Comparison of Judeo-Christian Theism and Philosophical Naturalism as Explanatory Worldviews

Author: Beyer, Jason A.
This book seeks to make the case that philosophical naturalism serves as a better explanation of the range of human experience than Judeo-Christian theism. ‘Naturalism’ is defined as the view that all substantial or concrete entities are physical in nature; further, the physical world does not exist for a purpose or reason. Avoiding the usual naturalist approach of criticizing theistic arguments, this study first defines the nature of explanation and what makes one explanation better than another before producing an argument that naturalism serves as a better explanation of all things.


“Beyer offers us a vital competition between theism and naturalistic atheism, and there is no more important philosophical competition. Even if there is no easy winner, in keeping with perennial philosophical disputes in general, we do well to attend carefully to the competition at hand. The winner we embrace will color everything else we think, do, and are. As a result, Beyer’s book merits our careful attention.” - Dr. Paul K. Moser, Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University of Chicago

“The goal of this book is to defend naturalism. By ‘naturalism,’ Beyer means, roughly, the view that all substantial or concrete entities (i.e. all concrete objects, events, processes, etc.) are physical in nature (i.e. they are identical to or composed of nothing but fundamental physical entities); further, the physical world (i.e. the collection of all physical entities) does not exist for a purpose or reason. Beyer’s strategy for defending naturalism so defined is to show that it is a better explanation of various phenomena (e.g., the existence of the universe, the laws of physics, miracle reports, religious experiences, and the evil in the world) than the most popular alternative world-view to naturalism, namely, theism.” - Professor Paul Draper, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Paul K. Moser
1 Theism and Naturalism
2 Explanations and Religious Faith
3 Explanations and Their Virtues
4 The Existence and Order of the Physical World
5 Reports of Miracles and Religious Experiences
6 Explaining Evil