The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong.
The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong. By Peter J. Steinberger. New York: Columbia University, 2013. Pp. 210. $29.50.
It is impossible to conceive of an uncaused cause. The logic of cause and effect compels us to ask of any candidate for the title "first cause": "What caused this cause?" and to expect an answer. Thus epistemology entails an infinite regression of causality, making it impossible to identify an "uncaused cause." No thing can come out of nothing. The very idea makes no sense. Thus God as an unmoved mover is a conceptual impossibility. "Just as there's nothing to believe, there's also nothing to disbelieve" (107). In his easy conversational style, Steinberger makes this point repetitively and somewhat irreverently.
Just as the idea of God makes no sense, so any position on God makes no sense. This is why atheists, true believers, and even agnostics must all be wrong. This much is established in chapter 1. Subsequent chapters simply rehash the argument and tease out consequences. In chapter 8, S. admits that he cannot get his mind around Big Bang theory either, or any other explanation of how the world came to exist. However, he concludes on an optimistic note: "The world of cause and effect ... cannot be all there is" (160). Precisely what else there is, he does not venture to suggest. Once again, epistemology dictates ontology.
Would I read this book? On a slow afternoon. Would I spend money to buy it? No.
Peter Knox, S.J.
Hekima College, Nairobi
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|Title Annotation:||Shorter Notices|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2014|
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