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Is There a God?

3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  167 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Is There a God? offers a powerful response to modern doubts about the existence of God. It may seem today that the answers to all fundamental questions lie in the province of science, and that the scientific advances of the twentieth century leave little room for God. Cosmologists have rolled back their theories to the moment of the Big Bang; the discovery of DNA reveals t ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 11th 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1996)
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Right now, there should be a fascinating dialogue going on between the science and faith communities... but there isn't. It's so frustrating! You'd think it would be impossible to stop it; as you can see in recent books like Rees's Just Six Numbers, Susskind's The Cosmic Landscape and Hawking's The Grand Design, many scientists are happy to agree that the universe looks as though it has been designed to make life possible. Susskind's book is subtitled "String theory and the illusion of Intellige ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Trevor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, religion

The stated aim of this book is to prove to its reader that not only does God exist, but that the Judaeo-Christian-Muslim God exists. The proofs are a little limp, the major one being that it is more reasonable and more rational to believe in God than to not believe in him. The evidence presented will not be certain knowledge, that would be asking too much – but like the evidence in all great mystery stories it will be ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

I must say that if I was convinced in the existence
Richard Swinburne, the emeritus Nolloth professor of the philosophy of religion at Oxford and one of the foremost philosophers of our time, is my Elvis. His monographs on theism and specifically the Christian religion are extremely rigorous defences which even the atheists among his colleagues find formidable edifices to attack. IS THERE A GOD? is meant to be a distillation of his thought for layman readers without especial training in the philosophy of religion. Unfortunately, it is an often di ...more
This is my first book by Richard Swinburne. As he finishes in the epilogue, he was disappointed and so am I.

Why? I didn't learn anything new in this topic.

Is there a God?

Swinburne says, yes because he postulates God as the most simple explanation. Note that, he doesn't say, you can't explain therefore God, that is simply not what he is claiming. He says there are three explanations.

a) Materialism
b) Humanism
c) Theism

Under these three, he builds his case using four criteria for justification
May 30, 2010 Pavel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clearly written, meticulously argued, but and ultimately - unpersuasive. The whole structure is based on the premisses of substance dualism and interactionsm, the views that there could be an unembodied mind and that this mind could create and maintain the physical world. We have very little evidence in support of these two views, and massive evidence against them. Still, this is a good and short introduction to the philosophy of (Christian) religion.
Sarah Hackley
Nov 04, 2010 Sarah Hackley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Jeff Johnson
This book is full of circular reasoning meant to justify beliefs already held by the author. I'm sure Swinburne is in fact an intelligent and dedicated philosopher. However, I wouldn't say that if I had only this book on which to base such an assertion.
Daniel Rodger
Jan 16, 2016 Daniel Rodger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to expect too much from a short book, but it is a dry read, which wasn't totally a surprise. Swinburne offers some fascinating insights and arguments in a short space and it is worth reading.
John Martindale
This book by Swinburne is definitely easy reading, I do kind of wonder the attempt to summarize and make things really simple resulted in a certain parts striking the readership as a bit contrived, questionable and unbelievable. I dunno, I would need to read his more academic works to compare. I did like the book overall and occasionally I was excited to read a distinction or some point made that I never heard anyone else make, or that I myself had some to from personal reflections.

I appreciate
Matthew Reade
May 16, 2017 Matthew Reade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A useful introduction to a series of complex arguments in favor of the existence of God.
Alan Hughes
Is There a God? offers a powerful response to modern doubts about the existence of God. It may seem today that the answers to all fundamental questions lie in the province of science, and that the scientific advances of the twentieth century leave little room for God. Cosmologists have rolled back their theories to the moment of the Big Bang; the discovery of DNA reveals the key to life; the theory of evolution explains the development of life--and with each new discovery or development, it seem ...more
Arioua Abdallah
In this book, the well-known theologian and philosopher Richard Swinburne makes a case for God in a condensed way by presenting some basic arguments. This book is a summarized and very short version of his known trilogy (The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason). What I liked the most about this book is its clarity and fairness. The book is only about whether God exists or not. Neither Atheism nor any of its protagonists is mocked or ridiculed. He presents an intriguin ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swinburne is a highly respected Christian scholar who is deserving of his reputation of being a reliable scholar that any Christian can count on for valuable insights. I enjoyed his explanation of God's properties as it was so precisely articulated and coherent along with his insights on the mind/body issue. He largely seems to be an advocate for open theism and theistic evolution, which I find to be untenable on a biblical worldview. Nevertheless, I still gained valuable insights despite my dis ...more
If your trying to back up the point that God exsists then this book will surely do the trick.The book included a lot of great exapmles, but they were, however, very scientific and at a lot of times hard to follow. It seemed that he was preaching the same points all throughout the book, and would have been better had he chosen some different points to push. Overall I thought the reading was pretty dry and hard to follow. The first chapter of the book was the most beneficial, and it was the only o ...more
May 25, 2012 Eli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is definitely some good points Swinburne makes in this book regarding epistemic justification, and I think they are valuable for all to read. But overall the book is nothing special, and Swinburne gives away too much, claiming that evolution is true, and that life is basically just about being a good person. This book, I would say, is not distinctively Christian, though Swinburne rights as one and for the Christian God.
Jul 05, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this pretty well. Swinburne is good at taking somewhat complex ideas and CS Lewis style make them very accessible. I like his go through of the Argument from Consciousness which is one I find particularly compelling. He does cover so much ground however that he doesn't adequately cover some important objections or he glosses over steps, but for the short volume it is it's a nice introduction to a contemporary approach to philosophical theistic apologetics.
Jul 11, 2012 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad introduction on one of the more serious and intelligent Christian apologetics out there. I still have major reservations with how he puts forward some of his arguments and the fact that he goes very little into other competing religious theories i.e. polytheism, or doesn't at all with deistic interpretations.

Still, he gives some compelling arguments which made me think more about my own position as an atheist.
Ashish Jaituni
Dec 21, 2012 Ashish Jaituni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apologetics
A very good book! Immensely readable, very well written. Better arguments presented and a good case for God. Richard Swinburne is certainly one of the best Christian Philosophers of the 20th century. Except for 2-3 places where I don't agree with Swinburne's argument or find it weak, he does a great job of presenting a case for the existence of God.
Oct 28, 2007 JDP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is an excellent work for someone who wants to know what one of the best philosophers of our time thinks about the existence of God and some other basic issues in philosophy. a beginner can pick this one up and follow the text.
Jan 07, 2014 Gort rated it did not like it
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Rafael Reyes III
Although I do not fully agree with Swinburne's final outcome, I cannot deny his sound methodology and reasoning in getting to his position. He speaks with simplicity yet profoundness that most can read and understand.
Sep 01, 2010 Ike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read all of it, but enough of it for my philosophy of Religion class.
Eric Black
May 09, 2014 Eric Black rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, dislike
A largely unconvincing and tedious book mercifully more brief than The Coherence of Theism
David Anderson
David Anderson rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2014
J.w. Wartick
J.w. Wartick rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2012
Colin rated it liked it
May 13, 2008
Scott rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2014
Andy Medina
Andy Medina rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2013
Jose A. Rivera
Jose A. Rivera rated it it was amazing
Dec 02, 2015
Wavymouth rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2011
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Richard G. Swinburne is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years Swinburne has been a very influential proponent of natural theology, that is, philosophical arguments for the existence of God. His philosophical contributions are primarily in philosophy of religion and philosophy of science. He aroused much discussion with his early work in the philoso ...more
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