Joseph Butler's The Analogy of Religion (1736) is a classic defence of Christian belief against many well-known objections. This edition includes a detailed synopsis, a selection from the correspondence between Butler and Samuel Clarke, and an overview of philosophical influences on Butler's thought.
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Joseph Butler's The Analogy of Religion (1736) is an important work in terms of its historical influence and its contemporary relevance.
In it, Butler defends Christian belief against many well-known objections: for instance, that the evidence for Christianity is weak; that it is impossible to believe in miracles; that if God existed he would have revealed himself clearly to everyone. The problems Butler discusses are current in contemporary philosophy of religion, but his answers are often ignored, or given short shrift. Butler argues that by examining this world we have reason to believe its Creator is both benevolent and
just; that virtue will be rewarded and vice punished. Even if we have doubts, we would be well advised to take Christianity seriously, given what is at stake. The work includes seminal discussions of life after death, personal identity, and the structure of our ethical thought. In addition to extensive
notes, David McNaughton's edition includes a detailed synopsis, a selection from the correspondence between Butler and Samuel Clarke, and an oveview of philosophical influences on Butler's thought.