Good apologetics book for an atheist
#21
A better link:

http://www.catholicprimer.org/farrell/comp102.htm
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#22
(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.

They are dense, but not convoluted.

What they need is a thorough, and simple explanation for most. And, it is important to realize they are the "five ways" and are not "proofs" of the existence of God. They are five ways of demonstrating what we mean by "God" and that right reason says that such a God exists.

The benefit of the quinque viae is just that above -- they explain what God is. We often have this odd, very Protestant picture of God, and alot of times, this is exactly to what the atheists object.

They, for instance, bring up the "Problem of Pain" to suggest that there cannot be a God, because a perfectly good God would never allow suffering. In fact what they do is mix theological matter (Providence) with God's existence which is a wholly different matter. Separating the idea of a supreme being from the study of doctrine and man's relation to God is essential if one is going to build a solid philosophical basis for faith and no found one's faith solely on custom, sentiment or other passing considerations.

Any rational person, with an open mind, willing to work through the quinque viae will see at the very least the rational belief in God. He will not be a Christian, because that requires acceptance of revealed truth, but he will be able to see that at the very least Theism is rational. After this, then we can proceed on to revelation and it's reasonableness.

I don't know how Dr. Vost's book addresses these matters, but I am familar with Tour of the Summa, by Msgr. Glenn. This is a very compact summary and explanation of the basics of the Summa. At least on these questions such a book might help better explain these five ways, and then provide a way to proceed from there.
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#23
(08-10-2012, 02:29 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-10-2012, 12:51 PM)jbd Wrote: The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism by the wonderful young Thomist, Edward Feser: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344617347&sr=8-1&keywords=the+last+superstition

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson

My husband didn't like this book because of the way it puts down atheists. But he is much nicer than I am.  It is one of my favourite books.   :grin:

At the risk of being pedantic Jayne, I would like to offer a qualification to this point. If it was stressed that there are certain atheists who are put down in a polemical manner, I would agree, but atheism in general is treated with respect. I think Feser is only sharp with those particular atheists whom he sees as being intellectually dishonest, or at the very least sloppy. For instance Dennet, Hitchens, Dawkins, etc.

I would agree that this would perhaps be a relevant work for the OP, but i've not read that much else. I think that if any atheist approached the five ways properly, and well-informed on the metaphysical underpinnings therein, he would eventually be convinced. Whether your average atheist is prepared to do this is another matter altogether. However, I do think that this text is particularly  useful for the way in which it exposes how the modern 'rebuttal' of Aristotle is based on a misintepretation of his understanding of causality, as is - consequently - the 'rebuttal' of the Angelic Doctor.
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#24
(08-10-2012, 02:35 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-09-2012, 03:58 PM)Atomagenesis Wrote: 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.

One of the great things about The Last Superstition is that it gives modern readers the background to understand why St. Thomas is right.

Yes, Feser demonstrates how modern philosophy and science is redolent with the Aristotelian concept of final causality (and thus formal causality), even whilst claiming to renounce it. Any atheist who thinks consistently about this point would see that certain modern philosophers are sadly lacking, and that something is missing without San Tomasso!
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#25
(08-11-2012, 04:19 PM)LiberaNosIesu Wrote:
(08-10-2012, 02:29 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-10-2012, 12:51 PM)jbd Wrote: The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism by the wonderful young Thomist, Edward Feser: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344617347&sr=8-1&keywords=the+last+superstition

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson

My husband didn't like this book because of the way it puts down atheists. But he is much nicer than I am.  It is one of my favourite books.   :grin:

At the risk of being pedantic Jayne, I would like to offer a qualification to this point. If it was stressed that there are certain atheists who are put down in a polemical manner, I would agree, but atheism in general is treated with respect. I think Feser is only sharp with those particular atheists whom he sees as being intellectually dishonest, or at the very least sloppy. For instance Dennet, Hitchens, Dawkins, etc.

Thanks for clarifying that.  I was debating whether I should do another post to straighten than out.  I made it sound like he bashes atheists in general, but he is going after specific authors and they really deserve it. 

The Last Supersition is more engaging than I ever imagined a philosophy book could be.  It is more like an action movie. (This is a compliment - that's my favourite kind.)  It is like the part of the movie where the hero beats up the bully that has been terrorizing everyone. But it is Thomistic philosophy instead of kicking and punching.
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#26
(08-11-2012, 06:58 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-11-2012, 04:19 PM)LiberaNosIesu Wrote:
(08-10-2012, 02:29 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-10-2012, 12:51 PM)jbd Wrote: The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism by the wonderful young Thomist, Edward Feser: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344617347&sr=8-1&keywords=the+last+superstition

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson

My husband didn't like this book because of the way it puts down atheists. But he is much nicer than I am.  It is one of my favourite books.   :grin:

At the risk of being pedantic Jayne, I would like to offer a qualification to this point. If it was stressed that there are certain atheists who are put down in a polemical manner, I would agree, but atheism in general is treated with respect. I think Feser is only sharp with those particular atheists whom he sees as being intellectually dishonest, or at the very least sloppy. For instance Dennet, Hitchens, Dawkins, etc.

Thanks for clarifying that.  I was debating whether I should do another post to straighten than out.  I made it sound like he bashes atheists in general, but he is going after specific authors and they really deserve it. 

The Last Supersition is more engaging than I ever imagined a philosophy book could be.  It is more like an action movie. (This is a compliment - that's my favourite kind.)  It is like the part of the movie where the hero beats up the bully that has been terrorizing everyone. But it is Thomistic philosophy instead of kicking and punching.

agreed., and it has a decent chunk of comedy and romance thrown in!  :)
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#27
(08-12-2012, 02:30 AM)LiberaNosIesu Wrote:
(08-11-2012, 06:58 PM)JayneK Wrote: The Last Supersition is more engaging than I ever imagined a philosophy book could be.  It is more like an action movie. (This is a compliment - that's my favourite kind.)  It is like the part of the movie where the hero beats up the bully that has been terrorizing everyone. But it is Thomistic philosophy instead of kicking and punching.

agreed., and it has a decent chunk of comedy and romance thrown in!  :)

That's true.  It is a very funny book.
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