Do atheists (and agnostics) write the best books on arguments for the existence of God?

And I don’t just mean because they’re right. My recent exchange with Leah Libresco had me thinking that I should include in The Book some advice for people looking to really dig in to the literature on arguments for the existence of God. Nothing fancy, maybe just recommending a few general texts like Graham Oppy’s Arguing About Gods. 

In that case, should I also recommend a book or two by theists? I see a problem there, beyond the fact that I’m going to fundamentally disagree with such a book. The problem is that while someone like Oppy is going to pay attention to various arguments in rough proportion to how influential they’ve been, a theist is much less likely to do that. Richard Swinburne is mostly going to focus on the arguments Richard Swinburne thinks are good, William Lane Craig is mostly going to focus on the arguments William Lane Craig thinks are good, and so on.

That’s how it has to be. If you think you got a good argument or five for the existence of God, you might spend a bit of time explaining why you don’t think some other prominent arguments are good, but you’re going to think it’s more important to tell people about the arguments you do think are good. And really, it would seem petty and/or pretty silly for a Swinburne or a Craig to write a book going on at great length about how all the arguments for the existence of God aren’t very good–except the ones they favor!

But the practical upshot of this is that if you want an introductory survey of arguments for the existence of God, you should probably read someone like Oppy over someone like Swinburne. Once you’ve got the basic lay of the land, then you can go read Swinburne et al.

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