3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: If God, Then What? (Paperback)
An interesting and at times funny, but ultimately disappointing book that does raise a few questions. I do wonder who exactly it is aimed at? Two excellent chapters on the improbability of the universe's beginning by chance certainly point to some form of Creator but they do not reveal what this Creator is like. As the evolutionary biologist J.B.S Haldane is supposedly to have replied when asked what we could learn about the Creator from his creation; "An inordinate fondness for beetles". As a Christian, Wilson obviously talks of a loving Creator but how does he know this without referring to what the Creator has told us about himself? And why would this Creator initiate the steps to put things right as Wilson suggests? Surely, throughout history people have thought that it was up to them to make amends through sacrifice, pilgrimage and other rituals. As Wilson rightly points out, God becoming a man and entering his creation to redeem it is stunning and totally unknown in other world religions. Another great chapter about the large amount of evidence for the resurrection and the logical conclusion, if it is accepted, that Jesus is God and can tell us about himself is helpful and goes someway to addressing the question of why Christianity rather than other religions.
No footnotes or bibliography are a concern but maybe Wilson is writing for an audience that does not expect them. He clearly does not expect them to be put off by his quoting his public school education and his constant mentioning of exotic locations that he has been to. My biggest problem with this book is that Wilson wittily introduces philosophical points and then does not follow them through. Wilson talks of knowing whether he ate cornflakes for breakfast or not. He says hardline positivists would not be able to tell for sure by experimentation. Unless, of course, they cut him open; but a hardline positivist would answer, "Then we can tell!, even if you don't like the procedure" (less invasively, they could just test his stool samples). Wilson moves on to then dismiss positivism, while those holding that view would be arguing that they are still right. I'm no positivist but if you are trying to argue a point of view be consistent.
A disappointing book that I feel will be of limited use.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Sep 2012, 09:09:26 BST
Geoff Lillis says:
You raise some reasonable points, but is one star not a little harsh? Surely there are worse books? :)
Posted on 6 Aug 2013, 22:11:08 BST
You say the book is interesting, funny, has 'two excellent chapters' on the improbability of the universe beginning by chance, has a 'great chapter' on the resurrection and the unique nature of Christianity. So why only one star Eutychus? Surely a bit harsh given all your positive comments. As Geoff Lillis says, you raise some fair points but they are minor given that this is a book written for a wide-ranging audience and is clearly not intended to be deeply philosophical. I thought it was excellent, very readable and ideal for my 18 year old who seems to be bombarded by populist atheistic thinking at present. I did rather agree on the shortcomings of the 'cornflakes for breakfast' illustration but I got the point and I can think of a few popular atheists who are highly adept at making witty or scathing points without following them through. Not many of them are awarded one star ('cos they are self-proclaimed 'brights' after all)
Posted on 10 Jun 2016, 12:09:41 BST
KIRSTY McALLISTER says:
"He clearly does not expect them to be put off by his quoting his public school education and his constant mentioning of exotic locations that he has been to."
Why shouldn't he refer to them? That's who he is. Just as a working class person would make reference to their own circumstances, without us assuming that other people would be 'put off'.
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