Good apologetics book for an atheist
#1
Any suggestions for a good book arguing God's existence and the reasonableness of Christian belief? Preferably one that, while compelling, isn't too dense or philosophically convoluted.
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#2
The Summa. Specifically the article on the 5 ways.
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#3
(08-09-2012, 11:51 AM)Atomagenesis Wrote: The Summa. Specifically the article on the 5 ways.

I would say this is dense and philosophically convoluted -- exactly what the OP doesn't want. Also, it is nearly impossible for any modern atheist to take Aquinas seriously -- they are all conditioned by enlightenment philosophy, which denies his very premises. I say this from personal experience. If you're trying to reason with an atheist, this approach probably won't work. You would first have to turn him into an Aristotelian, and good luck with that.
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#4
http://www.amazon.com/Rational-Faith-Exi...B0084OTP2S
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#5
(08-09-2012, 01:57 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:
(08-09-2012, 11:51 AM)Atomagenesis Wrote: The Summa. Specifically the article on the 5 ways.

I would say this is dense and philosophically convoluted -- exactly what the OP doesn't want. Also, it is nearly impossible for any modern atheist to take Aquinas seriously -- they are all conditioned by enlightenment philosophy, which denies his very premises. I say this from personal experience. If you're trying to reason with an atheist, this approach probably won't work. You would first have to turn him into an Aristotelian, and good luck with that.

I respectfully disagree with you as much as my being can possibly muster. St. Thomas's 5 ways are perfect, and it doesn't matter if modern man is entrenched in modern philosophy, that's exactly why St. Thomas's 5 proofs are important because they bring one back to the level of reality outside of one's self and truth in that reality, such as 2+2=4.

To say St. Thomas's 5 ways are philosophically convoluted is a great insult to me, and I would go so far as to say an insult to the Angelic Doctor himself.

I was a philosophy major with an emphasis in Thomistic Metaphysics; there is nothing better than the 5 ways to prove the existence of God, and it has helped me immensely in disproving atheism to people who were skeptical.
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#6
I think Grasshopper is right. The five ways are coming from completely different assumptions. I doubt they'd convince the average atheist. Of course, there is also some debate about whether or not St. Thomas even meant the five ways to really be independent proofs of the existence of God.
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#7
(08-09-2012, 03:58 PM)Atomagenesis Wrote:
(08-09-2012, 01:57 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:
(08-09-2012, 11:51 AM)Atomagenesis Wrote: The Summa. Specifically the article on the 5 ways.

I would say this is dense and philosophically convoluted -- exactly what the OP doesn't want. Also, it is nearly impossible for any modern atheist to take Aquinas seriously -- they are all conditioned by enlightenment philosophy, which denies his very premises. I say this from personal experience. If you're trying to reason with an atheist, this approach probably won't work. You would first have to turn him into an Aristotelian, and good luck with that.

I respectfully disagree with you as much as my being can possibly muster. St. Thomas's 5 ways are perfect, and it doesn't matter if modern man is entrenched in modern philosophy, that's exactly why St. Thomas's 5 proofs are important because they bring one back to the level of reality outside of one's self and truth in that reality, such as 2+2=4.

To say St. Thomas's 5 ways are philosophically convoluted is a great insult to me, and I would go so far as to say an insult to the Angelic Doctor himself.

I was a philosophy major with an emphasis in Thomistic Metaphysics; there is nothing better than the 5 ways to prove the existence of God, and it has helped me immensely in disproving atheism to people who were skeptical.

Whatever works for you, I guess. I have known lots of atheists (and have been one myself), none of whom have been the least bit swayed by those arguments. They laugh at them. I say nothing about the inherent truth or falsity of the arguments, only that they don't seem to be convincing to atheists, or to modern philosophers in general. Even Alvin Plantinga (a committed theist) finds them unconvincing.
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#8
So what other proofs philosophically are there? There aren't any. The only other one I can think of is St. Ambrose: "God is that which nothing greater can be conceived."

I'm afraid modern philosophy is completely incompatible with proving the existence of God to an atheist, using the modern construct is ridiculous and absurd because the premise is not reality itself but the mind of the individual, which is a complete disconnect.

I do not want to accuse you gentlemen of not understand St. Thomas's 5 proofs because I simply do not know you, but I must say that if you truly understood Thomas's arguments you would say they are the best because in order to have someone grasp the reality of God, they must first admit to the reality in front of them, and that is what St. Thomas is doing.

You cannot prove God's existence from the Enlightenment era Kantian construct, it's simply not possible. You have to use reailty as your premise, that which is real, and that is exactly what St. Thomas does.

It's not about "what works for me." It's about reality. I could care less what some heathen named Alvin thinks about St. Thomas. The reality is St. Thomas's 5 ways are the best proofs for the existence of God from reason alone in a philosophical inquiry. The only other thing that would prove God's existence to those who basically reject reality itself, atheists, is being punched in the face by Our Lord Jesus Christ. It takes a miracle of grace to convert these people, you can tell them truth all day long, and St. Thomas's 5 ways are proofs, but in the end, it's Our Lord which will convert them, they have to believe! They have to assent to the belief in God, no manner of reasoning can move someone's will, they have to come to it on their own.

If you know another way to prove the existence of God through reason and philosophy I'd like to hear it, because St. Ambrose and St. Thomas's 5 ways are the only ways that I am aware of that are in line with Church teaching.
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#9
(08-09-2012, 04:35 PM)Atomagenesis Wrote: It's not about "what works for me." It's about reality. I could care less what some heathen named Alvin thinks about St. Thomas. The reality is St. Thomas's 5 ways are the best proofs for the existence of God from reason alone in a philosophical inquiry.

My "what works for you" comment was referring to your success (or lack of it) in convincing atheists, not with the reality itself. I specifically made this disclaimer elsewhere in my post. We are not arguing about what the reality is -- we are arguing about the most effective way to argue with atheists. I don't have a good answer to that, but I'm pretty sure Aquinas's 5 ways are not the best answer. My experience has been that, in this context (persuading atheists), they are a spectacular failure.

As for Alvin Plantinga, he is a Christian -- not Catholic, but definitely Christian. I'm pretty sure Christian and "heathen" are mutually exclusive categories.
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#10
You keep saying St. Thomas's proofs are not the best answer, yet you have not shown me otherwise for what other system that you think "works better." We have hundreds upon hundreds of years of experience as Catholics showing us that St. Thomas's proofs are the best way from reason, that is why the church calls him the Angelic Doctor.

No other system works better. That is my experience. I don't deal with atheists very much because I avoid them since they are usually grave sinners and try to drag me into their sins. Most of the time these people have hardened their hearts to any philosophical truth because being an atheist in itself is a contradiction against reason, so reasonable arguments do not work for them. Usually some type of intense suffering is what causes them to convert.

You are saying we are not arguing about what reality is, but the most effective way to persuade atheists to belief in God. Well, the best way is to start with reality, then use St. Thomas's proofs to show them why that reality proves the existence of God. Is there another way? Not that I'm aware of, since reality is integral to our very being and the foundation by which we come to know our God.

Please explain how "in your experience, they are a spectacular failure." With all due respect, that shows me you do not understand them clearly enough to use them as a proof against Atheism.

Well if he is "Christian" then he would profess true faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and the church which He founded, I personally do not call heretics Christians because I feel this is a misrepresentation of them. They are just heretics to me. One cannot be a true Christian and reject tenants of the faith.
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