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Questions of Truth: Fifty-One Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief Paperback – 19 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (19 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664233511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664233518
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"People looking for an intelligent discussion of some of the difficult questions that come up when one is serious about faith and serious about science should look at Questions of Truth. Here, Polkinghorne and Beale have provided their responses to questions raised by just such people. For sampling a wide variety of topics, or digging down into a few, this little book is a refreshing contrast to the polemic and misinformation that have characterized much of the writing in this area." -- William D Phillips, Nobel Prizewinner in Physics

"an important contribution to the dialogue between science and religion." -- Martin A Nowak, Professor of Biology and of Mathematics, Harvard University

"A wonderfully accessible, informative and authoritative guide to the big questions in science and religion. An ideal starting point for those new to the field; a great stimulus to discussion for those who are already initiated." -- Alister McGrath

"Here in the 21st century, many thoughtful seekers are rejecting shrill and extreme positions of atheistic scientism or religious fundamentalism, and are instead searching for deeper answers to questions about God and the natural world. Standing on the rational bedrock of faith as the "evidence of things not seen", Polkinghorne and Beale provide richly nuanced responses to the questions that many seekers are asking. This is simply a fantastic resource." -- Francis Collins Leader of the Human Genome Project, and author of The Language of God

"renowned physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne, who accepts evolution in full, has no problems reconciling his faith with his science....Despite the complexity of some of the scientific issues discussed, Questions of Truth is a commendably clear read. The authors' general strategy is not to deny what science says about the universe and humanity's place in it, but to show that none of this contradicts their Christian beliefs...It is a pity that the people most likely to buy this book are those simply seeking intellectual reassurance that their faith is not irrational. Those who would most benefit from reading it are in fact fundamentalists who think that evolutionary science must be wrong, and overconfident atheists who believe that the religious are manifestly irrational."
-- Julian Baggini, Financial Times 21 Feb 09

"of universal interest. Many readers will welcome this accessible format"
-- Publishers Weekly, Nov 10.2008

Review

"People looking for an intelligent discussion of some of the difficult questions that come up when one is serious about faith and serious about science should look at Questions of Truth. Here, Polkinghorne and Beale have provided their responses to questions raised by just such people. For sampling a wide variety of topics, or digging down into a few, this little book is a refreshing contrast to the polemic and misinformation that have characterized much of the writing in this area."

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on 27 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a series of questions and their answers covering God, belief, the universe, evil, religion and more from the viewpoint of respected scientists. The individual answers aren't particularly long (most one to two pages) but a few are explored in more depth in the appendices. Richard Dawkins is mentioned frequently and the book contains much helpful information about a scientific response to Dawkins' assertions.

The book was strongest in its discussion of how science and Christianity can interact but weaker where the authors strayed more towards philosophy and Christian apologetics. However overall it was a good read; although technical in places there was enough for the layperson to understand and appreciate.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 July 2009
Format: Paperback
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." -- John 4:24

If you are like me, it's often frustrating to read what pastors have to say about science because they may not know much about science. The potshots that atheists take at Christianity are often based at least in part on scientific-seeming comments. Wouldn't it be nice to read what a scientist has to say about science and Christianity?

Questions of Truth takes you to the doorway through which you can begin to learn about how science and Christianity stack up, side-by-side. John Polkinghorne is a former professor of physics who often writes about Christianity and science. Nicholas Beale is a management consultant who speaks eloquently in defense of Christianity. Both write from a faith-based perspective that will seem familiar to many Christians.

The book opens with about 100 pages of questions and brief answers. In a few cases, the answers are elaborated on in appendices concerning the extreme delicacy of the universe that allows for us to live, the mind and the brain, and evolution. All sections of the book generously refer to more detailed arguments in other sources through commentaries, footnotes, and a bibliography. In many cases, you won't find what you are really looking for until you get into those more detailed treatments.

This book, rather, mimics the Web site that Nicholas Beale maintains to publicize John Polkinghorne's views about Christianity. As such, it's brief and to the point: That the book's strength.

The authors separate respond to each question so you get at least two perspectives in each case. Here are a few of the key points that the book makes:

1. Science is about "how" things work and Christianity is about "why" they work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By h2g2 on 30 July 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are a Christian, and would like answers to the ubiquitous, and perhaps troubling questions, such as "Can God's Existence Be Proved?" and "Why is there Cancer?", then this book is certainly for you. But I would go so far as to say that I would recommend this to every Christian - it is so good. And I would recommend it to non-Christians, as it is so intelligent and considered that non-believers could easily find a case made for God, and even if not I can guarantee that this book broadens horizons.

The book is divided into eight chapters:

1. Leading Questions

2. The Being and Existence of God

3. The Universe

4. Evolution

5. Evil

6. Human Being

7. Religion

8. Conclusion

And there are also three appendices at the end.

Each chapter is sub-divided into separate questions pertaining to the focal point of the chapter heading. Also, at the end of each chapter, there is a list of books which the authors recommend for further reading in each of the subject areas.

Each of the questions receives a response from Nicholas Beale first and John Polkinghorne second, and sometimes a co-authored response. Both sets of answers are superb and extremely helpful.

All in all, and I do not say this superficially, this is a book which serves as an excellent introduction, but which does so much more than simply introduce, and is a book which cannot be ignored.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. JL Gidney on 6 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I am ashamed to say that this is actually the first book I have read by John Polkinghorne even though he is the author of no less than 26 books and has been prominent in the public square for decades . John Pokinghorne is an eminent and world respected Physicist/Priest based in Cambridge and is arguably one of the most repected thinkers on the interaction between science and faith.

This particular book is co-authored by him and his longtime collegue and friend Nicholas Beale, a social philosopher. The book has a very unique approach as the majority of the material is in a Q and A format with three substantial appendices. The idea for the book arose from John's website which is run by Beale. Over the years people from around the world emailed them questions and both of them provided responses to them on the website and via emails. The amount of material they got from these questions and responses was then adapted for this book with some adjustments and more detailed responses in the appendices.

Each chapter contains some very thoughtful questions from various people and equally thoughtful responses from the two authors. Some particularly interesting questions are included such as Why is evolution so wasteful? Was the tsunami an act of God? How can something come from nothing? Why is there cancer? The authors make it clear from the beginning that they offer responses and not answers to the issues discussed. To most of these questions, there are no textbook answers but christians can at least offer reasoned and thoughtful responses to some of the deepest questions of existence that make sense of the world and that aren't just blind leaps of faith.
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