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Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith Hardcover – 15 Mar 2010
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“BELIEF is more than an anthology; it is a provocation, a brilliant, wide ranging and powerful series of readings on the possibilities, problems and mysteries of faith. This book belongs on the shelf of every believer – and every serious skeptic.” (Rabbi David Wolpe, author of WHY FAITH MATTERS)
“This life-giving, faith-filled and hard-nosed collection reveals why, as St. Anselm wrote, true faith always seeks to understand.” (Rev. James Martin, SJ, author of My Life With the Saints)
“Because I teach in the area of faith and reason I have a shelf full of anthologies, and I have to say that this is the most varied and interesting of them all.” (Nancy Murphy, co-author of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? and Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary)
“As I read through the chapters, I felt I was at a banquet table with old friends. What a feast Francis Collins has served!” (Philip Yancy, author of What's So Amazing About Grace)
A wonderful expose on the different arguments for religious and spiritual beliefs. These readings are critical for our understanding of religion and will be essential for fostering greater dialogue about the nature of religion in the future. An important read for anyone interested in the study of religion and spirituality. (Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of Why God Won't Go Away)
“Francis S. Collins—a foremost geneticist and author of the bestselling The Language of God—has compiled a rich array of readings in his new book.” (America Magazine)
“Any seeking clarity on the debate between reason and faith will find this an engrossing collection.” (The Bookwatch)
From the Back Cover
"Is there a God?" is the most central and profound question that humans ask. With the New Atheists gaining a loud voice in today's world, it is time to revisit the long-standing intellectual tradition on the side of faith. Francis Collins, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God and renowned physician and geneticist, defends the reason for faith in this provocative collection. Collins is our guide as he takes us through the writings of many of the world's greatest thinkers -- philosophers, preachers, poets, scientists -- both past and present, including such luminaries as C. S. Lewis and Augustine, and unexpected voices such as John Locke and Dorothy Sayers. Despite the doubts of a cynical world, this essential companion proves once and for all the rationality of faith.
"In the twenty-first century, many seem to have concluded that the spiritual experience and the life of the mind ought to occupy separate domains, and that disruptions, conflicts, and disenchantments will result if the firewall comes down. Surely humanity's ongoing search for truth is not enriched by such limitations. In the words of Socrates, the key to a fully mature and richly rewarding life, both for us as individuals and as a society, is to ‘follow the argument wherever it leads,' unafraid of the consequences. If this collection of essays provides even a small encouragement in this direction for the seeker, the believer, or the skeptic, that will be gratifying indeed." -- from the IntroductionSee all Product description
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Is it good? Undoubtedly. Is it likely to convince many people to alter their views? Probably not.
A worthwhile read, but The Language of God remains Collins' best work to date.
Whilst the major argument is bound to centre on weather a certain piece should have been included or whether another article would have been better suited the book has more than enough to cater for everyone's individual tastes, no matter how varied. For me, the highlights included:
St Anselm - God as being that which nothing greater can be conceived
Blaise Pascal - On Pascal's Wager
Keith Ward - On the irrationality of `religion' as a construct
Desmond Tutu - On suffering and Nelson Mandela
Timothy Keller - On justice and misconceptions
Martin Luther King - On human dignity
Paul Brand - On his experiences as a medical surgeon
John Polkinghorne - On the correlation between science and faith
Mother Teresa - On human kindness
Anthony Flew - On rationality, and following the argument wherever it goes
For me these articles stood out amongst the rest, however, for others I'm sure different articles would be listed.
The book itself is nicely presented, in good size front. Each essay is designed to be read in a singular sitting, and therefore none of the essays are particularly long. At the start of each article Collins gives an introduction to the author and the piece included. The purpose of the book is to highlight intellectual theism and the rationality of faith.
Whether the arguments made convince you is irrelevant. Rather as Alister McGrath says: "the hallmark of intelligence is not whether one believes in God or not, but the quality of the processes that underlie one's beliefs". Thus this book is all about the processes that underlie belief.
Overall I was thoroughly pleased by the book itself and found it highly enjoyable. It's definitely a book I'll keep as I'll no doubt revisit certain articles at different points. On this basis I give the book 5 stars and a thorough recommendation to all.
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