Shook lays out the questions, controversies, and schools of thought with amazing clarity… Clear and blunt, with a light touch of irony.

Philip Clayton

The God Debates

Shook helps us to understand the rich range of human ideas and arguments, and hence ourselves and our neighbours… A most interesting and valuable book.

Willem B. Drees
Professor, Editor, Author


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The God Debates

The existence of God is a subject that has occupied individual thinkers and entire schools of philosophy for thousands of years, and it remains one of the greatest debates of our day. In The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers, John Shook, Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry and a self-professed “fair and open-minded skeptic”, explains prominent arguments over God's existence in a non-technical manner, and justly analyzes the chances of their success.

Shook challenges believers and non-believers alike to engage in an informed dialogue about the existence of God. This book equips everyone with key information about important theological arguments, offering insights into the timeless quest that can give meaning to our lives:

This book is aimed at people who want to know what is going on with all this God debating. They want to learn the arguments and their pros and cons as efficiently as possible without encountering too much technical philosophy or theology. Even scholars interested in the God debates will profit, since I organize theological debating in a vastly more useful way and I distill complex arguments into their most essential formulations for logical appreciation and digestion. Christians and atheists and agnostics and Hindus and Buddhists and pagans can benefit from this book.

Shook presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God. Using current ideas and concepts such as modernism, postmodernism, fideism, evidentialism, presuppositionalism, and mysticism, Shook ushers the importance of theological debates into a present-day context, steering clear of outdated caricatures of religion.

By mastering the clear and concise strategies Shook presents in each chapter, readers of all levels can participate in a thoughtful debate, grounded in knowledge of key arguments for and against the existence of God. Shook helps nonbelievers learn important theological standpoints while also acknowledging the shortcomings of some faith-based arguments. A final chapter considers the possibility of harmonizing reason and faith in light of several current worldviews, including fundamentalism and secularism.

John Shook, PhD

Photo of John ShookJohn Shook, PhD, is a scholar and professor living in Washington, D.C. He is Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Inquiry, and also is Visiting Assistant Professor of Science Education at the University at Buffalo, teaching for its online program in Science and the Public. From 2000 to 2006 he was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University.

Shook publishes on philosophical topics about science, the mind, humanist ethics, democracy, secularism, and religion, and he has debated the existence of God with leading theologians including William Lane Craig.

He has authored and edited more than a dozen books, including the new The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), as well as Pragmatic Naturalism and Realism (2003), A Companion to Pragmatism (2005), Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (2005), Ectogenesis: Artificial Womb Technology and the Future of Human Reproduction (2006), and The Future of Naturalism (2009).

©2010 John Shook and Wiley-Blackwell.