New York and London: Routledge (2017)

Paul Draper
Purdue University
The main focus of this book is on philosophy of religion-in-general instead of on the philosophy of a particular religion or family of religions. For example, in the first of four main parts of the book, J. L. Schellenberg and Robert McKim write chapters on future progress in religion. Hopefully, their efforts will jump-start work in the field on this important but neglected topic. The next part of the book (as well as the book's final chapter) addresses the issue of life after death. Mark Johnston follows the demands of morality wherever they lead, and arrives at a highly original conception of the after- (or elsewhere-) life, one that involves neither the resurrection of the body nor the survival of an immaterial soul. Dean Zimmerman, in his chapter, makes it clear that he will not be joining Johnston on this trip, though in some sense he arrives at the same destination by a different route. In the third part of the book, Mark Murphy pursues a highly unconventional approach to the problem of evil: he tries to solve it by denying that an absolutely perfect being must be morally perfect. Laura Ekstrom pushes back, arguing that a perfect God would have, not only justifying, but requiring reasons to prevent setbacks to the well-being of Her sentient creatures. The final part of the book, which consists of three chapters, addresses an additional topic in the philosophy of religion-in-general, namely, alternative concepts of God. Tim Mulgan defends a disjunction of two positions, one of which involves a conception of God that is very much like Murphy's, and the other of which, a form of axiarchism, is similar in some ways (but dissimilar in others) to the conception of God defended by Fiona Ellis in the chapter following Mulgan's. Although Mulgan, unlike Murphy, claims that the God he describes is morally perfect, he would agree with Murphy that God is not motivated by any moral requirements to prevent setbacks to our well-being. Ellis is unhappy with Mulgan's spin on classical theism in part because of its commitment to supernaturalism. Both she and Paul Draper, in the final two chapters of the book, attempt to articulate ideas of God that are compatible with the naturalism that some believe will guide religion into the future instead of signing its death warrant. However, Ellis and Draper pursue their common goal in opposite ways, Ellis by making God more abstract than Mulgan's God and Draper by making God more concrete.
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ISBN(s) 1138183466   9781138183476   9781138183469
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