The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong

Paperback | July 14, 2015

byPeter Steinberger

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Whether people praise, worship, criticize, or reject God, they all presuppose at least a rough notion of what it means to talk about God. Turning the certainty of this assumption on its head, a respected educator and humanist shows that when we talk about God, we are in fact talking about nothing at all-there is literally no such idea-and so all of the arguments we hear from atheists, true believers, and agnostics are and will always be empty and self-defeating.

Peter J. Steinberger's commonsense account is by no means disheartening or upsetting, leaving readers without anything meaningful to hold on to. To the contrary, he demonstrates how impossible it is for the common world of ordinary experience to be all there is. With patience, clarity, and good humor, Steinberger helps readers think critically and constructively about various presuppositions and modes of being in the world. By coming to grips with our own deep-seated beliefs, we can understand how traditional ways asserting, denying, or even just wondering about God's existence prevent us from seeing the truth-which, it turns out, is far more interesting and encouraging than anyone would have thought.

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Whether people praise, worship, criticize, or reject God, they all presuppose at least a rough notion of what it means to talk about God. Turning the certainty of this assumption on its head, a respected educator and humanist shows that when we talk about God, we are in fact talking about nothing at all-there is literally no such idea...

Peter J. Steinberger is the Robert H. and Blanche Day Ellis Professor of Political Science and Humanities at Reed College, where he also served as dean of the faculty from 1997 to 2010. He is the author of The Idea of the State, The Concept of Political Judgment, Logic and Politics: Hegel's Philosophy of Right, and Ideology and the Ur...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:July 14, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023116355X

ISBN - 13:9780231163552

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Read the introduction to The Problem with God:

Table of Contents

1. The Problem with God2. What in God's Name Am I Doing?3. The Impossible Dream 4. Even If the Flesh Is Willing5. Atheism. . . 6. . . . and Agnosticism7. Full Faith and No Credit8. It's All in a Good Cause9. Detective Fiction10. An Inkling of . . . 11. . . . the TruthAfterword: Not Enough?AcknowledgmentsAmplifications and Clarifications (AKA "Notes")Index

Editorial Reviews

A timely, spirited, and analytically rigorous meditation on a pressing contemporary concern: whether or not it is conceptually meaningful to predicate God's existence. Lucidly written and brimming with helpful illustrations, it offers an indispensable perspective on the intellectual history of the present.