have offered for and against religious belief, logically investigating such concepts as God and faith, exploring the meaning of such theological terms as salvation and miracle, and even comparing elements across religious tradition for additional perspective. Whether religious believer or not, all are invited to meet, discuss, and debate in the wide-open space of philosophy of religion.
  2. The Resurgence Of Philosophy Of Religion
    • For over a century, the dominant approach to philosophy in the English-speaking world has been what we may call analysis. The analytic approach, broadly conceived, is concerned with the meaning, consistency, coherence, reasonableness, justification, and truth of our beliefs. The emphasis throughout is on the content of crucial concepts, as well as on the structure and soundness of arguments. Moreover, the analytic approach often seeks to bring insights and findings from other areas of philosophy to bear on the issues that it treats. It is not uncommon, for example, for analytic philosophers to display keen interest in the proper grounds of our claims to knowledge and belief.
    • Unfortunately, during the first half of the twentieth century, philosophical interest in religion fell on hard times at the hands of analytic philosophers. These philosophers were committed to positivism, which was an early phase in the development of the analytic movement that was determined to shape philosophy after the intellectual methods of modern science. Positivism embraced a strict form of empiricism, an epistemological position that bases knowledge on sensory experience or what can be inferred from experience. Thus, the many nonempirical claims of religion could make no pretense to being knowledge. In addition, the positivists advanced a theory of language that was centered on the verifiability principle, a criterion that all cognitively meaningful language must be empirically verifiable. According to this criterion, religious language is not cognitively meaningful and must settle for something like emotive meaning. While the extremely influential positivist movement was in its heyday, it was difficult and even embarrassing for any self-respecting intellectual to take religious claims seriously.
    • In the second half of the twentieth century, however, things began to change. In the 1960s and 1970s, many philosophers became interested in the work of the later Ludwig Wittgenstein. They widely believed that Wittgenstein provided a way to break from positivism's intellectual imperialism by advancing sophisticated insights into the context, meaning, and function of language. And some philosophers who were interested in religion were able to draw from Wittgenstein's writings fresh insights into the nature of religious language and thus, at that level, to rehabilitate the respectability of discussing religion. About the only exceptions to these trends in the larger analytic movement were Catholic philosophers, who themselves had roots in more ancient ideas. These classical ideas — stemming from such thinkers as Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas — made them less susceptible to the impact of positivism, on the one hand, and less in need of the new Wittgenstein ideas, on the other hand.
    • During the past thirty years or so among professional philosophers, the status of philosophy of religion has been drastically changed. For one thing, philosophers now know well that the positivistic principle of verifiability was inadequate even for science, let alone for religion. For another thing, freedom from positivism paved the way for a lot of new, high-quality work in other areas of philosophy, such as logic, epistemology, and metaphysics. In the past few decades, this work has contributed to fresh investigations into religion that go well beyond the old questions of whether religious language has meaning. The situation has also changed because of the notable increase in the number of practicing philosophers who not only espouse some form of personal religious faith, but address issues of faith from within the discipline of philosophy. Even many nonbelievers and outright opponents of religious faith have come to respect its rational integrity and are joining in vigorous debate and discussion. All this brings an energy and vibrancy to philosophy of religion that is palpable. It is not surprising, then, that students' interest in academic philosophy of religion, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, is at a measurable high.
    • These are exciting days in philosophy of religion. Academic publishing in the area has exploded. Over the past several decades, studies of eminent medieval philosophers have blossomed (e.g., on Augustine, Anselm, Boethius, Aquinas, and Ockham). Many good discussions of celebrated modern thinkers have been produced (e.g., on Locke, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant). And debates abound over the new and creative proposals that have been advanced by contemporary figures in philosophy (e.g., on Hick, Plantinga, Swinburne, and Mackie).
  3. The Focus Of Philosophy Of Religion And The Project Of This Book
    • Philosophy of religion has gone from a virtual outcast in analytic philosophy to one of the most active areas in scholarship today. This shift has tracked the shift in focus in how business is done in the field. Instead of being driven by inordinate concern with whether non-empirical concepts can have meaning according to a narrow criterion of meaning, philosophy in general, and philosophy of religion, in particular, have returned somewhat to the more straightforward and more traditional considerations of truth, knowledge, reality, and values. We may say that second-order obsessions have given way to first-order questions — and that this is all to the good. In this context, the renewed philosophical interest in religion has largely focused on classical theism. Classical theism is the belief that a transcendent spiritual being exists who is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good and who is the personal creator and sustainer of the world. Although theism itself is not a living religion, it is part of the essential belief-framework of three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The discussion of classical theism leads naturally in a number of rich directions — to efforts that unfold and defend a theistic perspective, as well as to efforts to critique and refute it, to studies of how it is embedded within the larger ambit of full-blooded religious life, to proposals of alternative or modified versions of theism, and even to inquiries into nontheistic religious perspectives.
    • This book of readings is situated within the analytic tradition in the philosophy of religion and its strong interest in the beliefs, activities, and experiences that are tied to theistic religions. The selections presented here reflect the fact that the bulk of philosophical work in this tradition has dealt with specifically Christian theism. Yet, since it is inherent in the nature of analytic philosophy to be interested in all relevant concepts and arguments, the broad scope of this book seeks to bring ideas from other philosophical and religious traditions into the discussion. Contemporary life faces us with a wide diversity of people, cultures, and perspectives that provide important and stimulating material for philosophical analysis and reflection. New ideas, different methodologies, divergent worldviews, and challenging arguments must be taken into account. So, while remaining analytic in approach and theistic in central focus, the present anthology includes readings that represent continental, feminist, and Asian contributions.
    • The best primary works on the important themes in philosophy of religion today are included here. Since this anthology employs a comprehensive scheme of organization, it can be used as the sole text in a course or in conjunction with a secondary text. The reader will be interested to know that there is a particularly close fit between this book of primary source readings and our own secondary text, "Peterson (Michael), Hasker (William), Reichenbach (Bruce) & Basinger (David) - Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion" (Oxford University Press). Many courses use the two books together.
    • The structure of this anthology is straightforward. It consists of seventy-three selections that are arranged into fourteen thematic parts: the nature of religion, religious experience, faith and reason, the divine attributes, arguments about God's existence, knowing God without arguments, the problem of evil, divine action, religious language, miracles, life after death1, religion and science, religious diversity, and religion and morality. To maximize its pedagogical value, this anthology includes an overall introduction to each of the fourteen major parts, as well as a brief synopsis of each individual selection. Study questions follow each selection, and suggested readings are included at the end of each major part.
    • Whether or not one has a religious point of view, the relevance of religion to human life is undeniable. To work through this anthology is to take a refreshing and worthwhile journey, a journey of the human intellect seeking philosophical understanding in religion. Thoughtful persons who explore the issues presented here will be rewarded by gaining deeper insights into an important dimension of human existence.

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