The “Who’s Who” section includes brief biographies of some of those thinkers that have contributed most to the philosophy of religion and the debate concerning God’s existence. The biographies are divided into two categories: historic figures and modern authors. Some thinkers, of course, are a little difficult to categorise; all historic thinkers were at one time modern authors, and all modern authors eventually become historic figures (though some less prominent than others).
The historic figures described here include some heavyweight philosophers and theologians. St Anselm of Canterbury was the father of scholasticism, and the inventor of the ontological argument. St Thomas Aquinas was without a doubt the greatest of the medieval philosopher-theologians, offering several forms of cosmological argument (and much else besides).
Rene Descartes is remembered for, among other things, his use of the ontological argument to avoid global scepticism; William Paley is best known for his analogical statement of the design argument; Blaise Pascal’s lasting contribution was Pascal’s Wager.
Though Immanuel Kant offered a moral argument for theism, his objection to the ontological argument that existence is not a predicate is probably his most widely studied contribution to the philosophy of religion today. David Hume remains a figurehead for atheism to this day; his criticisms of theism are still powerful and influential.
Of the modern authors, two stand out: Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne. Plantinga’s work, particularly on reformed epistemology, has done much to galvanise contemporary Christian philosophy; Swinburne’s contribution over the years was monumental.
William Lane Craig has also made waves with his championing of the kalam cosmological argument, and his talent not only as a philosopher but also as a public debater. John Hick has been a great source of controversy; though he remains a theist, he advocates religious pluralism.
On the other side, Richard Dawkins and Michael Martin have presented powerful critiques of religion, Dawkins from a scientific and Martin from a philosophical perspective. Antony Flew, for most of his life an outspoken representative of atheism, recently defected to deism, but still holds to many of his arguments against theism.