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God? Very Probably

God? Very Probably: Five Rational Ways to Think about the Question of God

Robert H. Nelson
Foreword by Herman Daly
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Lutterworth Press
Pages: 320
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1cg4m4s
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  • Book Info
    God? Very Probably
    Book Description:

    In recent years, a number of works have appeared with important implications for the age-old question of the existence of a god. These writings, many of which are not by theologians, strengthen the rational case for the existence of a god, even as this god may not be exactly the Christian God of history. This book brings together for the first time such recent diverse contributions from fields such as physics, the philosophy of human consciousness, evolutionary biology, mathematics, the history of religion, and theology. Based on such new materials as well as older ones from the twentieth century, it develops five rational arguments that point strongly to the (very probable) existence of a god. They do not make use of the scientific method, which is inapplicable to the question of a god. Rather, they are in an older tradition of rational argument dating back at least to the ancient Greeks. For those who are already believers, the book will offer additional rational reasons that may strengthen their belief. Those who do not believe in the existence of a god at present will encounter new rational arguments that may cause them to reconsider their opinion.

    eISBN: 978-0-7188-4458-5
    Subjects: Philosophy
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Herman Daly

    Bob Nelson and I occupied adjacent offices at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy for about fifteen years. This led to many conversations that were pleasant and fruitful because we shared interests in both economics and environmental studies. Also, we agreed in our basic world views enough to make good conversation possible, yet differed enough to make it interesting. So when Bob asked me to read and comment on an earlier draft of this book, I accepted.

    To be painfully honest, however, I thought at the time that I knew a bit more about theology and religion than...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-19)

    In this book I will be looking to persuade you that the probabilities favor the existence of a god, relying on rational forms of argument accessible not only to traditional devout believers but to current self-professed atheists as well. In other words, I will not be relying on arguments from “faith alone.” For those who already believe that a god exists, I will for some of them be adding additional rational arguments to support their already existing views; for nonbelievers at present, I will be offering rational reasons for why they might want to reconsider their position. My conclusion does...

  7. 2 Thinking About God
    (pp. 20-52)

    I have faith, dear reader, that you exist. As you may be surprised to hear, this is only a personal conviction of mine. By strictly scientific criteria alone, I have no proof that you do actually exist. And no, I am not referring to the possibility that this book will be so uninspiring that it will not have any readers at all. Rather, I am pointing to a basic issue of epistemology that has been explored by past writers as distinguished as David Hume and Immanuel Kant—the impossibility of any direct contact between the minds of my readers and...

  8. 3 God the Mathematician: The Miracle of Mathematical Order in the Natural World
    (pp. 53-97)

    In 1913, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr formulated a new theory of the actions of electrons as they orbited the nucleus of the atom, a critical step towards the development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, leading to his winning the Nobel prize in physics in 1922. He continued to be among the most influential figures among the physicists of the world for decades to come, and is today commonly ranked among the greatest physicists of history.¹ Like a number of other leading physicists of the twentieth century, Bohr also had a deep interest in the implications of the discoveries...

  9. 4 Darwinism as Secular Fundamentalism
    (pp. 98-155)

    I should emphasize at the outset that I am not questioning in this book that natural biological evolution has occurred over about four billion years; I agree fully, its reality cannot be reasonably disputed (assuming one has faith, as I do, in the long run workings of the world scientific community). I also agree fully that there is an immense fossil record, much of it deposited hundreds of millions of years ago, that must be regarded as a factual history of a main part of life on earth. But neither of these areas of agreement comes close to being the...

  10. 5 Scientifically Inexplicable: The Mystery of Human Consciousness
    (pp. 156-204)

    Human existence is human consciousness. There is nothing before it and nothing after it (that we can say about for sure). It is all you and I have. The “material” realm is simply a coding classification within human consciousness for certain mental events that we place in that category. Indeed, to belief that “ the material world” actually exists as something outside our individual consciousness requires a leap of faith. As discussed earlier in this book, I happen to make that leap, as you the reader very likely also do, along with the vast majority of other human beings. But...

  11. 6 Divine Agency in Recorded Human History: Are There “Miracles”?
    (pp. 205-233)

    Although our awareness is dulled by familiarity, we are daily surrounded by miracles. An iPhone is a miracle, able to receive telephone calls and emails without any physical connection anywhere—through the air, as it seems (or in reality it could as well be through a “vacuum”). An airplane carrying 300 people from New York to London is a miracle. Modern medicine can restore the sight of some people, a miracle with biblical overtones. Google is a miracle, able to access vast troves of information worldwide seemingly instantaneously, at times seeming to take a large step towards omniscience. If any...

  12. 7 Secular Religion, Christianity, and Modernity
    (pp. 234-251)

    In the eighteenth century many of the leading thinkers of the Enlightenment saw it as a decisive turning point in all of human history—in the same way the incarnation of Jesus had long been regarded in the Christian world.¹ As many of them saw matters, since at least the collapse of ancient Greece and Rome, human beings had lived in ignorance, deceived among many others by the falsehoods of the Christian religion—above all by the Roman Catholic Church. But the development of the scientific method in the seventeenth century, and its ever-widening application in the eighteenth and further...

  13. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 252-268)

    The world as we think we know it personally as a matter of our own common sense is an illusion, as least as the leading physicists, philosophers, and other authoritative experts of the twentieth century, and now the early twenty-first century, have been telling us. The existence of a physical world of matter, for example, is an illusion. Indeed, philosophers had long explained to us that we have access only to sense perceptions in our mind of an exterior reality. As the British theologian Keith Ward points out, “We see sights, hear sounds, feel touches and out of them construct...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-280)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)