God Matters

Prentice Hall
Raymond Martin / Christopher Bernard  
Total pages
July 2002
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God Matters is a state-of-the-art, accessible anthology of the major issues in philosophy of religion.

Its accessibility is due to its mix of classic readings and brand new readings about contemporary issues, commissioned specifically with an undergraduate student in mind. These commissioned readings make the difficult concepts of contemporary philosophy of religion easy to understand, and are complemented by key excerpts from more technical philosophers' writing on the same subjects.

The result is an engaging, comprehensive reader that introduces students to the most important ideas in classical and contemporary philosophy of religion, to the most important thinkers, and even to excerpts from the key texts in which these thinkers presented their groundbreaking theories.


  • The text provides comprehensive coverage of ten major issues (approximately 70 selections), allowing instructors to focus on those topics that interest them most, along with shorter, boxed selections that present alternative viewpoints, provide the "flavor" of certain philosophers' writing, or introduce short ideas relevant to the longer readings.
  • Eighteen specially commissioned, user-friendly selections-written just for this text by prominent philosophers like Antony Flew and Michael Martin-provide exciting introductions to the most important current issues in a language students can understand (rather than the technical language of much contemporary philosophy), while 25 selections from the most important classical literature present the ideas of some of the great philosophers-Plato, Augustine, Aquinas-in their own words.
  • Short excerpts from a diverse selection of important thinkers, Western and non-Western, are included in boxes throughout the book. This boxed material greatly expands the number of authors and points of view that students are introduced to, and adds interest to the text by breaking up longer selections.
  • A biographical/thematic introduction to every selection in the text personalizes the readings and orients the students to them.
  • “Reading Questions” prior to every selection assist in and test reading comprehension.
  • “Questions for Further Reflection” after each selection encourage students to think critically about the reading and consider the issues of the reading in greater depth.
  • “Suggestions for Further Reading” after every selection provide students with additional readings that will help them deepen their understanding of the issues presented.

Table of Contents

* Indicates original essay, commissioned for this book, which make difficult concepts easier to understand.Each selection begins with “Reading Questions” and concludes with “Questions for Further Reflection” and “Suggestions for Further Reading.”




1. God Is All Powerful, Thomas Aquinas.
2. Some Puzzles Concerning Omnipotence, George I. Mavrodes. Box: Harry G. Frankfurt, “The Paradox of the Stone.”
3. God's Knowledge, Thomas Aquinas.
*4. Divine Knowledge and Human Freedom, Scott Davison.

Box: Augustine, “God's Foreknowledge Does Not Rule out Free Will.”

Box: Jonathan Edwards, “God's Foreknowledge Rules out Libertarian Freedom.

God and Time.
5. God Is Outside of Time, Boethius.
6. Eternity, Eleanor Stump and Norman Kretzmann.

Box: William Lane Craig, “Time: The Familiar Stranger.”

Box: William J. Wainwright, “God's Compassion.”


The Ontological Argument.
7. The Ontological Argument, Anselm and Gaunilo.

Box: Rene Descartes, “It Is Impossible to Think of God as Not Existing.”

8. Critique of the Ontological Argument, Immanuel Kant.

Box: William Rowe, “Anselm Begs the Question.”

Box: Stephen Davis, “Existence Is a Predicate.”

9. Anselm's Ontological Arguments, Norman Malcolm.

Box: Alvin Plantinga, “The Hartshorne-Malcolm Version of the Ontological Argument.”

The Cosmological Argument.
10. The Five Ways, Thomas Aquinas.

Box: Frederick Copleston, “A Hierarchy of Causes.”

*11. The Cosmological Argument, David Yandell and Keith Yandell.

Box: Gottfried Leibniz, “Proving God.”

Box: Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston, “The Russell-Copleston Debate.”

12. Criticisms of Cosmological Arguments, J.L. Mackie.

Box: Elliot Sober, “The Birthday Fallacy.”

Box: William Rowe, “An Argument Against the Principle of Sufficient Reason.”

13. The Kalam Cosmological Argument, William Lane Craig.

Box: Paul Davies, “Is the Universe a Free Lunch?

Box: John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, “The Anthropic Principle.”

*14. A Critical Examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Wes Morriston.
The Design Argument.
15. The Watch and the Watchmaker, William Paley.

Box: Michael Denton, “Self-Duplication as Evidence of Design.”

Box: Walter Bradley, “Complex Living Systems Are Evidence of Design.”

16. Critique of the Design Argument, David Hume.

Box: George Smith, “Who Designed the Designer?”

Box: Robin Le Poidevin, “Evolution Explains Apparent Design.”

*17. God, Design, and Fine-Turing, Robin Collins.

Box: Richard Dawkins, “Atheism Before Darwin?”

The Moral Argument.
18. The Moral Argument for the Existence of God, C.S. Lewis.
19. Critique of the Moral Argument, J.L. Mackie.


The Evidential Challenge.
20. The Presumption of Atheism, Antony Flew.

Box: Michael Scriven, “Santa Claus and the Belief in God.”

*21. A Pascalian Rejoinder to the Presumption of Atheism, R. Douglas Geivett.
*22. Response to R. Douglas Geivett's “A Pascalian Rejoinder to the Presumption of Athesism,”Antony Flew.
23. It Is Wrong to Believe Without Evidence, William Clifford.
24. What Should We Expect from Theistic Proofs?, George I. Mavrodes.
Belief Without Evidence: A Defense.
25. Pascal's Wagner, Blaise Pascal.

Box: William Lycan and George Schlesinger, “You Bet Your Life.”

26. The Will to Believe, William James.
27. Religious Belief Requires a Leap of Faith, Soren Kierkegaard.
28. Kierkegaard's Leap of Faith, Robert Merrihew Adams.
29. Reformed Epistemology and the Rationality of Theistic Belief, James F. Sennett.

Box: Alvin Plantinga, “The Aquinas/Calvin Model.”

Box: Alvin Plantinga, “The Great Pumpkin Objection.”

*30. Reformed Epistemology: An Atheist Perspective, Keith M. Parsons.

Box: Michael Martin, “Son of a Great Pumpkin.”

*31. Religious Belief for the Rest of Us: Reflections on Reformed Epistemology, Sandra Menssen and Thomas Sullivan.
Reason and Revelation.
32. Reason and Revelations Compliment Each Other, Thomas Aquinas.


33. Evil and the Existence of God, David Hume.

Box: An Author of Genesis, “Abraham and Isaac.”

34. Soul-Making Theodicy, John Hick.

Box: Edward Madden and Peter Hare, “The Torturing Headmaster.”

Box: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, “Karma and Freedom.”

35. This Is the Best of All Possible Worlds, Gottfried Leibniz.
36. Must God Create the Best?, Robert M. Adams.

Box: Tan Tai Wei, “Morality and the God of Love.”

37. The Logical Problem of Evil, J. L. Mackie.
38. The Free Will Defense, Alvin Plantinga.

Box: Richard Gale, “The Causal Compatibilist Objection.”

Box: Richard Swinburne, “Free to Be Responsible for Others.”

39. The Evidential Argument from Evil, Michael Martin.

Box: William Rowe, “The Inductive Argument from Evil.”

Box: Paul Draper, “The Abductive Argument from Evil.”

*40. Induction, Abduction, and the Argument from Evil, Christopher Bernard.


41. Varieties of Religious Experience, William James.

Box: Shankara, “The Mind.”

Box: Laozi, “Dao De Jing.”

*42. Is Numinous Experience Evidence that God Exists?, Keith Yandell.

Box: Walpola Rahula, “Nirvana.”

43. Perceiving God, “William P. Alston.”
44. Critique of the Argument From Religious Experience, Michael Scriven.


45. Of Miracles, David Hume.
*46. On Hume's Philosophical Case Against Miracles, Daniel Howard-Snyder.

Box: C.S. Lewis, “Hume Begs the Question.”

*47. Historians on Miracles, Raymond Martin.

Box: Morton Smith, “Historical Method and the Study of Religion.”

Box: Nancy Murphy, “The Historian as Philosopher.”


48. Science Refutes Religion, Richard Dawkins.

Box: Daniel Dennett, “Darwin's Dangerous Idea.”

49. Darwinist Religion, Phillip E. Johnson.

Box: Alvin Plantigna, “The Grand Evolutionary Myth.”

50. Evolution is Not a Threat to Religion, Phillip Kitcher.


51. Death and Immorality, <IPlato.

Box: Sri Aurobindo, “The Nature of the Self.”

Box: Shunryu Suzuki, “Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.”

*52. Exploring the Case for Life After Death, J.P. Moreland.

Box: Peter van Inwagen, “Resurrection.”

Box: Thomas Nagel, “Death.”

Box: C. J. Ducasse, “Remembrances of Past Lives.”


53. The Euthyphro Dilemma, Plato.

Box: Jiddu Krishnamurti, “Religion and Spirituality.”

*54. Is God the Source of Morality? Sharon Kaye and Harry Gensler.
55. My Confession, Leo Tolstoy.

Box: Adrienne Rich, “The Liar Fears the Void.

56. The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus.

Box: Robert Nozick, “Why Are Traces Important?”


57. Religious Pluralism, John Hick.

Box: Nancy Hartsock, “Feminist Revolution.”

58. A Defense of Religious Exclusivism, Alvin Plantinga.

Box: Peter van Inwagen, “Born into the Right Religion?”

*59. Exlusivism, Pluralism, and Anarchy, Kevin Meeker.

Box: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Choices.”

*60. Religious Diversity and Religious Belief, Allen Stairs.

Box: Jane Flax, “Patriarchy.”

Box: Naomi Goldenberg, “Women Priests.”

61. Religion from an African Perspective, Kwasi Wiredu.