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128 BOOK REVIEWS The recent writings of the present Pope are full of this theme; it is time that its political content received some recognition, some explora:tion . It is in this context of a re-birth of a truly Catholic emphasis upon liberation, not in some angelic and contemplative guise, but in public life in this world, that Schall's book should be read. His stress upon the papal initiative is essential; it does not seem that any other major Catholic figure has seen so deeply into the needs of our time, or has prescribed for them with such precision. Familiaris Consortio is a political document far more radical than the so-called Social Encyclicals, from Rerum Novarum on, which treat ex professo of labor and capital, and of political and religious freedom, for it deals with the indispensability of that absolutely basic praxis in which all human dignity is discovered and cele- ' brated, in a love which is worship, which is history, which is liberation. Marguette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin DONALDJ. KEEFE, S.J. An Introiluction to the Philosophy of Religion. By BRIAN DAVIES, O.P. Oxford University Press, 1982. Pp. x + 144. $17.95 cloth; $6.95 paperback. This book is a short introduction to the philosophy of religion intended for the general reader and for students with little or no philosophical background. It begins with some old problems about religious language, then turns to the problem of evil and proofs of God's existence, moves on to discuss divine attributes and the connection between religion and morality, and finishes with a consideration of miracles and life after death. There is a selective but useful bibliography, and the book is generally free from typographical errors except for p. 86, which is grossly misprinted. In general, it is a bold and interesting book, especially because the author is thoroughly familiar with contemporary analytic philosophy and also with the philosophical theology of Thomas Aquinas and tries to combine the two approaches. The effort is laudable, in my view, but the resulting amalgam in Davies's book is not satisfactory. The difficulties can be seen clearly in his discussion of the problem of evil. After briefly presenting Hick's and Swinburne's attempted solutions , Davies rejects their work, claiming that they exonerate God by referring to the good consequences of the evil God allows, but " many people would say that consequences do not always justify actions" (p. 19). This objection, weak as it is, surely misinterprets Hick and Swinburne. BOOK REVIEWS 129 Neither of them tries to justify God's permitting evil on the basis of the good consequences of that evil; instead, both of them argue that of the actions available to God the one which includes permitting certain evils is in itself the best action open to God. In different ways both Hick and Swinburne claim that the evils in the world are a necessary means to a good which, even in conjunction with those evils, far out weighs the other goods God might have brought about. Davies summarily rejects Plantinga's work on the free-will defense because it depends on the notion that God does not cause free acts. Davies thinks that, according to classical theism as represented by Thomas Aquinas, God is the cause of everything, including all actions of the human will, and so the free-will defense is incompatibfo with classical theism. The spectacle of a Catholic maintaining theological determinism against a Calvinist arguing on the basis of free will should not blind us to the historical and philosophical implausibility of Davies's claim. Davies believes that Thomas and classical theism are committed to the view that God is the cause of each and every human action, including actions which are sinful. If this is indeed Thomas's view, then the best that could be said for Thomas is that he is blatantly inconsistent because, to take just one of many examples, he assigns praise or blame to humans for their actions when in fact those actions are brought about by God. And I think a credible philosophical justification of God's goodness becomes virtually impossible if we are told that God is the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 128-131
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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