Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith  -     By: Clifford Williams
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Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith

IVP Academic / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

In Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires & Emotions in Faith Clifford Williams shows that lived faith involves more than doctrines, evidences and rational coherence. Thus, Williams puts forth an argument as to why certain needs, desires and emotions have a legitimate place in drawing people into faith in God.

Addressing the strongest objections to these types of reasons, he shows how the personal and experiential aspects of belief play an important part in coming to faith and in remaining a believing person. These existential elements are neither irrelevant to belief nor do they undermine the legitimacy of a reasoned faith, as critics often charge--and Williams shows why. Here is an approach that recognizes the severe limitations of evidentialism and objectivism so often demanded by our culture, and which often lead us to dehumanizing each other in the name of empirical evidence.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 210
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830838996
ISBN-13: 9780830838998
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Lived faith involves more than doctrines, evidences and rational coherence. In this book philosopher Clifford Williams puts forth an argument as to why certain needs, desires and emotions have a legitimate place in drawing people into faith in God. Addressing the strongest objections to these types of reasons, he shows how the personal and experiential aspects of belief play an important part in coming to faith and in remaining a believing person. These existential elements are neither irrelevant to belief nor do they undermine the legitimacy of a reasoned faith, as critics often charge--and Williams shows why. Here is a much needed complement to evidential approaches to apologetics.

Author Bio

Clifford Williams (Ph.D., Indiana University) teaches philosophy at Trinity College (T.I.U.) in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of a number of books, including and .

Editorial Reviews

"We humans--most of us, anyway, most of the time--are rational, truth-seeking agents. But equally we are emotional creatures with existential needs, and we seek to meet those needs. Traditional Christian apologetics focuses on the former characteristic, offering evidence to believe that the Christian faith is true. Clifford Williams calls our attention to a second approach, one aimed at the second characteristic. Echoing thinkers such as Pascal and Kierkegaard, Williams's 'existential argument' shows that Christian faith can be justified--we may properly believe--just because faith satisfies certain existential needs. Williams develops his argument in a philosophically rich way, augmented with examples showing how for many people faith is engendered and sustained by existential arguments. Deep insights abound as Williams considers and rejects common objections to existential arguments. In the end, Williams doesn't reject evidential arguments, but urges us to pay closer attention to our emotional needs and their role in faith formation. I highly recommend this significant addition to the apologetic literature."
"Clifford Williams's work is a powerful defense of the role that needs and emotions play in the formation and preservation of religious faith. Williams gives a powerful account of the way reason and emotion work together to produce a faith that is both rational and personal. Although the book is philosophically first-rate, it is written so clearly and powerfully that any thoughtful person can follow the argument. The inclusion of many personal stories gives the book added punch; Williams not only thinks about emotions but appeals to our emotions in an engaging manner."
"Williams breathes new life into the provocative view that human emotions play a central role in legitimate belief in God. Drawing from Kierkegaard and Unamuno, he dares to portray belief in God as something much more personally robust and engaging than a mere solution to an intellectual puzzle. The book will benefit all serious inquirers regarding belief in God."
"Clifford Williams has composed an engaging, profoundly personal account of the reasons for belief in the God of Christianity. This is decidedly not a detached or merely academic work but a book that speaks directly to the needs, emotions and best thinking of its readers."

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Clifford Williams
Located in: Deerfield, IL
Submitted: March 12, 2011

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Clifford Williams teaches philosophy at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I wanted to see whether our need for God is a sufficient reason for believing in God.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  The thesis of the book is that the ideal way to acquire faith in God is through both need and reason. Need without reason is blind, but reason without need is sterile.

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