Beauty, truth, and goodness. Wonderful virtues, but are they the ‘purpose’ of evolution? McIntosh challenges the conventional view of a purposeless evolution and turns it on it’s head. Whether or not you agree with how he assembles his particular collage of observations, his review of the issues makes this a worthwhile read.
If you begin reading Bell by first scanning his bibliography, you will instantly reach for your seat belt and helmet. It portends be a wild and exciting ride. In the beginning he reviews our current conceptions of the universe, which neatly sets readers up for the next chapters in which we joyfully expect to be mercilessly whipped around mind-boggling theological curve after curve, shaking every long cherished conception of God out of our pockets and into the nearest black hole.
Unfortunately, Bell hedges his bets, much as he did in Love Wins, and – for all intents and purposes – assumes the existence and essence of the familiar Christian God. While Bell juggles in clever terms and shares many intriguing notions, which makes his book well worth reading, he never escapes the gravitational pull of his evangelical roots. Not that he has to, but something much more was expected from one so gifted. In our twenty-first century one would hope that our discussions about God could at least begin by stepping outside the world of mankind’s millennially exhausting pre-modern explanations of the universe and justly and intelligently ask the question, ‘what if there isn’t any God?’, rather than to discount that perspective out-of-hand, without any real discussion, which has only raised legitimate questions about the integrity of Christian scholarship.
So, all that being said, I recommend that you read this book and enjoy it for what it is. Then look for other authors who are willing to examine the idea of ‘God’ more thoroughly.
I got irritated reading this book. I was irritated every time the ‘churched’ spoke. Smug ‘Christians’ aren’t very nice people. I was irritated by the rebuttal of the atheist. Where were voices like this when I began asking questions? Finally, I was irritated every time someone interrupted me while I was reading. The story was totally engaging.
Yet this was more than an exceptionally great story among a sea of other new books that are both a waste of time and money. Seidensticker effectively takes the reader by surprise, sucking the unprepared deep into his narrative, while fearlessly landing an assault on the very foundations of our world view.
Honestly, this was one of the best books I’ve read in recent months. The author explored working with characters who were genuinely searching for truth while others hid from the truth in various ways. The reader must jockey his/her way back and forth between sometimes identifying with one and then with the other. We not only come face to face with the truth about the genuineness of our own desire for truth, but we are frequently confronted by specific challenges to many of our cherished defenses. Overlaying the existential, theological, and the rational clobbering, the author simultaneously side-swipes the reader with the emotionality of two tragic background stories.
So, what does one do with all this? Was it only a good story? Should we merely permit the author to take us out for a spin, then return us safely to our home? Read only if you consider yourself an honest person.
Prying the lid off of vacuum sealed Christianity proves difficult at best. Rollins, unlike most who write about the state of the Christian ‘union’, seems to be the most adept at this task. Rather than attempting to be nice about it or by thinking only from within the parameters of the religion, the author – even as a Christian – has an ability and the will to step outside of his faith in order to honestly examine his faith. The result is, as usual, breathtakingly refreshing and resonates with the soul. He is able to articulately bring to discussion the angst that often resides just below the surface in the minds of many contemporary Christians.
We are, as Peter pens, addicted to our religion. But what, exactly does that mean? Why have we turned God into an idol? Why do we keep doing, with pleasure, the very things that keep us from God?
The author, who is not only the spouse of a vet with PTSD, but also one who suffers with PTSD from her own earlier trauma, presents her experiences and her research in this book. It is important to remember that research continues in the field of post trauma stress. Erica Davis presents what she has found to be useful in both understanding and in needed skills for those married to a spouse with PTSD.
Davis gives a brief overview of what is known about this disorder and what treatment options are available. Most importantly, becoming aware of how a spouse suffering with PTSD may influence you, the spouse, is essential. The author lived for years without understanding what was going on with her husband and subsequently with herself.
Are you married to a vet, are yourself a vet, and/or have you or someone you live with been through a traumatic experience other than at war? If so, don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself on this topic. What you will learn may save your relationship, your sanity, and possibly even your life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Frankly, I’m not sure what to do with this book. I am, like the author, no big fan of religion. I think the church has effectively added to the crucifixion of Jesus a crucifixion of every good thing he ever taught. What disappointed me in this book was the the author moved the discussion in the opposite direction than I have gone. I felt he took me from the insanity of religion into the inane.
The little bit of ancient Enoch reference was creatively re-imagined. I don’t understand how this could be sacred, when even the definition of the word ‘sacred’ was itself abandoned. This book was truly more artful than an ‘art’ for knowing God. Having said that, if this approach really worked for the author and works for others – wonderful. It just missed the mark for me.
Despite the fact that the book didn’t even grab my attention in the introduction, I persisted in reading, curious as to how the author would develop his thinking, hoping something better would soon emerge. Occasionally he would make a statement that rather resonated with me. I then read on hoping for a little deeper exploration of his comment. But it just wasn’t there, time after time. Similarly, various chapter headings caught my attention, but the contents fell short on delivering the ‘goods’ – often seeming irrelevant to the headings.
Sorry, but for me, this was merely Tolle retold rather than the Old Story pleasantly redeemed and retold.
Gordon Wood presents a riveting discussion on the evolution of Benjamin Franklin. Much that I thought I knew about Franklin has either been challenged as simplistic or deepened far beyond expectations.
Many have tried to portray the ‘father’s’ of the American Revolution in rather absolute and fanciful caricatures that have merely served distract contemporary Americans from discovering the truth about their national identity – confounding our ability to rationally confront our twenty-first century social issues. Wood’s research re-introduces the modern reader to the complexities of the 18th century which, I hope, will inspire the reader to abandon any inclination to imagine our day with any less awareness. Franklin was not what either we or they wanted him to be in order to remain ignorant of reality. He was a far less than perfect man, but one who was willing to engage the larger picture of his day, as we should our own. May our exploration of his life inform us as we pursue the one before us.