My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book description: A Faithful Guide to Philosophy is the only British Christian introduction to Philosophy, a book that will be used as a course textbook and by church study groups and individual readers alike. It covers subjects of central importance to the Christian worldview - the relationship between faith and reason, the objective reality or truth, goodness and beauty, the existence and nature of God, the existence of the human soul and of free will, and so on - from a philosophical viewpoint. This is the broadest range of topics covered by any Christian introduction to Philosophy and will be prized by many.
My review: This is an excellent introduction to some philosophical questions from a Christian perspective. The first section of the book discusses what philosophy is, its relationship to faith, and how to make good and bad arguments. Following sections examine some arguments for God; explore the philosophy of mind (one of the most intractable problems in philosophy!); the objectivity (or otherwise) of beauty and its relationship to divinity; the relationship between science and theology; and the problem of evil.
While the book comes from a Christian perspective, it's a must-read for anyone interested in the above topics. Williams engages in a scholarly way with the so-called 'new atheists' along with other scholars - both atheist and theist and draws on a wide range of literature in discussing all the issues in the book. He is an expert on logical argumentation and, all the way through the book, maps out and explores arguments for and against various positions with the ability to critique arguments on both sides of debate for their validity and soundness.
The recommended resources in the book are astounding. For each chapter there are online videos, articles, and books to follow up if you're interested. In addition to the chapter-by-chapter resources there is a section at the back of the book recommending material on philosophy, religion including websites, video, audio. The endnotes for each chapter are remarkably detailed.
Williams is completely transparent about where he is coming from. In the first paragraph of the Introduction Williams states that the:
... book offers a 'faithful guide to philosophy' both in the sense that I seek to present my subject accurately and that I write as a philosopher who follows Jesus of Nazareth.
In my opinion both of these objectives are achieved. It's a rigorous, respectful, engaging, and scholarly approach to the questions it covers. An excellent book!
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