God and the Philosophers

God and the Philosophers : Reconciliation of Faith and Reason

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"I am a philosopher because I am a Christian," writes Brian Leftow. "To many intellectuals, this probably sounds like saying that I am a dog because I am a cat." Indeed, prejudice against religious belief runs deep in the academy; in particular, many philosophers hold that faith is incompatible with their profession. But Thomas Morris has met that view head-on by asking a distinguished group of philosophers to write about the union of faith and reason in their lives. God and the Philosphers offers a series of highly personal, thoughtful essays by traditionally religious philosophers, revealing the power of belief in their intellectually rigorous lives and work. Figures such as William P. Alston, William J. Wainwright, Marilyn McCord Adams, Peter van Inwagen, and Morris himself, to name a few, speak of their own spiritual journeys, sharing their experiences as philosphically reflective individuals seeking to center themselves on God. We read of conversions from unbelief, struggles with doubts raised by the presence of evil in the world, and changing convictions shaped by constant questioning and communing with God. For example, Brian Leftow describes his acceptance of Christianity, after being raised in a secular Jewish home, and Laura Garcia writes about her conversion to Catholicism from her earlier Protestant stance. Along the way, the writers reveal religious philosophy at work--demonstrating, as Arthur F. Holmes writes, "the motivation to intellectual inquiry that Christian faith brings." Here we see how individuals with extraordinary intellectual training, discipline, and knowledge grapple with personal and existential problems, drawing on their faith as well as their finely honed reason to achieve new understanding. Profoundly honest and deeply thoughtful, these essays reveal how highly educated philosophers--working in the halls of dispassionate analysis--come to grips with their faith in a skeptical world. Together, they make a profound statement on contemporary spirituality, and the quandaries facing today's religious individual.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 292 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195088220
  • 9780195088229

Review Text

Twenty professional philosophers tell how they combine intellectual rigor with religious commitment. Although most of the great philosophers have believed in God, argues Morris (Philosophy/Notre Dame; The Logic of God Incarnate, not reviewed), many Americans today reckon that religion and reason are diametrically opposed. With this collection of essays, Morris assembles a cross section of scholars who effectively challenge this assumption. In brief chapters, the philosophers touch on themes such as their upbringing, conversion or religious development, and the ideas and thinkers who have most influenced them (Immanuel Kant, William James, and C.S. Lewis are among the most often mentioned). The general tone, however, is more personal than scholarly. We are treated to insights into the connection between spiritual life and the love of learning, as well as discussions of more obvious philosophical problems such as the nature of objectivity and the rational grounds required for religious assent. Eleanore Stump offers a moving account of how confrontation with the problem of evil can cause us to seek, rather than reject, God. Peter van Inwagen questions the basic assumptions of the Enlightenment, which he believes continue to distort our view of religion. David Shatz speaks of the dual program of Torah and secular studies at New York's Yeshiva University and of the intense relationship between religion and study in Orthodox Judaism. Morris lets his authors speak for themselves, without attempting to draw together what has been said. Although he provides a broad spectrum of Christian viewpoints, some readers will regret the absence of Islamic and Buddhist perspectives and of any discussion of the classical syntheses of faith and reason, such as that of St. Thomas Aquinas. The honesty and humanity with which these controversial themes are treated make for attractive reading. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Tom Morris

About the Author: Thomas V. Morris is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. His books include The Logic of God Incarnate, Making Sense of it All, and True Success: A New Philosophy of Excellence.show more

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95 ratings
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3 35% (33)
2 7% (7)
1 2% (2)
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