Roxanna zalesny's Reviews > How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan

How to Think About God by Mortimer J. Adler
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Mar 17, 11

Read from March 13 to 16, 2011

As the subtitle suggests, this book is intended "for those who do not worship the God of the Christians, the Jews, or the Muslims"--people Adler calls Pagans. More specifically, Adler wants to reach the "open-minded pagans." Perhaps he should have simply stated that the book was for the open-minded AND the intellectually adept. If the "pagan" does not have a basic background in these arguments they will have to read the chapters very slowly in order not to get caught in the web of points, sub points, and counterpoints, not to mention the incessantly repeated points. He presents layers of "proof" for each premise he makes which makes it very hard to follow. He comes off as pompous when he loses patience for any reader who cannot understand his first "self-evident" philosophical truth; snobbish when he asserts, "very little can be done to remedy the deficient understanding on the part of the those who don't immediately see the truth of such propositions." His bottom line seems to be that since the universe is radically contingent there must be a "preservative cause." This sustainer/preserver must be separate from the universe and therefore, not contingent (i.e. supernatural). Since the contingent universe could not create itself, there must have been a supernatural cause that did. My bottom line: This was a wild goose chase where philosophical "what ifs" are mixed with court room antics in an attempt to argue that something unprovable is likely through twisting words and confusing terms. I did however learn the meaning of such words as "aseity," "raison d'etre," "ab alio." It's always good to learn new words.
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