Religion Within Reason

Steven M. Cahn

Columbia University Press

Religion Within Reason

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Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231181617

120 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $25.00£19.95

Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231181600

120 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $75.00£62.95

Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231543668

120 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $24.99£19.95

Religion Within Reason

Steven M. Cahn

Columbia University Press

In the views of most believers and critics, religion is essentially connected to the existence of a supernatural deity. If supernaturalism is not reasonable, the argument goes, religion cannot be reasonable—or if supernaturalism is reasonable, religion must be as well. Are faith and reason, religion and science, doomed to a constant struggle for the heart of humanity? Steven M. Cahn believes that they are not, that even if God exists, religion may not be justified and that even if religion is justified, belief in God may not be.

In Religion Within Reason, Cahn argues that the common understanding of the relationship between religion and supernaturalism is flawed and that while supernaturalism is not reasonable, religious commitment may well be. Writing not as a theist but as one who finds much to admire in a religious life, he examines faith and reason, miracles, heaven and hell, religious diversity, and the problem of evil, using a variety of examples taken from religious thought, literature, and popular culture. Lucidly written in a nonpolemical spirit, Religion Within Reason offers an exciting new approach to the reconciliation of science and religion.
In this highly accessible work, Steven Cahn, a leading philosopher of our generation, exposes—in brilliant and vivid ways—the irrationality of the classical defenses of theism. Notwithstanding the book's devastating takedown of religious faith, Cahn argues for the potential benefits of living a religious life and engaging in religious ritual. This work is a must-read for anyone struggling with whether religion can withstand the scrutiny of contemporary analytical philosophy. The ideas in this clever, colorful, and enjoyable book might very well change your life. I know it did mine. Dov Weiss, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
A lively and lucid book. Even theists will acknowledge that Cahn has built a clever, accessible and formidable case. David Shatz, Ronald P. Stanton University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought, Yeshiva University
Cahn's discussion engagingly examines each point from a commitment to the methods of scientific inquiry. We also receive something else: a thoughtful conception of how to live. Cahn engages us rationally and, in the process, inspires. Peter Markie, Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Missouri
The book's primary contribution lies in its distinctive clarity and accessibility. Given all the attention lately to religious conviction and its (alleged) importance for morality, citizenship, patriotism, and civilization as such, there is need for this short, concise, but impactful book making the case against God's existence but allowing for the goodness of a religious life. Robert Talisse, W. Alton Jones Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University
Preface
1. Proving the Existence of God?
2. Philosophical Proofs and Religious Commitment
3. The Problem of Evil
4. The Problem of Goodness
5. The Moriarty Hypothesis
6. Dummy Hypotheses
7. The Appeal to Faith
8. Skepticism About Faith
9. The Theodicy Trap
10. The Problem of Meaning
11. Miracles
12. God Without Religion
13. Playing the Odds
14. Why Worship God?
15. Religions
16. Religion Without God
17. Heaven and Hell
18. Life Without God
19. A Religious Life
About the Author
Notes
Index

About the Author

Steven M. Cahn is professor of philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including Happiness and Goodness: Philosophical Reflection on Living Well (2015); Polishing Your Prose: How to Turn First Drafts Into Finished Work (2013); and From Student to Scholar: A Candid Guide to Becoming a Professor (2008), all published by Columbia University Press.