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Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy [Paperback]

By Gregory E. Ganssle (Author)
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Overview
In the first part of this book Ganssle lays the groundwork for clear and careful thinking, providing us an introductory guide to doing philosophy. In the second part Ganssle then takes us through the process of thinking well about God in particular. He asks us to consider whether there are good reasons to believe that God exists. He thinks there are! In a third part Ganssle addresses the thorny issue of the existence both of God and of evil. He thinks there's a valid way through this problem. In the final part Ganssle helps us thread our way through questions like: What can God know? How does God communicate? He thinks that there are some clear answers to these questions, at least if you're talking about the God of Christianity.

Publishers Description
Can we really think about God? Can we prove God's existence? What about faith? Are there good reasons to believe in the Christian God? What about evil? Can we really know with our finite minds anything for sure about a transcendent God? Can we avoid thinking about God? The real problem, says philosopher Gregory E. Ganssle, is not whether we can think about God, but whether we will think well or poorly about God. Admittedly there is a lot of bad thinking going around. But Ganssle, who teaches students, wants to help us think better, especially about God. He thinks philosophy can actually help. In the first part of this book Ganssle lays the groundwork for clear and careful thinking, providing us an introductory guide to doing philosophy. In the second part Ganssle then takes us through the process of thinking well about God in particular. He asks us to consider whether there are good reasons to believe that God exists. He thinks there are In a third part Ganssle addresses the thorny issue of the existence both of God and of evil. He thinks there's a valid way through this problem. In the final part Ganssle helps us thread our way through questions like: What is God like? What can God do? What can God know? How does God communicate? He thinks that there are some clear answers to these questions, at least if you're talking about the God of Christianity. If you're looking for your first book for thinking clearly and carefully about God, then you'll appreciate the good thinking found in this book."

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Item Specifications...


Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.66 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 10, 2004
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0830827846  
ISBN13  9780830827848  


Availability  0 units.


More About Gregory E. Ganssle


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Gregory E. Ganssle is Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Senior Fellow of the Rivendell Institute at Yale University. He is the author of "Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy" and editor of " God and Time: Essays on the Divine Nature" (with David M. Woodruff).

Gregory E. Ganssle was born in 1956 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Rivendell Institute for Christian Thought and Learning.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Education


Christian Product Categories
Books > General Interest > General Topic > Philosophy



Reviews - What do customers think about Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy?

Excellent, very basic introduction to philosophical issues about God  Oct 19, 2006
Greg Ganssle has produced the most fun and readable introduction to philosophy of religion I have ever encountered. His target audience runs from high school seniors to introductory college students, and I can say that I have enjoyed teaching an introductory philosophy course using this book. He presents the issues in a clear-headed way while drawing readers in with fun examples and humor.

After arguing for the value of thinking through philosophical questions in a reasonable way, Ganssle argues for open-mindedness in the sense of not being so sure of your views that you are not open to reason, but he also dismisses the idea that we must be neutral or that we must not make exclusive truth claims. Open-mindedness does not require having no views in those ways. I especially like seeing this in a book designed for younger students unfamiliar enough with philosophy to need some kind of way of heading off the simplistic kind of relativism that many students of philosophy find themselves stumbling over.

The main body of the work considers philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. His presentation of the cosmological argument is the clearest I have ever seen, avoiding technical terminology when it is not needed but making the concepts as clear as can be done without such terms. His treatment of the design argument focuses on the fine-tuning argument after showing why very few are today convinced of biological design arguments, a choice perhaps reflecting a desire to stay out of intelligent design controversies in the political realm but nonetheless reflecting the philosophical consensus among believing philosophers today. His moral argument discussion helpfully begins by showing the difficulties in naturalistic accounts of morality, thus showing reasons why someone would turn to God as an explanation. I wish he had treated some naturalistic accounts of morality that are not relativist or eliminativist, and I really wished for a discussion of Euthyphro objections, but I do think his treatment of this argument is among the best I have read at this level.

On the problem of evil, he presents a quick summary of the logical problem and why Plantinga's free will defense has convinced most atheistic philosophers that the logical problem does not in fact lead to a contradiction. After an excursus defending libertarian free will, he proceeds to the evidential problem of evil and very briefly suggests why we might not think we are the sort of beings who should know all the explanations for why God might allow evil. I thought some of the explanations that we can arrive at might have been nice, but the point he does make is probably the most important one available to a theist.

Ganssle ends the book with some philosophical theology. He deals with the problem of defining omnipotence as the ability to do anything, arguing with the majority of philosophers on this question that omnipotence does contain the limits of being able to do only what is possible. He treats the problem of an atemporal God knowing what time it is and the foreknowledge and freedom problem. It is difficult to say a lot about some of the most important views on those topics if you need to avoid getting too technical, so sometimes Ganssle just reports that there are responses to certain objections or views that try to avoid certain problems. This is one place I wanted more where it was hard for me to figure out myself how more would have fit the way he was writing the book. Finally, he argues that if a being something like the traditional monotheistic God exists, we should expect such a being to want to communicate with us, arguing in the process that such communication would be best if it were written language, thus something like the kind of revelation most monotheistic religions think God has given.

Overall, I highly recommend the book for introducing students at the intended level to philosophical issues about God. Despite where I would have written things differently, I have never seen a book that does what this book does as well as it does it.
 

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