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Doubts and Loves: What Is Left of Christianity Paperback – 11 Aug 2005


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Doubts and Loves: What Is Left of Christianity + Looking In the Distance: The Human Search for Meaning + Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New Ed edition (11 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841956414
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841956411
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

With imagination and audacity, Richard Holloway's Doubts and Loves offers a fearless critique of the faith, with uncertainty and disbelief accorded full dignity. (Sunday Herald)

It will appeal to all of us who continue to be interested in the moral challenge of our time (Jeanette Winterson)

A sensitive, brave and inspiring book (Karen Armstrong)

A thoughtful, playful, courageous and deeply altruistic book . . . a fine companion for anyone who wishes to live a life of any depth (A. L. Kennedy)

I don't know when I have been more impressed, indeed, excited, by a work . . . It answers the seemingly tormenting questions in a completely satisfying way (Ruth Rendell)

Book Description

A passionate and important book on the state of Christianity from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Leaving Alexandria

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has had a profound influence on my life. I don't think it should be read by those whose Christian faith is a great comfort and help to them, or those whose religious beliefs give validity to their lives. To his credit, the author states he does not want to turn these people away from Christianity; he is addressing people like myself who have deep doubts and need answers.
Like many people brought up in the Christian tradition, for many years I went along unquestioningly with the received wisdom that the Bible was holy, the teachings of the Church must be true, and Jesus had mystical powers which could save me from going to hell. I also carried around the guilt which goes with the territory, realising that I couldn't live up to the Church's expectations.
As a direct result of reading another book (the first book that I bought from Amazon), I began to question and had doubts, especially with the teaching that babies are born in sin. I read all sorts of books, but they never gave me the complete answer I was looking for.
There were plenty of sceptical books which dealt with the inconsistencies and theological problems associated with Christianity, but they all left an unsatisfying vacuum.
Most pulled religion apart but offered nothing to replace it. If you took on board their arguments, you were left with either trying another religion, (and finding yourself with exactly the same uncomfortable feeling that you were following man-made dogma, based on a beautiful but unbelievable myth ), or with a cold and impersonal belief in science as the only truth.
Richard Holloway's book gave me answers AND a way forward. It was the book I had been wanting to read for many years although I didn't know it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Christopher I. Pelton on 26 Aug. 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this wide-ranging work the openly rebellious author, starting with his own enounter with prejudice in the church, goes on a tour of modern thought that draws upon science,feminism,Khun's paradigm shifts, theories of truth and reference, sociology and psychology. In such a vast range some of the discussion is inevitably superficial. I was surprised to find Marx as the last prophet. The key insight is that "theology is really another aspect of psychology". He attempts to describe a convincing version of Christianity based solely on the human meaning in the Bible; one that avoids both fundamentalism and scepticism and is consonant with a rational,ethical, practical and contemporary life. While this may bolster a wavering Guardian-reading Christian, there is little new here to inspire an agnostic and the values are common to many systems. He is good at summarising other writers'ideas.Few could disagree with the Christian virtues he advocates, but the problem he fails to address is the eternal one of how we are to achieve any of them. I preferred the colourful style and directness of "Godless Morality". A small quibble-- the lack of an index in a scholarly work is irritating.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
In this title, Holloway succeeds in eloquently and beautifully articulating some extremely difficult theological questions and conundrums in an entertaining and accessible manner.
Using a blend of his own character and style and extensive quotations from as far afield as Freud to the Gospel according to Mark, Holloway puts his many concepts on the nature of our consciousness, the nature of God and its relation to the Church across expertly.
I found myself thanking Holloway out loud for having the intelligence and insight to articulate ideas i realised i held but had no name for. Despite this i found i did not wholeheartedly agree with all points made in this book, however the author writes in such a way as to make it difficult for the reader to find sound reason to disagree.
Love it or hate it, this book will make you think, and keep on thinking long after the final chapter.
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By Mr. D. P. Jay on 21 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the sort of book which, upon reading it, I say to myself that I’ve been thinking on these lines for about forty years. It is good to know that I am not the only one to think like this.

He starts off with the vehemence and hatred exhibited by bishops at the 1988 Lambeth Conference. The author had what, to me, would be Saul being present at the stoning of Stephen. The students who witnessed all these homophobes, and were working in the kitchens and elsewhere to make some extra cash, all witnessed to those bishops by wearing the rainbow flag in one for or other.

Holloway suggests that once women were accepted into the hierarchy, the fundamentalists had lost. The Church has decided to ignore that biblical text. I wonder if this should lead to the acceptance of same-sex marriage. If you can change the matter in the sacrament of ordination, why not in the sacrament of marriage?

Holloway cares passionately about Christianity but fears that having fallen into the hands of the fundamentalists, it will die or, at least, dwindle into a sect.

He is also passionate about symbol and metaphor. Those who flatten it into dogmatic literalism are unable to accept any truth claims that are different from their own.

He is not a literal realist but hovers midway between Don Cupitt’s non-realism and critical realism,. I hold to the latter.

People fear relativism but what many of us are into isn’t relativism, it’s pluralism. And pluralism is quite orthodox when you bring Aquinas into it.

Holloway writes a lot about religious language. You can’t avoid it. However, he oversimplifies when he uses the phrase ‘sodomy is sin’. He says that ‘sin’ had many meanings but ‘sodomy’ doesn’t. Nothing could be farther than the truth.
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