Dialogues about God (New Dialogues in Philosophy) by Charles Taliaferro

By Charles Taliaferro

Charles Taliaferro, a number one thinker of faith, provides a number of fictional dialogues between characters with contrasting perspectives at the life of God, together with theism, atheism, skepticism, and different nuanced arguments concerning the nature of God. In a sequence of 5 encouraged, unique debates, Taliaferro faucets into a number of well-known exchanges, together with these between Antony Flew, Basil Mitchell and R. M. Hare; among Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell; and among Copleston and A. J. Ayer.

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A danger I believe you have fallen into. LIZ: Human terms are designed by us to describe and interact with the world as it is seen from our point of view. When you take human terms and then apply them to a supposedly transcendent reality, you are abusing language. CHRIS: We shall see. I think we can use human language to refer to indefinitely many things that are nonhuman, from cats to galaxies. Let’s discuss your charge in the next conversation. For now, though, let me register a worry. I do think there is also a danger of believing that “transcending logic” makes sense on any level: religiously, philosophically, morally, economically, or personally.

So, for example, we can say that God is good but also beyond our notion of goodness; divine goodness is not like the created goodness of a book or the goodness of a horse or planet. God is beyond our best concepts. CHRIS: I am deeply attracted to your position, though I resist it on the grounds that the negations you propose only make sense if there is some positive conception of God. That positive conception may be very patchy and incomplete, but doesn’t there have to be some apprehension of what something is if we are to have some claim on knowing what it is not?

God seems to have commanded the slaughter of whole cities and peoples (Deuteronomy 20:16–17; Joshua 6:20–21), God seems to ban homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26–27). God is also described as jealous (Exodus 20:5). How do you square all this with the concept of God being an essentially good or maximally excellent being? 38 Second Conversation CHRIS: Well, I am not, at least not yet, a Christian or a member of any religious tradition, but let me sketch a reply. One could treat these scriptural accounts as literally true and then argue that under those conditions the divine precepts were binding.

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