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M. Booth (Cambridge, UK)

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Serenity: Leaves on the Wind: 4
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind: 4
by Zack Whedon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable!, 9 Dec. 2014
A great follow-on to the movie Serenity, I felt that this was more substantial than the other graphic novels in this series (and I very much enjoyed them) - this feels like a new Firefly episode (or double episode) in book form. I particularly liked how it starts off with the fallout from the revelation from Miranda, and how that would play once it became public. The characters and storyline are very enjoyable, as we've come to expect - and there are a few secondary characters from the TV show and film that make a welcome return.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
by David Limbaugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 26 Nov. 2008
This is the book version of the authors' 12-point presentation to demonstrate step-by-step that Christianity is true.

Reading this book as an atheist I found the first half of the book particularly hard going, where they attempt to demonstrate from first principles that God does exist. This is not because they tackle particularly difficult concepts, or because they write in a hard-to-understand way - they don't. Rather it's because the philosophical and scientific objections to their point of view are often dealt with in a rather patronising and smug way, sometimes missing the point of the objection. For example, a few scientific theories are described as "couterintuitive" or "against common sense", and therefore it takes more faith to believe them than Christianity. Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever studied Quantum Mechanics or Relativity knows, just because something is counterintuitive doesn't mean it's not accurate.

After about my fifth exaggerated reaction to something they had written (clasping my hand over my eyes, yelping out loud, etc), I thought to myself "this must be how it feels to be a Christian reading The God Delusion". The style of writing in The God Delusion can be patronising and smug at times, and simplifies theological objections to Dawkins' point of view. But just as I would highly recommend The God Delusion to anyone, and insist they force their way through the bits they don't like, I did the same with this book.

Once the authors have demonstrated to their own satisfaction that this is a monotheistic universe (and therefore Judaism, Christianity or Islam are the only religions that could possibly be correct) they then start to go through the bible and explain why they believe Christianity is true. At this point, I was very pleased that I'd managed to slog through the first half - because the second half was extremely engaging and made its point in a very accessible way.

The old testament and the new testament are both discussed, and their reliability assessed. The life of Jesus and whether he really was the son of God is also covered (in quite some detail), as well as the reliability of the Apostles and other witnesses. The whole second half of the book was a lot more convincing than the first half, and really gave me a much better understanding of Christianity (and Christians!).

Overall, I did find it frustrating to read - but rewarding. I would recommend to Christians, atheists, and those of non-Christian faiths as an insight into Christian beliefs. Will it convert anyone to Christianity? Possibly, but it didn't convert me.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2012 4:31 PM GMT

The Folklore of Discworld
The Folklore of Discworld
by Jacqueline Simpson
Edition: Hardcover

104 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds depth to the Discworld for fans, 11 Sept. 2008
I got an advanced copy of this book at the Discworld Convention and read it straight away. It is written in an entertaining style and explains how the books of the Discworld series have been influenced by the folklore of Earth - for example, why there are 3 witches and why wizards have a university.

The book is split into chapters covering different aspects of the Discworld, e.g. the animals of the Discworld, the country of Lancre. Unlike the "Science of the Discworld" books, there isn't also a story to follow, only the description of the use of folklore. Don't expect to find full annotations of every reference to folklore in each of the Discworld books - it is more an extended essay on the subject, with good examples from the novels chosen to illustrate interesting points.

For fans of the Discworld familiar with the novels, it can be an illuminating experience reading this book - there were certainly times where I said to myself "I never knew that!". However, it is unlikely to be of interest to people who are not familiar with the Discworld universe, and there are even a few small spoilers which may annoy fans who haven't yet read all of the books.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and was only slightly disappointed because there isn't really any new Discworld in it - however it supports the Discworld novels very well and did increase my enjoyment of them!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2008 2:51 PM GMT

Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith
Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith
by Edited by Ravi Zacharias Norman L. Geisler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.76

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and easy to understand, although sometimes not detailed enough, 25 Aug. 2008
I was reading this book from an atheist perspective, trying to understand how people have faith. The questions covered in this book are exactly the ones that would make me question my faith if I were a Christian. They are sensibly organised in this book, and the answers are very accessible.

In most cases, the answer starts by clarifying the question, which helps to make it clear exactly what question is being answered. The answer/explanation is then covered in some detail, but all the while remaining easy to understand, even for someone with little knowledge of theology. There will be some Christians for whom their own beliefs don't match the answers in this book - for example that evidence for the Big Bang supports the existence of a Creator God.

What I found was that often the book didn't quite go far enough - questions raised by the answers themselves often go unanswered. On the whole, the worldview presented by this book is internally consistent (which is a start) and easy to understand, but when I started looking more closely, I could still see cracks. However, the book served the purpose I had bought it for - to understand why others believe.

This book is aimed at Christians who want to be able to answer questions asked by non-believers. For that use, I do recommend it - but with a few notes of caution:
- Firstly, be wary of some of the scientific details covered in the "Science" chapter. If you engage an informed non-believer in debate without further reading on these topics you will come unstuck pretty quickly.
- If you use only the answers in this book, most intelligent people will come to understand your point of view but are unlikely to be converted to it. If this is all you are trying to do then this book is perfect for you. If ultimately you want to be making some more convincing arguments I believe you will need further study - but this book is a good place to start, not least because it gives you a good overview of what topics are likely to be covered in such debates.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 12, 2014 4:16 PM GMT

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