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Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, Faith

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Does it make sense - can it make sense - for someone who appreciates the explanatory power of modern science to continue believing in a traditional religious account of the ultimate nature and purpose of our universe? This book is intended for those who care about that question and are dissatisfied with the rigid dichotomies that dominate the contemporary debate. The ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by OUP Oxford (first published October 27th 2011)
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Paul Bryant
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: godreads
I learned two things.

1. For the first time, I think I finally understood the implications of one of the standard arguments about the problem of evil. This problem is succinctly summarized – there is so much evil and suffering in the world that either God refuses to help, which makes God himself evil, or he cannot help, which makes him weak or irrelevant. Believers have to get God out of this jam. Believers respond with the free will argument – if God did intervene, we would become his puppets.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was sent it to read ahead of the conference I am currently attending. In the book Clayton and Knapp attempt to give a rational basis for their religious belief, a rational basis that can communicate with skeptics and nonbelievers.

Many of the issues they discuss and the options they give demonstrate a very careful, well-thought rational presentation of religious and Christian thought. And they are to be commended for attempting a form of realism about resurrection, Trinity, etc., rather than
Donald Brooks
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While this is one of the more controversial books that I have read in a while, and while I may not subscribe to a lot of the philosophical and theological methodologies used to get to its conclusions, it has put a lot of what I have dealt with over the past 8 years into concrete and more definitive terms. It's great to see Christians honestly and radically engaging academic studies as well as church life and not just copping out with easy synthesis or faith-submitting mystery claims. It's strong ...more
Ryan Bell
Clayton & Knapp make a valiant effort to neither neglect skeptical arguments against faith nor give away all the content of their Christian faith. However, in my view, they ultimately fail in this effort.

I found the first half of the book refreshingly honest but the transition to the second half was like grinding gears. I couldn't follow them the rest of the way.

Panentheism may save God from traditional critiques of traditional Christianity but in the end, their God is too hidden, inert and
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF at 55%.

Even though I didn't finish it, The Predicament of Belief is a great book. Clayton and Knapp are articulate and passionate, without veering into a pretentious absolutism, which makes for an engaging read. It's not dense at all, but it's definitely a bit heady if you're not philosophically inclined.

I stopped reading precisely because of their generous clarity - based on the foundation laid in the first half of the book, I knew exactly what their position was and where they were taking
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating read.
My favorite part was the way it broke down belief into a continuum and highlighted 6 key points along that continuum. This concept seems generally useful even outside discussions of Christian faith.

My favorite quotes:

"But given the inherently complex and controversial nature of any speculation on the nature of the ultimate reality, and especially speculation that must link history, textual study, and metaphysical reflection, it makes more sense to speak of reasons that make
Otto Hahaa
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mitä mieltä voi ajatteleva ihminen olla näinä päivinä uskonnollista (etupäässä kristillisistä) väitteistä, kun monesta meistä tuntuu, että niiden parasta ennen -päiväys meni jo? Tässäpä yksi vastaus, joka ei yritä mennä siitä missä aita on matalin. Monessa kohdassa sanotaan ääneen, että joku muu voi tulla toiseen johtopäätökseen. / As apologetics go, this is quite nice and up-to-date. Very honest in saying aloud that someone else might reach other conclusions.
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Philip Clayton is the Dean of Claremont School of Theology and Provost of Claremont Lincoln University.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.