Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2010
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. I am glad to see a thoughtful response to this too-often tirade against "religion" as the "opium of the people." Belief demonstrates that having faith that "God is" just as intellectually legitimate and defensible as having faith that "God is not" and that, if thoughtfully and morally applied, can be personally rewarding.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 31, 2010
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.

Then there is "Loving God With All Your Mind" goes back to the Scripture: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" -Matthew 22:37 and stresses the last which has a tendency to be overlooked.

Next "Faith and the Problem of Evil and Suffering," which was probably my favorite section and the one that hit me the most. Art Lindsley, Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel wrote so clearly and made so much sense to me. I don't want to blather about it but it was good.

"Faith and the Cry of Justice" was also a good section as it shows the ways in which the church has failed to respond to injustice but also how it has fought for it.

"The Harmony of Science and Faith" was an important section for me. It features two selections from two physicians who have wrestled with the intersection of science and faith. My college Christian community has struggled with spreading the Word because of the presumed gap between science and faith expressed by many college students.

"Miracles, Longing, and Mysticism" features CS Lewis among others, making this a fabulous section. Lewis's essay is about miracles and our perceptions around such. Alister McGrath incorporated excerpts from stories about two of my favorite detectives and Thomas Merton shared briefly about mysticism.

Then we have "Love and Forgiveness as Pointers to God" with selections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was killed by the Nazis and Viktor Frankl who survived four Nazi concentration camps inspiring me with their deep insights. Mother Teresa also has several writings that convict me of selfishness to finish out the chapter.

"Voices from the East" has selections from Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, offering different perspectives on faith informed by their experiences in the East rather than the Western mindset of most of the other contributors.

The last section is titled "The Irrationality of Atheism" and was one I was particularly intrigued by. But I interpreted the title differently. I was hoping for more of an apologetic approach while they showed logical inconsistencies and flaws in the atheistic approaches.

Overall: I'm feeling pretty good about this so I'm going to say 5/5.

Cover: I was attracted by the simple orange spine peeking out at me on the shelves. I'm not entirely sure why orange but it is an unconventional choice.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2011
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2010
Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith provides readings selected by Francis Collins, author of THE LANGUAGE OF GOD. It examines the nature and possibilities of faith and belief, gathering under one cover essays that examine faith from an intellectual perspective. Any seeking clarity on the debate between reason and faith will find this an engrossing collection.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2010
Let me begin by saying that I appreciate very much Dr. Collins being willing to put his expertise as well as his reputation and worldview on the line. I only wish more top rate thinkers in various fields would have the boldness to come right out and state why they are Christians. The divide between the secular and the sacred is still very deep and the privatization of faith for many highly respected thinkers in our country needs to change. So for this, I thank Dr. Collins. In his prior book (The Language of God) I cannot say that I was a huge fan although I did appreciate what he was trying to do. I do not have any problems with God using natural processes to shape and develop life over time if that is what the evidence supports, so Dr. Collin's position on biological evolution do not trouble me. What did trouble me was his fear of putting too much (if any) evidence out there from the arena of science for fear that it might become over-turned someday and then our faith gets another black eye. I do not understand why this is such a fearful thing. Every field of study in the world goes through the process of making claims based on evidences only to be challenged by new facts again. This does not keep anyone from positing propositions on the basis of the evidence that they do have at the time. When it comes to the complexity of the cellular world and the complexity of biological information, etc...I do not see why we cannot simply assert that undirected natural causes do not seem to be able to produce the levels of complexity that have been discovered and to use those fields of science as evidences for an Intelligent Source. This does not negate the possibility that this Intelligence (ie. God) chose to use evolutionary processes if that is what the evidence shows, but let's put our position on the line according to the most reasonable scientific evidence we have and let us not continue to fear what future evidence might hold. This does nothing but make us irrelevant when it comes to making the claim that "All trust is God's truth." If we believe that, and I believe Dr. Collins probably does, then let us put some cards on the table then.

As for his new book Belief, it's a bit of a double edged sword for me. On one side, I love the breadth of opinion the wide ranging worldviews that are brought in to the discussion. I for one do not like to simply read people who hold my own position. Some of the most profound ideas and thoughts I have had about God and faith have come from people outside my own tradition. For example, I am not a Roman Catholic, but one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time is Archbishop Fulton Sheen (particularly his works called Peace of Soul and Lift Up Your Heart.) This being said, I also think that the latitude of traditions that are brought into the discussion are much too expansive. I realize that "faith" is a generalized term and does not mean a specific "faith", but knowing Collin's background and his intent for the justification of Christian faith in particular, a few of the contributors seemed to not advance his case as strongly as possibly some other contributors could have. Possibly even bringing in another top rate scientist would have been a great idea (ie. John Lennox, etc...) But having someone like Elie Wiesel (whom I highly respect) certainly did not advance the worldview ball very far in my opinion. If anything, it seemed like I was going over a couple speed bumps and had to slow down before I could get going again. Without belaboring this brief review, I enjoyed the book very much and only felt a few places could have been done differently. But I fall back on what I said before, I admire and respect a man like Dr. Collins for putting it all on the line and letting his name and reputation advance his worldview. Well done professor...
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
There are critics who have pointed out that many of the essays quoted in this book can be found elsewhere. While that may be true, this collection will give cause to look for more writings by the authors of these. I gave it as a gift to several friends. I read it in small bites.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
After reading Collins for the first time (Language of God) I was really excited to read more. Although I knew the majority of this book was not Collins I was interested to see how he got encouragement. I thought most of this book was worth reading, some very old (Plato) and difficult to read(at least for me). This is a good book to get a good look at the history of scholarly believers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2014
While a must admit that I have not studied in depth all the authors who have contributed to the book, I know that it is an excellent source of information to help me to defend my faith against atheistic friends who reject my beliefs.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2014
A tremendous amount of meaty material here to ponder. A nice sampling of a broad swath of literature regarding the existence of God.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.