Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Impossibility of God

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

Almost everyone has some sort of relationship with the concept of God. The vast majority of human beings believe in the reality or the real existence of such an entity. But in the midst of all this profound belief, very few adherents have ever taken it upon themselves to prove rationally or logically the verification of this concept. One would think that acquiring reasonable proof would be the prerequisite for holding or advocating any belief.
When I was still a teenager this seemed to me to be the obvious task of any true believer. How could one truly expect others to share ones belief and profound faith in something, if it could not be, at least, rationally substantiated - never mind brought forward in terms of the concrete.
This was an obligation that I put onto myself. I found that many others had taken this task upon themselves also - not the least among them being St. Thomas Aquinas.
I was fascinated to read that Thomas Aquinas expressed my exact motivation. He wanted to prove, once and for all time that this concept that he so passionately believed in, was the truth and could be demonstrated rationally and logically to anyone who would take the time to listen.
This is where I started nearly forty years ago - and I’m still involved in that debate. In fact, several years ago, I began a personal project to compile a book of all the proofs and disproofs of the existence of God. It is a difficult subject and many of the arguments seem to turn into mental tongue twisters. Then the other day I was browsing through the Theology section in a Borders Book Store and I saw a book entitled ‘The Impossibility of God”. I thought to myself; This should be good. I picked it up and went over to a table and with a cup of good coffee; I began perusing its contents.
I bought it.
I don’t know if this book contains every argument ever thought up or written on this subject, but it is a good start. This book contains more arguments than my nine volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy or even my multiple Dictionary of the History of Ideas. This book edited by Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier has some arguments that I not only have never heard but that I don’t even understand.
The book is handled in a professional philosophical manner. It is not somebody simply mouthing off either positively or negatively. It is all laid out in propositions, premises, therefores and conclusions. This book is published by Prometheus Books.
I have enjoyed reading this book, but it is not a night table or bedtime book - it is a study; it is a text. This book requires considerable analysis and thought.
It gives both sides of the arguments. It provides footnotes at the end of each chapter and sources are most often provided for further reading.
I am still working on this book. I must admit this book has put a crimp in the book that I have been writing. I will continue with my efforts understanding all too well that my book will be a dumbing down of the efforts contained in this work. But in today’s world “dumb” seems to have a great appeal - not only in politics but in real life. So my book may have a greater public appeal and even larger readership than this effort.

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