I’m currently reading Jason’s SttH and Lewis’ Miracles. Any metaphysics book recommendations for proving theism (and especially trinitarian theism)?
Are you actually looking for metaphysics, or for apologetics?
You may be looking at two books, since theism does not entail trinitarianism.
You probably are aware that there is not an argument that satisfies everyone, either for or against theism. What philosophers aim for these days is ‘warranted belief’ and there is a lot of that extant; but you do have to decide between metaphysics as such and apologetics.
For an easier way into the subject, the Christian philosopher Jerry Gill has a couple of books that are helpful - such as “Mediated Transcendence, a postmodern inquiry” which is very good.
If you are completely up to snuff on your philosophical vocabulary, I can recommend other things, mainly from Analytic Philosphers who are Christian as well.
(fwiw - I like books that are ‘inquiries’. Less dogmatic and more open to a wider range of experience and reason. $.02)
I’m no philosophical major, but I’ve read an introductory philosophy book.
I also have a David Bentley Hart book on the way.
What books would you say contain the most persuasive arguments for theism?
David Bentley Hart is OUTSTANDING! I could not recommend anything better. Be advised that the opening 1/2 of Beauty of the Infinite is a tough slog if you are not used to the concepts. But you can always go to the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (online) for articles on those nuts that are hard to crack. It is apologetic in a certain way - by showing the glory of the Lord and how teaching about Him answers to human questions, even the most ‘sophisticated’ ones.
A powerful book is an old one - Our Knowledge of God by John Baillie - available on Amazon, cheap because of its 1959 date, I suppose.
Does DBH actually make an argument for the existence of God in BOTI?
The book I ordered by him is amazon.com/gp/aw/d/03002093 … nce+of+god
If by proof you mean a step by step logical argument that noone can refute - nobody has made that argument. What people have done is to correlate human questions and Biblical answers (Paul Tillich, who wades in pretty far( mataphysically)) or amassed a lot of “evidence that demands a verdict” (Josh somebody, Amazon also)
The presuppositionalists like Cornelius Van Til show how it is only possible to argue across systems by digging down to presuppositions - worldviews, etc. - and thereby uncloaking the defenses of those who do not believe. “Defense of the Faith” is such a book and you might get a lot out of that.
Others will have recommendations perhaps more suitable.
I have not read the book you bought, I’m sure it is very good, though.
Well, the book entitled The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart, has gotten excellent reviews and ratings on Amazon. Actually, it reminds me of the experience of Indian Vedanta. Which some like the Roman Catholic Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths - who also adopted the name Swami Dayananda (“bliss of compassion”), incorporates with the Roman Catholic theology. The experience of God is bliss.
All this deep stuff must be balanced - of course. Which is what I have learned, from the Red Road, Zen and Vedanta wisdom traditions. This is why I also turn to my Holy Fool’s tradition role models, like Harpo Marks, Stan Laurel and Curly Howard. Or watch TV shows and movies about Zombies. Or I relax with a comic book.
In my experience, unbelief is nearly always unsophisticated. Desire for a pretty girl rather than philosophical argumentation tends to be the reason for not going to church.
I agree, but it depends on who you are talking to. Some have a legitimate intellectual approach to life and we (!) ‘understand’ in that way only.
Before I forget - “Does God Exist?” by Hans Kung is massive, difficult in some places, but oh man does he get to the heart of the matter, intellectually.
As far as reason goes I’m indebted to the Christian philosopher Kelly James Clark:
Reason is not neutral. It does not stand dispassionately, without prejudice (prejudgment), overlooking the evidence; it is not bias free (at least on matters of fundamental human concern). Believing is very often seeing. Reason is situated, located, embodied in this person at this time and this place. It is moved by our biases to attend to this sort of evidence and to ignore that sort of evidence. It values this experience and discounts that one…We cannot attain the view from nowhere to check our beliefs against the facts…we are stuck both within ourselves and the world as it presents itself to us; we cannot stand outside ourselves to compare our beliefs to the reality we suppose they tell us about. We simply cannot get the view from nowhere - not with respect to trees and surely not with respect to gods. We are finite, believing creatures with all that attends that fact. -
Kelly Clark earned his Ph.D. under Alvin Plantinga in studying cumulative case arguments for God. He agrees with Plantinga that arguments can make belief in God rational but they are not needed for rational justification for belief in God. Check out “Warranted Christian Belief” by Plantinga. For him, belief in God isn’t based on arguments but a properly basic belief. It has a higher degree of warrant and certainty that way according to the model developed by Plantinga. Reformed Epistemologists have studied the arguments for God and shown that they are weak and don’t prove their conclusion or even make it more likely than not that the Christian God exists. They can make belief in Christ rational for some though.
Here’s my basic outline where basic Christian belief can be rational and warranted. For a better and more in depth treatment see “Warranted Christian Belief” by Plantinga. Any mistakes are mine. According to the model humans have fallen into sin and this has disrupted or clouded our awareness of God. It affects not only our rational faculties but our affections as well. They have malfunctioned or are to some degree dysfunctional (some worse than others). When these faculties are functioning properly (the way they ought) we will come to sense God’s presence. Not only from looking at a beautiful sunset but the beautiful Christ in the Gospel as well. When things go as they ought to (according to a design plan) we will love God above all else and our neighbor as our self. The Holy Spirit produces within that firm and certain knowledge (faith) that we are loved by Christ. When held firmly enough these beliefs will constitute knowledge. Because the beliefs and affections are functioning properly according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief we are justified and rational in holding our beliefs. Plantinga doesn’t claim to argue or prove that God exists or that Christianity is true. These beliefs just rise up from within. But FOR THOSE who have changed and love God above all else and their neighbor as their self their beliefs and faith in Christ have warrant FOR THEM and they are rational in holding them. That is, they are functioning properly according to a design plan. God’s design plan. And are therefore rational and warranted.
Qaz et. al. - as to proof, here are two short readable posts from MavPhil that are incisive, I think, as to the fact that God’s existence is not provable, but neither is His non-existence provable, but believing in His existence can be Reasonable. Well worth reading. Not long and boring.
I’m on page 33 of DBH’s “The Experience of God”. So far it is really good. My only disappointment so far is that it seems to be a case for theism, but not specifically the one true (Christian) God.
I know the Bible is God’s word by the self-authenticating glory that is revealed. The main part of Christ’s glory is the lion and lamb paradox. This glory is revealed not only through Christ in the Gospel but is interlaced throughout the Bible as well as reality. The evidence brings a transformation of mind and heart:
“Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”~~ 2 Corinthians 3:18
This intuitive awareness and knowledge is mediated through the words of the Bible. It’s not in the words themselves but the meaning of properly understood revelation. The brightness of the beauty of the diamond is in the face of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the nondual paradox and mystery for Christians is a living Person (Christ). He is very God and very human. In Him all cosmic opposites are reconciled. It’s about becoming open to the opposites we find in Christ. It is here that we can begin to hold the opposites together in our self. A few examples:
We admire Him for His transcendence, but even more because His transcendence is accompanied by condescension
We admire Him for His uncompromising justice, but even more because it is mingle with His mercy
We admire Him for His majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness
We admire Him for His equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal He nevertheless has a deep reverence for God
We admire Him because of how worthy He was of all good, but even more because this was accompanied by an amazing patience to suffer evil
We admire Him because of His Lordship over the world, but even more because this was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission
We love the way He stumped the proud scribes with His wisdom, and we love it even more because He could be simple enough to spend time with children
We admire Him because He could still the storm, but even more because He refused to use that power to strike the Samaritans with lightening and He refused to use it to get Himself down from the cross
The purest and most exalted image of Christ is the fused together of extreme opposites. This is the highest expression of the Beautiful. It is a splendor arising out of unity in diversity. The greater the diversity the more profound the unity and the more extraordinary the Beauty.
Anyone read DBH’S Beauty of the Infinite? Does he make a metaphysical argument for Christianity?
He does not make such an argument in that book.
Thanks Dave! You saved me some money.