Richard Swinburne's book (The Existence of God) is like a well-built, deep-drafted seagoing vessel. His command of the logic of evidence, probability - "confirmation theory" - allows him to re-open old arguments toward God's existence - from cosmology, from design, from "Providence", etc. - in new and remarkable directions. His discussion of the kind of universe a good God would create (the chapter on Providence) - one which allows for conscious beings with a capacity for freedom of choice of good and evil, intellectual and moral growth - I found quite moving. Nor does he sidestep the "problem of evil" or the presence of suffering and death.

The rational investigation of the possible existence and nature of God seems to me to be one of the most important cultural developments of any society, because it allows for the possibility of reasoning about and "reasoning-with" a reasonable God. It is an exercise in free thought. It counters the text-idolatry and intellectual tyranny of the fundamentalist and "traditionalist" attitudes, present in all three of the monotheistic faiths.

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