God is Good: God is Great review by Mike A Robinson
Face it, reading philosophy isn’t always merriment. (That’s why it’s often called obscure and arduous.) But you might enjoy studying philosophy more if the books you take up are more like God is Good: God is Great: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable & Responsible, edited by William Lane Craig and Chad Meister.
Atheists get it all wrong, according to the contributors and they make great strides in proving such. Additionally the writers within this compilation are focused on not just refuting atheism, but contending for Christian Theism (CT). Even though “atheism is on the decline worldwide” (p. 7), God is Good was produced to answer the New Atheists (NAs) and further the growth of CT. The editors agree with McGrath that the NAs produce “tired, weak, and recycled arguments” (p. 9).
Craig begins the volume with an essay that devastates Dawkins’ book as he rationally upholds the cosmological argument (14-18), the moral argument (18-19), the teleological argument (20-24), and the ontological argument, including Plantinga’s contribution to the OA (28-30).
Additionally Craig defends the following syllogism:
1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. Therefore, it is due to design. Craig cogently argues that this must be the case as he attempts to justify the many presuppositions within the premises of this syllogism.
God is Good contains many fine essays and one of the most laudable is from J.P. Moreland.
Dr. Moreland maintains:
1. If naturalism is true, there is no irreducible teleology.
2. Rational deliberation exhibits irreducible teleology.
3. Therefore naturalism is false.
Within that argument Moreland contends for “unified selves” (42), “intrinsic, equal value and rights” (44), and consciousness.
There are numerous excellent chapters within this readable book (upper high school or early college level) including:
• God and Physics: John Polkinghorne
• Evil: Chad Meister
• Are OT Laws Evil?: Paul Copan
• The Resurrection: Gary Habermas
• The Dawkins Confusion: Plantinga’s Devastating Refutation of Dawkins (he demonstrates that Dawkins and the NAs run through countless philosophical and epistemic Stop Signs; that the NAs lack even basic philosophical acumen: Plantinga’s essay alone is worth the price of this volume).
• And additional outstanding material.
Craig notes: “The overall case for recognizing and experiencing the Bible as God’s living word will depend on your overall view of nature, history, and values” (William Craig, p. 186).
Plantinga exposes Dawkins philosophical failings: “Now despite the fact that this book [Dawkins’ book The God Delusion] is mainly philosophical, Dawkins is not a philosopher, he’s a biologist. Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is … any of his arguments would receive a failing grade in as sophomore philosophy class. This combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou tone of the book, can be annoying” (Alvin Plantinga, p. 213).
Habermas adds: “The reports of Buddha and Krishna come hundreds of years afterward [after the Resurrection of Christ]. No other major religious founders in ancient times were ever crucified. Further, it cannot be demonstrated that there is even a single pagan resurrection account prior to Jesus, whether mythological or historical” (Gary Habermas, p. 213).
The penetrating analysis within this volume may not sluice from my own apologetic method or epistemic commitments, but much of this work is astute, keen, loaded with cognoscitive discernment and perspicacity.
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