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God: All That Matters

God: All That Matters [Kindle Edition]

Mark Vernon
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Description


One of the most thoughtful, accessible and lucid popular philosophers writing today. (Julian Baggini, Editor of The Philosopher's Magazine)

He defends ambiguity and undecidability with an almost Evangelical zeal. And because he writes with such a delicate blend of deft coolness on the one hand, and fervour on the other, many are likely to be both enchanted and persuaded by his apologetics. (Church Times on After Atheist)

Mark Vernon has an unparallelled ability to convey profound philosophical ideas in a manner that is both accessible and personal but also rigorous and challenging. Behind the friendly, humorous writing is an acute sense of what is truly relevant to us today. (Raymond Tallis, author of The Kingdom of Infinite Space)

A light-footed scoot through theologies both ancient and (post)modern. (Steven Poole, The Guardian)

A very informative and useful little book. (Church Times)

Very accessible and readable. (The Tablet)

Book Description

All that matters about God. 'All That Matters' is an exciting new series from Hodder, with authors that matter writing about subjects that matter.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 861 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (3 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008MNQL4Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,660 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In 125 pages, sympathetic atheist Mark Vernon does not have much time to go deep into the God question -- as he acknowledges in the introduction, to believers, God is, quite literally 'all that matters'. What he does manage to do is survey the fundamental questions which most people ask and most religions try to answer about God: what about God and suffering? is God just a projection of our own ideals? is God nature? is God an expression of the religious experience? is God actually good? is God green? is He coming back? is He love?

While he only has time to name the issues and touch on some of the most important and wide ranging responses, Mark Vernon really does manage to make a connection with at least the questions, if not the answers. This is a very sympathetic, objective account of what key thinkers have proposed in answering the questions. As honest broker, Vernon does not attempt to choose between them or put forward his own version.

Very few books on any subject are as fair-minded as this. Ultimately, the subject is so broad that Vernon is forced to reinterpret the title, and what he does is not more than a brief survey. But it is never glib, despite the fact that Vernon, personally, does not believe in any of it. He shows admirable restraint, thus making the book a useful introduction and discussion starter, rather than yet another personal contribution to a crowded topic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Indexing God 24 April 2013
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I started out with high hopes of this. I find reading those whose certainties are shaded, from both sides of a debate, more useful than reading those who inhabit the extremes of a debating position.

Hence, a laying out of some of the large questions that have been raised about 'Is God?' 'What is God' 'Why Is God' 'Do We need God' and all the rest, intrigued me

The fact that Mark Vernon WAS a priest and IS now an atheist, and has an academic background in physics, theology and philosophy was also a major lure for me.

Divided into easy bite sized chunks, a sort of 'here is a paragraph heading on thought about God from this angle' again initially seemed clear and interesting - for example: God and the Nature of Suffering; God as Moral Compass etc.

The strength of the book - a scamper through thought about these ideas - was ultimately, for me, its major weakness. It began to remind me irresistibly about the 'For Dummies' series with better pictures but no jokes. Useful to get to understand how to DO something, for example, write HTML, not so useful where something is to be experienced in an inhabiting or gestalt.

The cool 'here is information' began to take me further and further from engagement. By the time I had reached the 'Is God Green' chapter (becoming increasing irritated by the little snappy, poppy, trivial chapter topics), wherein Vernon reminds us 'The Tao that can be talked about is not the true Tao' I was ready to throw my hands up in complete agreement with the statement.

I was neither reading this for affirmation of one view or another, only for deeper engagement with the questions.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By The Fat Monk TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In theory this should have been a great read. With his 'credentials' (ex priest, ex atheist, ex physicist - is there anything he sticks at) Vernon is in a pretty unique position which should enable him to take a detached view on all that is religion.

The premise of the book is not to argue for or against religion but to simply present the thoughts and discussions others have had throughout history while wrangling religions big questions - "why does god allow suffering", "is god love" or even good and the more contemporary "is god green".

Unfortunately I found Vernon's style a little too detached even for this type of appraisal. It is difficult to know where the author's opinion is being expressed and what is the opinion of the thinker being written about.

On top of that there were far too many "What's that got to do with the price of fish" moments. I was reminded of South Park's OJ Simpson trial episode (or the trial itself, I suppose, but it's South Park that came to mind - if the glove don't fit you must acquit. These logical non-sequiturs grated after a while and usually ended with "Therefore God exists" or "...therefore God is good". The discussion leading to these conclusions often has nothing whatsoever to do with the conclusion being drawn, but again you are left wondering whether these are the conclusions of the author or the original 'thinker'.

Sadly I found a lot of the discussion (presumably not Vernon's own opinions, but I cant be sure exactly who thinks what where) to be pseudo-mysterious bilge. It's all well and good putting forward others' opinions but when they consist of circular arguments and empty philosophising like much of this appears to it is difficult to take seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All that matters 1 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The title refers to the series that holds this work, "All that Matters," but it also holds a deeper double meaning here. It will after all be argued by some that God is all that matters.
This short book is written by a man who has, like Jacob, wrestled with the divine. Mark Vernon, now a writer, journalist, broadcaster and teacher, was once a priest in the Church of England but left it a convinced Atheist. But he has continued his struggle with the divine and is now an agnostic, passionate about exploring how we, the human race, have thought about and explored the power larger than ourselves.
So his struggle must have been intense, scorching, bitter, despairing, but still passionate and charged with a fierce determination to take faith issues seriously. And this shows in this small book, which is crackling with energy and engagement with its subject. It is passionate and lively, not dry and academic, and throws up mind bending concepts with ha lightness of touch and clarity of expression that makes them enjoyable for us to grasp.
And so we explore, in thematic chapters, different understandings and expressions of the divine through history and the world; How God has been experienced though suffering, moral ideals, nature, peak experiences (as in the work of William James), goodness, ecology and nature, eschatology and love. The writer draws on the thought and work of some fascinating thinkers and writers through history, and his enthusiasm makes you want to research and explore further. And so with me I was fascinated to read about William James's work "The Varieties of Religious Experience "and I will be investing in that work. The illustrations are used sparingly and well, and some key concepts are explored in separate dialogue boxes.
A recommended, highly accessible work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting contribution to religious philosophy
Mark Vernon's book is a bit of an enigma to me: on the one hand I began to read it as a universalistic and non-empirical philosophy paper in which religions that have at their... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Paul Munro
4.0 out of 5 stars OK
this book covers a topic which is far far larger yet the author covers them in 125 pages. i wouldnt say its a little different. Read more
Published 12 months ago by L. Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Distinctly mixed quality essays here
Mark Vernon, one time athiest, come agnostic, come interfaith devotee, has another offering for the reader interested in the topic of God and while I found this similar to another... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lark
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the easiest book to get to grips with
I thought the premise for this book sounded really interesting, but I really struggled to get through each chapter. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Miss
4.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of The Matter
Mark Vernon's aim in 'God:All That Matters' is 'to address the central, contemporary questions......I imagine concerns searchers for the divine, also known as theologians... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Neutral
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket God
'In the beginning was the word' and that word was spoken by a human. At that same instant God began. Read more
Published 16 months ago by W. Rodick
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very enlightening
Outside of the publishers remit to cover the topic, and Vernon's choice to take it on as a job, I'm not sure who this book has been written for. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars As good an introduction as you could hope for
MV was a CofE priest but left as an atheist. An atheist believes God does not exist, an agnostic does not know if he exists, but there is a third position not usually advertised,... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Very readable and concise account. Great for anyone who wants an overall view. Having read a great deal on the subject I still found this book both enjoyable and illuminating
Published 19 months ago by BGWHITEHEAD
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction
Starting from an ignostic (as opposed to epistemological gnostic or agnostic) point of departure, Mark Vernon's book does not so much enter the stale contest between atheism and... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mr. RB FORTUNE-WOOD
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