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Realism, Non-Realism and Atheism: Why Believe in an Objectively Real God?

  • Joseph Runzo

Abstract

The transcendent God has for many become an unavailable God. As Jean-Paul Sartre proclaims in his play The Devil and the Good Lord:

I supplicated, I demanded a sign, I sent messages to Heaven, no reply. Heaven ignored my very name. Each minute I wondered what I could be in the eyes of God. Now I know the answer: nothing. God does not see me, God does not hear me, God does not know me … I am going to tell you a colossal joke: God doesn’t exist.1

Keywords

World View Religious Experience Religious Life Conceptual Resource Religious Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    John A. T. Robinson, Honest to God (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963), p. 43. (Italics mine.)Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For a classic presentation of verificationism against theism see A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic (New York: Dover, 1952), Introduction, pp. 5–16, and pp. 115–17.Google Scholar
  3. A clear and concise response is offered by George I. Mavrodes in ‘God and Verification’, Canadian Journal of Theology, Vol. 10 (1964)Google Scholar
  4. reprinted in Malcolm L. Diamond and Thomas V. Litzenburg, Jr. (eds), The Logic of God: Theology and Verification (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1975), p. 223Google Scholar
  5. See also Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967), pp. 156–68.Google Scholar
  6. See Hick, ‘Theology and Verification’, Theology Today, Vol. 17 (1960)Google Scholar
  7. reprinted in Basil Mitchell (ed.), The Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press, Oxford Readings in Philosophy, 1971), pp. 53–71Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    David Hume, in Nelson Pike (ed.), Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970), Part V (pp. 48 and 51).Google Scholar
  9. 5.
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (London: Macmillan, repr. 1973), pp. 500–24.Google Scholar
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    Immanuel Kant, in Allen W. Wood and Gertrude M. Clark (eds), Lectures on Philosophical Theology (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press: 1978), p. 161.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1958), p. 89.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, trans. David F. Swenson, 2nd edn, trans. rev. by Howard V. Hong (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962), pp. 25 and 26Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Gordon Kaufman, The Theological Imagination (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981), p. 268 and p. 72.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Gordon D. Kaufman, Theology for a Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), pp. 37 and 42.Google Scholar
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    D. Z. Phillips, The Concept of Prayer (New York: Shocken Books, 1966), p. 60.Google Scholar
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    D. Z. Phillips, Religion Without Explanation (Oxford: Blackwell, 1976), pp. 148–9.Google Scholar
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    Bertrand Russell and F. C. Copleston, ‘A Debate on the Existence of God’, repr. in John Hick (ed.), The Existence of God (New York: Macmillan, 1964), pp. 173 and 175.Google Scholar
  22. 33.
    Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, trans. George Eliot (New York: Harper & Row, Harper Torchbooks, 1957), pp. 13–14.Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    Sigmund Freud, The Failure of an Illusion (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, rev. 1964), p. 50.Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    Antony Flew, The Presumption of Atheism and Other Philosophical Essays on God, Freedom, and Immortality (London: Elek, 1976), p. 18.Google Scholar
  25. 36.
    See William James, ‘Pragmatism’s Conception of Truth’, in Pragmatism and the Meaning of Truth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
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    See Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, trans. Theodore M. Green and Hoyt H. Hudson (New York: Harper & Row, Harper Torchbooks, 1960), p. 142.Google Scholar
  27. 41.
    Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans (Oxford University Press, 6th edn, repr. 1972), p. 435.Google Scholar
  28. 42.
    John Hick, The Problems of Religious Pluralism (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985), p. 37.Google Scholar
  29. See also Hick, God Has Many Names (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  30. 43.
    See Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), p. 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Joseph Runzo 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Runzo
    • 1
  1. 1.Chapman UniversityCaliforniaUSA

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