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The Big Questions: God Hardcover – 26 Apr 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780870329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780870328
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 540,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Mark Vernon is an author and journalist, his books including 'The Meaning of Friendship' (Palgrave Macmillan), 'After Atheism' (Palgrave Macmillan) and 'Wellbeing' (Acumen - part of the Art of Living series he edits). He writes regularly for the Guardian, TLS and Evening Standard. He has degrees in physics, theology and a PhD in philosophy, and is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College, London, as well as a founding member of the faculty at The School of Life, London. He used to be a priest in the Church of England. He is a keen blogger at www.markvernon.com

Product Description

Review

'Vernon's generally mainstream approach to the issues occasionally deviates from the beaten track and encourages us to think again' Church Times.

From the Back Cover

The Big Questions series is designed to let renowned experts address fundamental problems that have perplexed enquiring minds throughout history. In The Big Questions: God, Mark Vernon tackles some of the thorniest challenges of religion, including the problem of evil, the truth of sacred texts, the power of prayer and the ultimate purpose of existence.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Fitzpatrick on 12 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover
An excellent non biased and non threatening book, that attempts, to simply explain human beliefs. It neatly portrays the motivational similarities between fundamental christians and atheists.
I found this book enables one to better disseminate religous, spiritual and scientific debate surrounding human belief systems.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lark TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be absolutely superb, in many ways a rebalancing of discussion and debate, at least as I am familiar with it in the UK, between believers and strident non-believers.

I think there is perhaps what could be described discharitably as a bias towards Christianity, it seems to be the tradition with which Mark Vernon is most familiar, however I really do think that it falls short of what could be described as Christian apologetics, especially since there is not any indepth attention given over to theology of either the Roman Catholic or other denominations.

That said I actually am a Christian believer and perhaps enjoyed it all the more for that "colouring" of the content, I really, really would not let that deter any readership who has a normally strong aversion to all things Christian as this is far from simply a number of replies to non-believers of different stripes. Far from it. There are also some excellent responses to some discussions which are the product of varieties of Christian fundamentalism, which have bled across into other faith communities. For instance, the dichotomy between religion and spirituality which rightly opens, albeit only briefly, the way to a discussion about institutions prevailing over inspirations and also the value of traditions as repository for learning beyond the capacity of any one individual.

I really liked the discussions of other dichotomies, between science and religion, between evolutionary research and religious revelations, their origins, the legacy of bitter disputation and the shape in which they persist.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Robinson on 29 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover
Very enjoyable new book from Mark Vernon, which is written with his characteristic liveliness and generosity. In common with many of his other works, Mark's interest in the big questions is governed by traditional philosophical concerns of what it means to live a good and fully-flourishing life (rather than, for example, focusing on technical aspects of logic and proofs). The result is a succinct book that prompts the reader, with generosity and creativeness, to think about what this big questions about God might mean, and how they might be asked, rather then offering an exhaustive exploration of the possible answers. It is very much a book to prompt thoughts and reflections than provide the answers, but does so in a way that is well-read, carefully considered and thought-provoking.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Nullifidian on 24 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover
How on earth did Simon Blackburn allow this to slip through? The Baggini book on ethics in the same series is excellent. This book, unfortunately, is not. If you want thinly diguised christian apologetics then this is for you. Masquerading as balanced discussion, it demonstrates considerable bias, suggests that being spiritual is superior to life without belief and generally panders to believers. There are straw-man arguments, lengthy irrelevant stories and many quotes from muddled theologians from the dark ages. Sceptics are portrayed as strident stirrers, causing conflict. They don't get much airtime and when they do, immediate attempts are made to undermine their positions.
With proponents like this, it is small wonder god is in decline.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not my cup of tea 10 Aug 2012
By Wayne Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I dont want to be too critical but Mark seems to argue that people are richer with religion and spirilaity,and that science is cold and lacks conviction to answers the big question. I'm not convinced that he is right. He says that science and religion are tangled together, but simple empirical observations would easly prove this as false. Clearly, Mark is a good philosopher but he is no science major. A basic understanding of evoluationary process might have given him a better understanding of convergence selection rather than attributing a grand designer. (For the record convergence evoluation mean that two creatures develop the same trait despite having no contact with each other.) Patterns that we see in nature are not real unless they can be proven scientifically. To say that nature is coming up with the same solutions is to impose our own ideas on to nature. Another perspective may note that nature acts within biology /genetics and the environment. Convergence selection is simply two creature creating the same adaptation to the same environment. This would make sense if this adaptation is an advantage in that environment. It does not suggest a designer.On the whole the book was a ok read it contained a few interesting ideas that mixed philosophy and spiritualiy. It a push in the right decoration in the God debate.
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