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on 17 January 2011
This is a very accessible book, by one of the countries finest apologists and theologians. It takes the reader through why theology is important and how you can apply it. It then walks through some arguments that have been aimed at religion by the 'new atheists' and explores the flaws in their logic and evidence base. In doing so, he also explains how one should incorporate Science into one's Christian Woldview.

I really enjoyed this book, even though i've been a Committed Christian for nearly 30 years, and have studied Theology at Uni, i learnt a lot from this book. I thought they way he approached believing in God and the Bible and Science was the best explanation i have heard on this perennial problem.

Definitely one of Prof McGrath's better books, if not his best yet.
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on 15 April 2010
This book is one of the best books to date by acclaimed author Alister McGrath. Having read numerous books by McGrath, this is perhaps the one I'd recommend the most.

The first section of the book basically starts by assessing what theology is, what its tradition is, what it is meant to do and what it means for the discipleship of mind - i.e. self transformation. To illustrate this McGrath uses the analogy of George Herbert's Elixir.

Next he looks at Martin Luther and C.S Lewis, and explains that whilst theology is highly intellectual and does have explanatory power it also requires practical application through ethics, actions etc. or it becomes purely speculative. To show how this works he first looks at tragic loss and then at how we view the world. The final chapter of Part 1 looks at how reasonable theology is and how it's meant to affect the disciple's mind.

The second section looks at the presuppositions we use when looking at the empirical world, including the natural sciences. He starts this section off by explaining why the sciences are NOT at war with religion and illustrates how this could not be so. He also, once again, discredits Dawkins highly dubious claim about 'memes'. He then shows how science and religion are NOT at war by considering both Darwinism and Evolution. To illustrate his claims he considers both the works of Charles Darwin and St Augustine, and then contrasts their respective works.

The next chapter is on the failed presupposition, often prompted by the likes of Christopher Hitchens, that 'religion poisons everything'. He looks at why certain things are accredited to religion when they are in fact not religious! He then concludes his book by looking at the Atheist manifesto and suggests that actually it impoverishes the individual's social view rather than enriches it. Whilst he believes this (which he would), he is nevertheless highly respectful (unlike some others) and agrees that he cannot 'prove' that his view is right, it just makes the most sense to him.

Perhaps one of the best reasons I would recommend this book over his others is that many online reviews of his works always say that whilst highly intellectual he never explains why he believes in all this stuff. Well, for all of you who have at some point felt like this, this is the book for you. McGrath includes a lot information about himself in this book and about how he came to faith, what rang truth to him and what he actually believes. He also covers his education just to illustrate that Dawkins is wrong when he suggests only uneducated individuals would believe in God.

I must admit that I have got more out of this book than from any of his others. I'd like at this point to mention that this book is written in very plain English, was very easy to read and highly enjoyable. It resists complicating its language which means that the book should be accessible to everyone. If you're confused by some of Dawkin's scientific claims I would also recommend McGrath's other book - 'Dawkin's God', which shows how dubious some of his claims actually are.

Along with this book I'd also highly recommend Peter Hitchens' book - Rage Against God, which considers whether an Atheist society really would be a better society for us. Hitchens' book and this book are perhaps the two best 'mainstream' books I have read yet this year - and I have read a few!

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Well done McGrath, perhaps your best book yet.
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on 13 November 2010
Firstly this book in an introduction to Theology. It answers questions like 'should I study Theology?', 'Why is Theology important?'. It doesn't answer questions like 'how can I study Theology?'. That said it's an excellent book. The writing style is relaxed and accessible and you can tell that Alister McGrath is passionate about the subject, and its application in real life (as opposed to the classroom).

I loved reading it and would happily buy this for anyone interested in Theology (my copy is covered in notes and highlighted sections).

This quote sums the book up perfectly:

"Theology is at its best and its most authentic when it is put into practice in ministry, mission and worship"
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on 2 September 2014
Mere Theology is basically two books, back to back.

The first one makes a case for the importance of theology and theological study (perhaps something of a given, considering that the reader has purchased a book on the subject), and is, in my opinion, very basic, simple and foundational. It was all good, but very basic.

The second book is a response and rebuttal to New Atheism, which is especially strong and well written in regards to its responses to Hitchens and Dawkins. The responses to the philosophical problems of New Atheism are excellent, and the responses to Dawkins were, in my opinion, the best part of the book. This second part of 'Mere Theology' is much more complex and in-depth than the first half, and at times can be a little difficult to follow, but is nevertheless the more satisfying and enjoyable part of the book.

All in all, a good read, only gave four stars because of the inconsistency of the flow between the two halves of the book, and because the first half was perhaps a little dull in places.
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on 7 April 2014
Even if the gospel is unchanging, the words in which it is expressed need to change with each generation, so that it can be presented in terms which will be understood by the people of the time. McGrath gives a rigorous and attractive summary of what most Christians today believe, which is entirely compatible with modern philosophical and scientific thinking. This is quite different from what the atheist fundamentalists would have you think we believe, and the book should be read by thoughtful Christians and agnostics alike.
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on 17 August 2015
For anyone who thinks theology is boring this book may well change your mind. It is relevant, thoroughly researched, well written and easy to read. I found the author's discussion of Augustine, creation and evolution particularly helpful.
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on 18 November 2013
Alister likes using abstract terms to explain things. His ability to use the english language is fantastic. He also has the tendency to use many words to explain rather simple things.
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on 26 January 2017
Made me understand Theology and get to grip with my Bible college assignment.
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on 1 November 2014
Good item, as described, A1.
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on 22 July 2014
I started this book with the hope that the author, as promised, would explain his conversion to Christianity in a clear and detailed manner. Unfortunately, amidst much woffle sprinkled with a generous load of intellectual-sounding big words, He simply said 'I read this book and it convinced me it was all true' , and then continued the verbose woffle about how wonderful and true his religion was, based on his belief - a somewhat circular, or rather spiral argument, with each increasingly overblown point built on the foundation of the previous one, Unfortunately the basic foundation of his whole argument seems to be 'I believe it (though, as already stated, there is no real explanation as to why) and I'm clever and can use big words, so it must be true'

Very disappointing as it did not deliver on what it claimed to explain and prove. As someone interested in theology, though from a sceptical standpoint, this book simply served to reinforce the scepticism rather than give me any genuinely wished-for encouragement to move towards a greater acceptance of this belief system
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