While such staples as Anselm’s ontological argument, Hume’s criticism of the design argument, and James’ “The Will to Believe” appear in this anthology, about half the selections in Philosophy and Faith do not appear in other introductory texts. The books offers fresh topics, such as biblical literalism and “demythologization,” poetic imagery and religious belief, forgiveness, divine “vanity,” the hiddenness of God, heaven and hell, ritual, divine action, religion and the social sciences, and science and religion. The material on the familiar topics are fresh – Howard Wettstein on religious language, Jerome Gellman on religious experience, David Johnson on miracles, and Avishai Margalit on religious pluralism.
To help concretize abstract issues Philosophy and Faith presents selections that deal with vivid cases – such as how to explain the patterns on the Shroud of Turin and how mystical experiences might be explained by a contemporary, scientifically-minded observer. The collection contains articles written from the standpoint of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and non-theistic religion. The introductions are genuinely helpful, the study questions are challenging and useful for writing assignments, and the selections have been edited to reduce digression and assist students to understand main issues.