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Is There a God? [Paperback]

By Richard Swinburne (Author)
Our Price $ 25.46  
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Item Number 160028  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5.08" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.29 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 1997
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0198235453  
EAN  9780198235453  

Availability  0 units.

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Paperback $ 18.81 $ 18.81 1128181 In Stock
Paperback $ 29.95 $ 25.46 160028
Item Description...
Is There a God? offers a powerful response to modern doubts about the existence of God. It may seem today that the answers to all fundamental questions lie in the province of science, and that the scientific advances of the twentieth century leave little room for God. Cosmologists have rolled back their theories to the moment of the Big Bang; the discovery of DNA reveals the key to life; the theory of evolution explains the development of life--and with each new discovery or development, it seems that we are closer to a complete understanding of how things are. For many people, this gives strength to the belief that God is not needed to explain the universe; that religious belief is not based on reason; and that the existence of God is, intellectually, a lost cause.

Richard Swinburne, one of the most distinguished philosophers of religion writing today, argues that on the contrary, science provides good grounds for belief in God. Why is there a universe at all? Why is there any life on Earth? How is it that discoverable scientific laws operate in the universe? Swinburne uses these methods of scientific reasoning to agrue that the best answers to these questions are given by the existence of God. The picture of the universe that science gives us is completed by God.

Powerful, modern, and accessible, Is There a God? is must reading for anyone interested in an intelligent and approachable defence of the existence of God.

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More About Richard Swinburne

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Richard Swinburne is Nolloth Professor of Christian Religion at the Oxford University and the author of many books on the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of Christianity.

Richard Swinburne has an academic affiliation as follows - Oxford University University of Oxford British Academy British Academy.

Richard Swinburne has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Great Debates in Philosophy

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious   [1337  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History   [2546  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
It's Just An Introduction  Dec 8, 2007
Like most philosophical treatises the conclusion on whether God exists is still inconclusive. How shocking.

This brief introduction to Swinburne's philosophy is immediately accessible. I would recommend this to the student looking to ground his faith in something more than feelings and to unbelieving student I would recommend it so they can be introduced to one of the most famous of Christian philosophers.

It is by no means an exhaustive analysis of the existence of God. All the chapters are extremely brief and by the time you are done reading, Swinburne apologizes for not going into more depth. But being that this is an introduction to the philosophy of religion, I would not expect any more information anyway.

One caveat though, as I was reading my copy (a copy from the library) the "Problem of Evil" chapter was heavily underlined, with side notes criticizing his argument. I would say that this was the weakest chapter in the book. If one is skeptical of God's existence in light of evil (and I do not blame them) this book's examination of the topic is extremely weak. Swinburne has written of this issue in greater detail in his book "Providence and the Problem of Evil". Although I do not agree with most of his conclusions, it is at least more rationally satisfying than this brief chapter. But anyone who has experienced loss and evil first hand knows that any rational argument (from the Theist or Atheist side) is not satisfying.

This is great introduction to Christian philosophy, and while it may not answer every question it will at least whet the appetite for the person seeking meaning in life.

One more thing, if you want to read Swinburne's "The Resurrection of God Incarnate" and do not want to read all his other works (the book on the Resurrection takes a lot of his previous arguments for granted) I would recommend reading this before hand.
A intro to theism, rather disappointing since the author has to hobble his arguments to make it easier for the layman  Feb 28, 2007
Richard Swinburne, the emeritus Nolloth professor of the philosophy of religion at Oxford and one of the foremost philosphers of our time, is my Elvis. His monographs on theism and specifically the Christian religion are extremely rigourous defences which even the atheists among his colleagues find formidable edifices to attack. IS THERE A GOD? is meant to be a distillation of his thought for layman readers without especial training in the philosophy of religion. Unfortunately, it is an often disappointing endeavour, perhaps because of the limitations of the genre.

Swinburne starts things off by explaining exactly what the theist means when he speaks of "God". He makes clear that his arguments are yet to come, he merely wants to set some terminology first. Unfortunately, he's just opening himself up to attacks from inattentive readers along the lines of "Why is he already talking about God when no case has been made for his existence?" Swinburne's definitions about God are fairly traditional--omnipotence, omniscience, and all-goodness. However, the Christian is bound to raise an eyebrow at Swinburne's view of goodness and logic as independent matters that God is bound by, not concepts he himself defines, and his definition of God as everlasting but not timeless.

Swinburne's arguments for general theism are mainly based on the simplicity that the existence of God provides. He notes that Occam's razor is a basic principle of the sciences and claims that is applicable in the philosophy of religion just as much. For matters relating to the human beings, his explanation of why a just God can allow evil is a fairly standard one. However, his arguments for the existence of a soul are novel in that they really don't assume the existence of God at all. Even those readers who ultimately disagree with his arguments for theism should certainly come back to his exposition of dualism and see if they at least can accept that much.

I've read Swinburne's monographs intended for the trained reader, and I find them very well written indeed. However, this book intended for the general public is not anywhere close as successful as his academic writing. In simplifying his discussion for the ordinary reader, Swinburne also simplifies his arguments to varying degrees, which occasionally make them weak enough that any reader would protest at seeming assumptions that this or that is true. Also, Swinburne entirely leaves out the ontological argument. While it is the only traditional argument that is a bit hard to explain simply, it has enjoyed a return to popularity in recent years, and even if Swinburne himself doesn't think it useful, he should at least generally define it for his readers.

Certainly IS THERE A GOD is valuable as a summary of Swinburne's thought for the neophyte who is not yet ready to tackle the philosopher's entire oeuvre. However, it does not suffice as a general introduction to the philosophy of religion, or even to theism specifically. I'd recommend using it as a supplement to the excellent anthology READINGS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION ed. Baruch Brody (Prentice Hall, 1996).
Excellent Introduction to Swinburne  Aug 26, 2006
An enjoyable very short summary of _The Existence of God_. The main focus in on showing that the reasons we have to believe in God are of exactly the same sort as we have to believe in fairly abstract physical theories: they make sense of known data in the simplest way. Simplicity usually comes down to postulating the fewest number of the fewest kinds of entities. Thus the two "reviewers" below A. (doubting) Thomas and Gary (Blah-ze Bozo) Bazalo *completely* miss the point.

This book is my first recommendation for non-specialists interested in the scientific confirmation of theism. And it's the perfect primer for Swinburne's larger text, now out in its second edition, _The Existence of God_.
Simplified Swinburne  Jan 8, 2006
For decades, Richard Swinburne has been probably the most important of all contemporary Christian philosophers; he has single-handedly changed the way that many philosophers think about natural theology. This work, more introductory than his other writings, makes some of his most important arguments accessible to a wider audience. It is a very welcome addition to the philosophy of religion literature.
Good style, quality  Jan 1, 2006
Swinburne did not let me down with this book - a great little volume providing his arguments for the existence of God. For those who would complain about his use of the masculine for God, or the assumption of one God, I simply point them to the first few pages of this work. Swinburne is always a breath of fresh air because I get from him what I rarely get from other philosophers - straightforward argumentation. His main argument is set forward on the second page of the Introduction. The rest of the book is essentially elaboration on this point. It is, admittedly, a simple argument. Also, reading with a watchful eye, I have found this work to be a short introduction to philosophy in general by means of divine metaphysics. If you want simple, this is the book to read. If you want something a bit more thorough and comprehensive (and decidedly more difficult to read), I point you towards his book that inspired this one - "The Existence of God". Swinburne himself says this early in the book. A wonderful read, especially for beginners.

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