a small book about big things,
This review is from: God Explained in a Taxi Ride (Paperback)
A speedy, tongue-in-cheek ride through the Central Questions of Existence--a small book about big things...
Its wisdom lies in its simplicity and sincerity. Unlike the cool, noncommittal detachment of a pop philosopher like (say) Alain de Botton, Paul Arden's approach, although far from intense, is intensely personal, and he's unafraid to spell out his own beliefs--which adds a dollop of charm and persuasiveness. The naïve, simple illustrations match this approach perfectly, as do the typeface, layouts, and quotes from Paul's own (grand)kids.
Alongside them, it's good to see Anselm's Proof of God given an outing, as well as some striking thoughts about miracles (which Arden reckons could be tricks), the Resurrection (which could be a metaphor), organised religion (which could be unnecessary) and the classic advertising insight that the more you ask customers to pay, the more they'll value their purchase. Arden applies that insight to a comparison between the Church of England, which is "free" -- passing round a voluntary collection plate -- and Scientology, where you pay "whatever they tell you to pay". Paul Arden cannily suggests that charging a fiver per service would give mainstream Christianity "a bigger and more committed congregation.").
I also liked "Sunday's Thought of the Day" where, contrasting the Hindu reverence of the Holy Cow with a typical Anglican's Sunday lunch, Paul Arden observes, "One man's sin is another's roast dinner".
As a colleague of Paul Arden's during Saatchi's "Golden Age" I think I learned more from him about advertising then than about God in this book, but that may be because his beliefs--non-religious, sceptical, anti-authoritarian, irradiated by faith--chime in with a spiritual rebel's. I recommend this attractive, thought-provoking little book to anyone with a couple of minutes to spare for God, life, and the meaning of it all.