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by Gregory E. Ganssle

ePub Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy download
Author:
Gregory E. Ganssle
ISBN13:
978-0830827848
ISBN:
0830827846
Language:
Publisher:
IVP Academic (December 10, 2004)
Category:
Subcategory:
Theology
ePub file:
1940 kb
Fb2 file:
1136 kb
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Rating:
4.1
Votes:
760

Thinking About God book.

Thinking About God book. It'd be suitable and benefic Gregory Ganssle's Thinking About God: First steps in Philosophy is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of religion and, more specifically, to the question of God's existence. It's written in a simple, lucid style, and it is intelligent and substantial. The book reads as if a kind, wise uncle took his young nephew or niece along for a gentle walk in the park and tried to explain to him or her how philosophy works, which he then applies to the existence of God.

Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy (Epub & Mobi). Скачать (zip, . 6 Mb).

his book is called Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy. Let us think together about a few possibilities. Suppose the transporter works this way. First, it carefully takes Kirk apart while recording in great detail every step of the process

his book is called Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy. When we undertake to think about God, we are doing philosophy. Philosophy is the name of an academic discipline, but it is also a kind of activity. First, it carefully takes Kirk apart while recording in great detail every step of the process. Next, the transporter takes these biological parts (let us say they are molecules) and ships them to the planet. Once they arrive on the surface, the pieces are put back together according to the strict information that was recorded.

He earned a Masters of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Rhode Island (1990) and a PhD. in Philosophy (1995) from Syracuse . Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy Jul 18, 2010. by Gregory E. Ganssle. in Philosophy (1995) from Syracuse University where his dissertation on God's relation to time won a Syracuse University Dissertation Award. He has taught philosophy at Syracuse and is currently a part time lecturer in the philosophy department at Yale University. Greg is also a senior fellow at the Rivendell Institute.

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.

Philosopher Gregory E. Ganssle appeals to philosophy for some answers to these questions in this introduction to thinking clearly and carefully about God. 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. Admittedly there is a l. .

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Thinking About God. First Steps in Philosophy . The real problem, says philosopher Gregory E. Admittedly there is a lot of bad thinking going around. 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.

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Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy. Learn More at LibraryThing.

Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy. ISBN 9780830827848 (978-0-8308-2784-8) Softcover, IVP Academic, 2004. Find signed collectible books: 'Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy'. Gregory E. Ganssle at LibraryThing.

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.
  • I read an online article by this author that was clear and concise and which compelled me to by the book. Very disappointed in writing style in book. First 6 chapters are like a primer and explanation for the chapters after 6. Far to much hand holding and treating the reader like a 3 yr old. Takes a paragraph to speak a sentence worth of information. Excessive detail. Threw the book away half way through.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this book as the title of my review states. To preface my review I want to say I have read this book very carefully. I tried to completely understand everything the author was saying by following the methods prescribed in How to Read a Book. In short I have spent a lot of time with this book because I felt it was good enough to chew and digest after a quick initial read.

    If I could summarize the book into a short statement it would be the following: We should think well about the most important areas of life and the best example of this is thinking about God. Ganssle gives assistance in how to think about God well by both providing evidence for theism being more probably true than atheism and exploring the likely characteristics of God.

    The Positives
    • Very well written and for the most part easy to follow.
    • The author is engaging and there is some quality humor sprinkled in (much of it self-deprecating). You can’t help but like Ganssle.
    • Very reasonable tone to his argumentation and he doesn't overstate case. I find this very important myself and have much respect when people argue this way.
    • Makes his cases well and I think is correct with most of his main propositions.
    • Even though I am well versed in apologetic issues, this book was very helpful for me to better formalize my thoughts on the issues covered in this book and others that are not.
    • He provides a helpful definition of faith: “holding what is true by trusting in a reliable source”. I think this is a more helpful way for Christians to describe faith and one that atheists are more likely to respect.
    • While I’m not sure where I land on how I think God and time work, his thoughts are helpful for thinking through the issue.

    The Negatives
    • Much of the chapter on what God can do seemed unnecessary to me. Earlier he had sufficiently made the case that contradictions can’t be actualized. Thus, to me I felt that nearly a whole chapter wasn't needed to make this point about God. It seemed redundant.
    • I wasn't convinced by all of his five attributes of the first cause of the universe pointing to God.
    • I felt like when he was talking about carbon 14, he should have explained what this actually was and why he chose this. The reader without knowledge of carbon 14 could easily miss the force or even the point of his argument. He did a good job of explaining similar technical scientific concepts/topics throughout the book so I was surprised to see he didn't do this here as well.
    • His reasons given in his critique of the many worlds conjecture were not completely satisfying or convincing to me, even though I would agree with his conclusion.
    • The latter half of the chapter on whether God knows the future was difficult to follow and could have been better written to make it more clear.

    Final word
    This is the first book I recommend for a beginning person interested in any kind of philosophy or apologetics. It can also help someone already familiar with these arguments to have more clear thoughts about them. In addition, the tone and reasonableness of this book makes it a go-to book that a reasonable atheist could appreciate or a hard-hearted atheist may find softening. This book is just a starting point as many relevant topics are left out, but it whets your appetite enough to want to go further. I have bought many copies so I have some at the ready to hand out. I highly recommend this book.

  • Gregory Ganssle's Thinking About God: First steps in Philosophy is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of religion and, more specifically, to the question of God's existence. It's written in a simple, lucid style, and it is intelligent and substantial. The book reads as if a kind, wise uncle took his young nephew or niece along for a gentle walk in the park and tried to explain to him or her how philosophy works, which he then applies to the existence of God. It'd be suitable and beneficial for anyone who would like an introduction to philosophy.

    Thinking About God is divided into four main sections:

    1. Introduction. Here Ganssle introduces readers to what philosophy is and how it works. This section props up the rest of the book inasmuch as it applies its lesson in logic, critical thinking, etc. to the question of God's existence.

    He makes other valuable points such as the following (p. 26):

    "I agree that I cannot provide an argument for God's existence that will convince all thinking people. But what does this tell me? Does this tell me anything about God? No. Does this tell me whether or not it is reasonable to believe in God? No. This tells me a lot about the nature of proof but very little about whether God exists. I cannot provide an argument that will convince everyone, without a possibility of reasonable doubt, that God exists. That is no problem. You see, I cannot provide an argument for any interesting philosophical conclusion that will be accepted by everyone without the possibility of reasonable doubt. For exaxmple, I cannot prove beyond the possibility of doubt - in a way that will convince all philosophers - that the Rocky Mountains are really there. . . . I cannot prove that the entire universe did not pop into existence five minutes ago and that all of our apparent memories are not illusions. I cannot prove that the other people you see in school have minds. Perhaps they are very clever robots. (How do you know that they are not?)"

    Likewise, as Steve Hays put it in his article "Why I Believe":

    "When the average Christian is asked why he believes in God, he may be stumped. It seems like a natural enough question, so why is it so hard to offer a simple and straightforward reply? One problem is that to pose such a question is to plunge into the river at midstream, rather than crossing at the riverbank.

    "You see, we prove or disprove the existence or the truth of one thing by assuming the existence or truth of something else. Suppose, for example, someone asked you why you believe in time or space? Wouldn't you be taken aback by such a question? Ordinarily, questions of fact are not nearly that large. If you ask me whether I believe in the lunar landings or the Loch Ness monster, such things and events, if they happen to exist or ever happen, take place within space and time. The spatio-temporal framework is taken for granted. But if you ask me to justify the framework itself, then I may be at a loss in even knowing how to broach an answer, for the question is so big and broad that it leaves me without a point of reference.

    "So we normally ask whether something exists in space, but not whether space exists. We ask whether something occurred in time, but not whether time occurs. The reason we usually don't give a reason for believing in space and time is that space and time supply the background conditions for reasoning about most other things and events.

    "And it's that way with God. We don't prove the existence of a Creator in the same way we prove the existence of a creature. For God, if there is a God, is not merely an object of truth, but the origin of truth; not just another being, but the ground of being and wellbeing. God is the author of time and space, and the ground of goodness and truthfulness, necessity and possibility."

    2. Reasons to Believe in God. Here Ganssle explicates three main arguments for the existence of God: the cosmological (or first cause) argument; the teleological (or design) argument; and the (formal) moral argument. In explicating these three arguments, Ganssle provides some very brief historical background before offering his version of the argument (e.g. Aristotle and Aquinas' formulations of the cosmological argument, Paley's formulation of the teleological argument). Likewise he deals with possible objections to these arguments.

    I'll offer a quick summary of the three arguments presented in the book. However, I'm a bit hesitant to do so because the arguments are in a naked form, lacking Ganssle's own explanations for why he formulated them in the way he did, for example. So please keep this in mind.

    The cosmological argument per Ganssle (p. 52):
    "(i) Whatever comes into existence is caused to exist by something else.
    (ii) If the series of past causes is not infinite, then the series of past causes came into existence.
    (iii) There cannot be an infinite series of past causes.
    (iv) Therefore, the series of past causes came into existence.
    (v) Therefore, there exists a cause for the series of past causes, and this cause did not itself come into existence."

    The teleological argument per Ganssle (p. 73):
    "(i) If some thing or system of things that is not made by human beings shows strongly the marks of being designed and we have no fairly good story to tell about how it shows the marks of design without really being designed, then it was probably designed.
    (ii) Many things not made by human beings show strongly the marks of being designed and we have no fairly good story to tell about how they show the marks of design without their really being designed.
    (iii) Therefore, they were probably designed.
    (iv) Therefore, a designer who is not a human being probably exists."

    The moral argument per Ganssle (p. 103):
    "Moral facts involve unconditional or categorical imperatives. These imperatives are not invented by people or by society. One very plausible way to understand imperatives is in terms of purpose. Unconditional imperatives require an unconditional purpose. So the nature of morality is good reason to think that there is a purpose for human beings and that this purpose is not invented by people or society, nor is it optional. The final step in this chapter is to point out that the existence of this kind of purpose for human beings is pretty surprising if there is no God and human beings are, in the end, accidental byproducts of accidental processes. Yet such a purpose is not at all surprising if God exists and created human beings."

    Of course, Ganssle points out that these aren't the only lines of argument for God's existence. But these are popularly known arguments and they also help illustrate how philosophy works. What's more, these three arguments collectively make a stronger case for belief in God than they might do individually.

    3. God and Evil. Here Ganssle tackles the problem of evil. How is the existence of evil compatible with the existence of God? Or more to the point, how can a wholly good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God allow evil to exist? Among many other things, Ganssle points out that not knowing why evil exists does not logically lead to the conclusion that God does not exist. He then offers reasons why he thinks God might allow evil. Although I don't agree, the most prominent reason given here involves libertarian free will. Nevertheless, it's important to think through the argument(s) because it helps hone one's critical thinking skills and, moreover, it helps to understand opposing arguments and viewpoints.

    4. What is God Like? Here Ganssle argues, if God exists, why he would be a person (a word which needs and receives some unpacking), all-good, omnipotent, and omniscient (with knowledge of the future as well).

    The last point Ganssle makes is, if there is such a God as he has described, then it would be reasonable to expect him to reveal himself and communicate with us.

    Ganssle notes that there are two main sources for our knowledge about God: (i) inference from the universe and/or what it contains to God, as per the three arguments in section two; and (ii) if God himself reveals himself to us. "Notice that the first way to know anything about God moves from the world to God. The second way moves in the opposite direction. It moves from God to us" (p. 179). In other words, we can know about God through what theologians have termed general as well as special revelation. Obviously, there's much more to be said. But Ganssle provides a good start.

    Finally, Ganssle suggests that the method by which God would reveal himself to us, if he were to do so, would most likely be language. And that language would most likely be recorded in something like a book. Ganssle stops here, though, and notes that it'd take another book for him to argue whether God has in fact revealed himself and, if so, where it might be found.

    All in all, I thought this was an excellent book for those new to philosophy and/or the philosophy of religion in particular. Of course, I'd recommend reading further philosophical works after reading this book. There's a surprising amount of philosophical material freely available online. And one can follow philosophy of religion weblogs like Prosblogion. As far as philosophy books, since I'm a Reformed and evangelical Christian, I'd recommend philosophers such as Paul Helm, Oliver Crisp, and James Anderson as well as theologians like John Frame (Frame has had significant philosophical training; he's ABD [All But Dissertation] in philosophy at Yale). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion by Brian Davies, who is a Catholic philosopher, is a standard textbook at many universities. Ganssle offers a list of some books he'd recommend for further reading at the end of Thinking About God which would certainly be worth considering (e.g. Reason for the Hope Within by Michael Murray (ed.) ).

    Ganssle received his PhD from Syracuse University, and is currently a lecturer at Yale University. He has primarily published (including his doctoral dissertation) works dealing with God and time.

  • I found this book to be a very good intro/primer for someone wanting to dip their toes into the waters of religious philiosophy. Ganssle doesn't get bogged down by the technical nuances of rational proofs like a number of other philisophy books. And yet he is still able to make the points necessary to introduce the reader to the ideas of thinking rationally about a God that we must take by faith.

  • Good read and even better it's an easy read

  • Ganssle says that, "One of the virtues to which a philosopher aspires is clarity." That is exactly what he has done in this book. He provides a clear and concise introduction to philosophy of religion. He presents his arguments in an understandable way without sacrificing their strength. The discussions are solid and entertaining.

    I am a full time student and a part time youth minister. I had my high school group read the chapter on faith, and they understood it and enjoyed it. This book simply does an outstanding job at presenting the material in an easy way without watering down the content. Anyone interested in this subject should start here with Ganssle's book.