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Can We Be Good Without God?: A Conversation about Truth, Morality, Culture & a Few Other Things That Matter [Paperback]

By Paul Chamberlain (Author)
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Item description for Can We Be Good Without God?: A Conversation about Truth, Morality, Culture & a Few Other Things That Matter by Paul Chamberlain...

Our culture is beset by a host of vexing ethical questions. But where do we begin in trying to answer them? Are there any foundational moral principles to guide our discussion? If so, where do they come from: Christians say such principles come from God. But can there be real right and wrong without God? Can we, in fact, be good without God?

Publishers Description
Physician-assisted suicide. Racism. Genetic engineering. Abortion. Poverty. Capital punishment. Our culture is beset by a host of vexing ethical questions. Are there any foundational moral principles to guide us? If so, where do they come from? Christians say that we can--and should--be guided by principles derived from a right understanding of God. But skeptics and those with differing religious convictions argue that ethics and morality need not have anything to do with the God of the Old and New Testaments. Are they correct? Can right and wrong exist without God? Can we, in fact, be good or bad without God? In Paul Chamberlain's intriguing, inventive book, these questions are explored by a cast of five: Ted (a Christian) joins Graham (an atheist), Francine (a moral relativist), William (an evolutionist) and Ian (a secular humanist). Together they have been summoned to the home of a mystery host. And together, to the benefit of their host and the reader, they undertake a fascinating examination of truth, conduct, culture--and a few other things that matter.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Books
Pages   202
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.26" Width: 5.55" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.61 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2000
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830816860  
ISBN13  9780830816866  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2017 09:48.
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More About Paul Chamberlain

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Chamberlain (PhD, Marquette University) is director of the Institute of Christian Apologetics and professor of apologetics, ethics, and philosophy of religion at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He has also served on the staff of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He is the author of "Can We Be Good without God?" and "Final Wishes."

Paul Chamberlain was born in 1954.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Apologetics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Can We Be Good Without God? A Conversation About Truth, Morality, Culture & a Few Other Things That Matter?

Missing the Point  Oct 19, 2006
This is an excellent little book addressing the justification for morality in a fictional dialogue. Several reviewers have taken it to task because of its lack of complexity and the fact that it doesn't answer every argument from the non-theistic side. Even though I don't believe these arguments fair any better under the spotlight,the main point is that the book was not intended to be an exhaustive tome on ethics. Criticizing the book for what it is not misses the mark. For people who have read or thought little on the basis for morality this is an excellent introduction to the theistic basis for moral objectivism and a solid critique of the basic arguments against it.
Excellent - for what it is meant to be!  Sep 24, 2006
I'm surprised at some of the VERY negative reviews of this book. Some people have approached the book as though it presumed to be a textbook on ethics for graduate students on moral theory. It was clearly never intended as any such thing. It is written as a basic introduction to ethics/meta-ethics from a Christian point of view. It is for the layperson who will probably not graduate with a PhD, and given what it is *supposed* to do, it is neither naive nor shallow. It does the job that it was writen to do very well. It gives the Christian non-scholar a good overview of a variety of positions in ethical theory - necessarily simplified of course, and it reaches a Christian conclusion. I recommend the book to younger readers in ethics or to those who would like to have a handy introduction that simply explains a variety of competing ethical theories and explains what is unique and advantageous to a Christian view of the divine origin of moral truth.
Bad and Ugly  Apr 3, 2006

The truth be told, I am conflicted over this book. On one hand I found the book to be worth reading. The clarity concerning the arguments was a great asset to the book. Perhaps the because of the genre of the book, its conversational nature, lent itself to an easier way of conveying the same argument over and over in different ways. Truly the clarity and repetition was a strong point of the book.

Also, the path on which the author followed the philosophical questions was well done. It is important to first clarify and explore presuppositions (i.e. subjective vs. objective morality). The progression through each argument was likewise well done. It was advantageous to begin with the simpler arguments that readily lent themselves to easily understanding the flow of thoughts before progressing onto more complex arguments.

The conversational, narrative format helped keep interest the book engaging. The use of breaks, particularly about the mystery host, helped grab curiosity. The narrative format also created the option to easily give a relevant word-picture that stimulated thought in the reader. That was a great move.


On the other hand, I found this book to be frustrating. Too often the arguments felt scripted and frequently drifted towards straw man arguments. The only reason that the arguments did not become torched, straw effigies is because the author kept some complexity, but still, all seemed overly simplistic. While the author did use a notes page that proved a level of research, I am not convinced that the people who hold to the opposing arguments would have felt themselves represented well.

As a side note, his frequent use of Hitler as an extreme, though it made the point by using an extreme, became at least monotonous, if not our right annoying.


Over all, the author wrote a book with some definite strengths (i.e. clarity), however, to be frank, the book failed. The book, instead of teaching me systems of belief, taught me "obvious" and simplistic inherent contradictions within philosophical systems. I do not feel that this book was worth reading outside of the chapters on Christian moral objectivity and, even then, the book would need another book to supplement at least the weaknesses of simplicity. I would have much rather had articles or essays (if the length is important) written by adherents to their own system, writing for their own system. Strong, original sources are a must and this book exemplifies why.
Well written and well thought out.  May 10, 2005
Contrary to the previous reviewers remarks I found the text to be insightful and helped me to clarify many questions that I have had regarding morality. The author treats the opposing views fairly and raises serious questions regarding their validity.
Simplistic and Weak Arguments  Jul 27, 2002
I have to agree 100% with the previous reviewer. I found this authors intent to be deceitful.. the weakest arguments from the opposing viewpoints are stated and then refuted. It is common sense that if you want your argument to be taken seriously you should always attack your opponents strongest points. On this the author fails. The author has also failed to show where objective morals come from?? Do we have an authenticated record in Gods own writing? Failing this, all documents are men's words, and men being fallible means there are no objective morals.

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