Pearce's new book is an enjoyable romp through arguments that deconstruct the common idea of what God is. Because God isn't.
“God” is arguably a nebulous term and might well mean a different thing to each of the many people who believe in it. In my new book 30 Arguments Against the Existence of “God”, Heaven, Hell, Satan, and Divine Design [UK], I take the commonality we see in many views, the understanding of classical theism, and attack this iteration.
What is classical theism? OmniGod. This is the idea that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. And when I say all-knowing, I mean the full divine foreknowledge version where God supposedly knew all future events causally before the creation of the universe.
These characteristics are thoroughly problematic, both in terms of the data we have about the world and universe around us, but also in terms of working internally with each other in forming a coherent notion of God.
The great Dan Barker wrote the foreword to the book, and I am truly grateful to him for doing so.
Written for a general audience, this book breaks down potentially dry or complex philosophical ideas and presents them in a really enjoyable and digestible manner. Although there are 30 main arguments (and a bonus one!), each chapter (though short) packs other ancillary arguments and quite the punch.
Basically, I love this book. Please support my work by grabbing a copy. The ebook version will be out imminently.
Here is the description and some endorsements:
The God of classical theism, that which Jonathan MS Pearce calls “OmniGod”, is in the crosshairs in the collection of arguments against such a god’s existence. Omnipotence, omniscience (including full divine foreknowledge of every event that will come to pass), and omnibenevolence make for difficult bedfellows. In fact, OmniGod’s characteristics are so flawed when employed together, and when seen in light of design, heaven, hell, and Satan, that belief in such a being is almost certainly irrational.
This is what Pearce takes aim at – all of these ideas supposedly working in coherent unison – in this book aimed at a popular audience. The book packs a punch as he handily deconstructs these ideas to show that either God does not exist, or that God is not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving.
People like it!
Alvin Plantinga talks of two dozen (or so) arguments. Rebecca Goldstein speaks of 36. Jonathan Pearce writes on 30. I could reduce the arguments down to five, or three, or one. The one is the Outsider Test for Faith highlighted by Pearce, which Richard Carrier says is “one of the most effective and powerful arguments for atheism,” while James Lindsay calls it a “silver-bullet argument.” Two makes three with the lack of objective evidence for biblical miracles, and the problem of horrendous suffering. Three then five with how the Bible debunks itself, and especially science (evolution, biblical archeology, and free will).
But since believers aren’t usually reasoned out of a faith that they were never reasoned into, the prolific Pearce expertly throws the book at them. I’m a fan of his. Highly recommended reading!
– John W. Loftus, philosopher and counter-apologist with 12 books, including The Case Against Miracles, and God and Horrendous Suffering.
A concise but very philosophically sophisticated presentation of thirty evergreen problems for both theism in general and Abrahamic religions specifically. A must for the bookshelves of both atheists (to quickly reference powerful arguments) and theists (to understand the strongest and most commonly-used points of their opposition).
– Gunther Laird, author of The Unnecessary Science: A Critical Analysis of Natural Law Theory
Philosophical arguments for and against the existence of a deity abound, not only in academic circles, but also in the volatile arena of social media. For those wishing to wade into the controversy, the idea of acquainting oneself with the wide variety of philosophical and theological arguments can be rather daunting. Pearce’s 30 Arguments Against the Existence of “God” provides the reader with just such an introduction. With a down-to-earth and humorous tone, Pearce walks the reader through many of these confusing and complicated philosophical topics. If you are interested in breaking into the discussion on the existence of God, this is the book for you.
– Dr. Joshua Bowen, author of The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament, Volume 1
Why would a perfect god create anything at all in the first place?
Why does God love abortion so much when his followers hate it?
Has the theistic moral compass gone completely haywire?
From the God of the gaps to the Devil in the details, Jonathan Pearce asks—and answers—all the deep questions, closes the loopholes and escape clauses Yahweh uses to wiggle out of tight spots, and demonstrates without a doubt how the plan of salvation makes no damn sense and the Christian God is a tool (in every sense of the word). The perfect gift for every believing friend and frenemy in your life.
– David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed, Jesus: Mything in Action and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion series.
Jonathan Pearce has written an outstanding book in which key philosophical arguments against the existence of “God” are presented in clear, easily accessible chapters. I found the book compelling and thought-provoking. Written in Pearce’s usual style of distilling philosophy down to clear prose, this book will allow any educated person to understand and appreciate the logic behind these arguments. Since I am a biologist rather than a philosopher, I quite appreciated the fact that I did not get distracted by terms and reasoning that might be more suited to the professional philosopher.
While the entire book holds together under a unifying theme, the 30 arguments can easily be consumed in small packets. Once I started the book, I was unable to put it down, and each of the chapters is so intellectually stimulating that I found myself stopping frequently to contemplate the implications of the reasoning. One can read a few chapters and then take some time to think about them.… A reader can pick up the book, turn to any chapter, and enjoy the mental stimulation.
This is an excellent book for those who want a clear philosophical basis for rejecting the idea of an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful god. In my years as a university teacher, I have witnessed many young people questioning the world view with which they were raised. This book would be the perfect place from which to start this complex but fascinating journey.
– Dr. Joseph Berger, author of Science and Spirituality: An Introduction for Students, Secular People & the Generally Curious
Jonathan MS Pearce is a talented writer with a thoroughly enjoyable conversational style. While I tend to abhor philosophy, this little book provides a very nice, easy-to-read and comprehensive overview of a number of key philosophical issues pertaining to topics of God, religion and theology. This is an essential read for anyone with an interest in the viability of faith, whether it be theirs or another.
– Dr. Kipp Davis, author of Gleanings from the Caves and Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection
Look no further for the strongest arguments against God! This book really takes the bloviation of philosophy and packages it for all to understand. Most theists want to start with philosophical arguments rather than the theological ones because of the absurd ideas presented by their tradition. However, Pearce encourages this and cuts the tree down at its roots: No rotten apples to eat from after reading this book. I have had the opportunity to watch him use these arguments in debate format with much success. Pearce has an addictive writing style that gets to the bottom of the age-old questions sparking endless debate on the OmniGod issue.
– Derek Lambert, host of Mythvision Podcast
Check out my recent interview on the book: