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Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith Hardcover – March 2, 2010

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Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith + The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief + The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition, First Printing edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061787345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061787348
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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 Introduction

More About the Author

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., helped to discover the genetic misspellings that cause cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease, and a rare form of premature aging called progeria. A pioneer gene hunter, he led the Human Genome Project from 1993 until 2008. For his revolutionary contributions to genetic research, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, and the National Medal of Science in 2009. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and has a longstanding interest in the interface between science and faith. He currently serves as the Director of the National Institutes of Health. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and in his spare time he enjoys riding a motorcycle and playing guitar.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Possibly even bringing in another top rate scientist would have been a great idea (ie.
You will be happy that you decided to read this book.....informative, interesting and a book you will share with others.
V. Eichhorn
The nice thing about this book though is that you can skip around and just read however much you want.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a physician and cancer research scientist, and a Christian, and I have for decades seen no conflict (indeed, I have seen the opposite) between the truth I see in nature (including Darwinian evolution) and belief in the God of Abraham. The so-called conflict is largely, in my opinion, contrived for the purpose of some religious leaders and other radicals to help them maintain control and wealth. This is not a new struggle, as history shows, and one that Jesus also faced with the Pharisees and the Romans.

Belief is a collection of writings from thoughtful men and women throughout the ages (beginning with Plato) who, using their reason, explain the basis for their faith-based belief system. While specifics change, there is a fundamental acknowledgement that all belief (whether in a God or not, and whether in a personally-involved God or not) is a matter of faith; indeed, we must all base our beliefs, in God or not, on faith since we cannot "test outside the box" of the universe, being contained completely within it.

Belief does a credible job dealing with the great question of the First Cause and with mankind's need for a moral fulcrum. The former is a mystery of mysteries, and the latter is surprisingly similar in all belief systems. Indeed, without the latter, we will end up with either one end of extremism (totalitarian Fascism) or the other (totalitarian Communism) - both of which are remarkable similar in effect and both of which are unacceptable.

Ultimately, this collection of writings demonstrates that one can be both a believer in God and also intellectually intact - these two options are not mutually exclusive, despite the false dicotomy often presented by others with a variety of agendas.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeb on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Collins states in the introduction: "The increasingly secular Western world seems to be loosing touch with the long history of intellectual arguments supporting a rational basis for faith." As a student and thinker of history who has read most of the Western classics, I find this book very timely. It is my understanding that every previous effort to drive God and faith out of social beliefs has ended in the downfall of all of those regimes. I have a science degree and was often challenged both externally and with internal questions about the meaning of faith and is there a God. A bit like C. S. Lewis and many others, I have often endeavored to prove in my own mind by extensive study and thought that God may not exist.

This book Belief offers a broad spectrum of essential writings for all to ponder and draw their own conclusions based on "a long history of intellectual arguments supporting a rational basis for faith," rather than the current secular media and political agenda. The book Belief should be required reading in order to receive a high school diploma in the US to help prevent cultural and college brainwashing! Historically, curious intellectual thinking people of faith have prospered and advanced, whereas the secular entertainment oriented perspective has always led to the end of that society and is a detriment to civilization. This book is must reading for all.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on July 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Belief-Francis S. Collins
HarperOne, 2010
312 pages
Essays; Non-fiction; Inspirational

Summary: An anthology exploring faith and visiting the works of many brillaint thinkers including those expected as CS Lewis and St. Augustine as well as the unexpected like Dorothy Sayers.

Thoughts: The book is divided in to different sections with essays relating to a particular theme are grouped together. Originally I was just going to share my favorites but since I loved almost all of them, I decided to go through each and highlight particular thoughts. The first is a selection from NT Wright introducing thoughts on justice and spirituality. I enjoyed it a lot.

The second section is classic essays about faith from such philosophers as Plato, Augustine, and Pascal. I had a lot of trouble reading these because the style is so different from what I'm used to. The nice thing about this book though is that you can skip around and just read however much you want. I struggled through these difficult sections though and I think I learned a lot.

The third section is called "The Meaning of Truth" and this was a very good section, probably my second favorite. OS Guinness has a beautiful selection from his book Time for Truth which has jumped on to my to-read list. Madeleine L'Engle takes a personal approach to truth, sharing many examples from her own life. And Dorothy L Sayers (probably best known for her Lord Peter mysteries) wrote an entertaining essay including a "review" of the book of John and ending with a poem on truth.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on February 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All I can say is this book bolstered my faith so much. Short readings on different topics, ranging from injustice to science, from a variety of authors - some fairly light, some very dense, all showed the beauty and logic of belief in God.
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