Further reading on the problem with God from Peter J. Steinberger

The Problem with God

This week our featured book is The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong, by Peter J. Steinberger. In the Afterword of his book, Professor Steinberger provides a list of further reading for those who want to know more about the problem with God. Today, we have a selection of this list, with excerpts from Steinberger’s commentary.

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Reading List

Aristotle: Metaphysics, Book Lambda (L)
“Where we encounter, I believe for the very first time, the notion of an Unmoved Mover ….”

Lucretius: On the Nature of Things
“He—Lucretius—was a kind of ‘atomist.’ Like us, he believed that the world is basically composed of atoms. He also believed that the world was originally created not by the gods but by the mixing up and combination of atoms, perhaps a kind of proto—Big Bang.”

Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 2, Article 3
“It’s [here] that we actually find Thomas’s famous five arguments for—or ‘five ways’ to prove—the existence of God. The five ways include the ontological argument and the so-called argument from design as well as the cosmological argument.”

Anthony Kenney: The Five Ways
“For an extremely important and deeply intelligent criticism of St. Thomas, you should look at Anthony Kenney’s The Five Ways ….”

John Locke: Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book IV, Chapter 10, Sections 1-3
“Like Thomas …, his argument for the existence of God isn’t limited to the cosmological argument. Both of them adopt a full-court-press—or kitchen sink—strategy.”

David Hume: Dialogues on Natural Religion, Part IX
“David Hume … denies that there’s anything contradictory in believing that some of the things that exist were not caused to exist. He seems to reject, in other words, the necessity of the logic of cause and effect.”

J. L. Mackie: The Miracle of Belief
“Mackie was an atheist—not so much because he thought he had proven that God doesn’t exist but because he believed, all in all, that God’s non-existence is more likely to be true.”

Alvin Plantinga: The Analytic Theist, “Reason and Belief in God”
“In this essay, Plantinga acknowledges that some versions of the kind of argument I’ve been trying to make here might actually be ‘of great interest.’ He nonetheless insists, like Mackie, that the concept of God is perfectly coherent. Also like Mackie, he frustratingly fails to say why ….”

Bede Rundle: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing
“The idea of a First Cause makes as little sense to Rundle as it does to me. And when he says that scientists—like Big Bang theorists or Higgs particle theorists—‘have something to say only once their subject matter, the physical universe, is supposed in being,’ this seems to me exactly right.”

William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith: Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology
“Craig defends theism and Smith atheism—both in the context of (what I take to be) a serious understanding of the physics and mathematics of Big Bang Theory.”

“Last, but very far from least”:
Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason, Book II, Chapter III; Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics; Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals
“I might suggest, without too much exaggeration, that pretty much all of Western philosophy after Kant is largely an attempt to come to grips with—to refute or refine or reanimate—Kant’s system of thought. And this is probably true not only of his thought in general but of his thought about God.”

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