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Can a Smart Person Believe in God? Paperback – September 3, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is slightly undermined by some shoddy proof-reading, by a few errors of fact (e.g., Samuel Butler lived in the 19th century, not the 17th), and by the author's narrow focus on Christianity as almost synonymous with religion. Although he acknowledges other faiths, nearly every example of spirituality Dr. Guillen cites is taken from the Bible. His Christian focus is particularly evident in a twenty-question "SQ test" at the end of the book, in which answers consistent with Christian thinking are always scored highest, even when other answers might be equally "spiritual" when judged by alternate traditions.
Still, in the end the book answers its own question most convincingly. Yes, a smart person can believe in God, and need make no apologies for doing so.
For a lengthier and more technical treatment of similar ideas, consider Barr's "Modern Physics and Ancient Faith."
I read this book hoping it would directly and intelligently (after all, it says "smart person" in the title) address some of the questions we all think about and discuss regarding God.
Unfortunately, the author insults smart people with a dumbed-down attempt to help Christians feel better about their belief in God. The author erects tightly defined strawmen that should blow over in a spiritual wind, but even then the author has trouble constructing a coherent argument and widely misses the mark several times. Given his credentials, he must be relatively intelligent, but I have genuine doubt given the material in this book.
Whether you believe in God or not, do not waste your time with this weak offering. It probably sells well at the creation museum, but don't waste your money.
Michael Guillen is an evangelical Christian who accomplished a lot in a field that usually doesn't attract religious believers. He feels this book will straddle these two disparate worlds, but all he's accomplished is demonstrating how out of his depth he is with a work like this. In order to reconcile science and religious belief, Guillen would have done well to learn plenty of philosophy, history of philosophy, history of religion, and history of science. But this book seems to have been put together with a few Google searches and a couple of lookups in an encyclopedia. He missteps left and right in invoking arguments that were abandoned more than a hundred years ago in trying to 'disprove' atheism, while at the same time admitting that most areas of religion cannot be measured scientifically.
His categorization of the different varieties of atheist were at best patronizing and in many cases far worse. While he quotes Robert Ingersoll, it isn't apparent that Guillen ever actually read his work for understanding. He seems unsure how to handle the "practical atheist" who is willing to accept a divinity should one actually manifest. And he saves his greatest contempt for the rock-solid atheist such as Richard Dawkins, labeling them Arrogant Atheists.Read more ›
It isn't at all difficult to understand why this argument finds many enthusiastic takers. One reason is the patently unscientific beliefs and practices that are associated with much of popular religion and the way religion is routinely interpreted to legitimise hatred of people of other faiths and to justify all sorts of horrors, from caste and racial discrimination and gender injustice to terrorism and genocide. This has only made the arguments of the advocates of Scientism--the ideology based on the belief that Science is The Absolute Truth--seem even more compelling for many.
While there is definitely great merit in some scientific critiques of popular religion, many of the claims that advocates of the godless religion of Scientism make go just too far. It is one thing to expose some forms of conventional religiousness as `unscientific' and false, but quite another to claim, as advocates of Scientism do, that Science has proved God to be unscientific, or, in other words, that it has shown God to be a myth. The fact that many forms of religion are definitely unscientific, superstitious and immoral and are most certainly the product of human minds does not necessarily mean that God, too, is a human construct, and that belief in God is unscientific, superstitious and immoral, too.
This point, however, is lost on many people, who fail to make the crucial distinction between religion, as popularly understood and practised, on the one hand, and God, on the other.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book which presents some of Michael Guillen's life story as a basis for his assertion that a smart person can believe in God.Published 15 days ago by Ken
Excellent book. This author cuts to the heart of the issue.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
The best way I can describe this book is pornography intended only for those who are either already Christians or are predisposed to believe in God. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Oliver Eldridge
I found Michael's analysis and approach refreshing. God is bigger than any Scientist and looking at the IQ SQ (Spiritual Quotient) as a means to assess each of us as individuals... Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by Olivia
I found this book had an interesting take and perspective and I am glad I read it. I too have found that when you genuinely try to talk to Atheists about God, most of them... Read morePublished on August 31, 2013 by J.C,
I like Michael's focus on the great outcomes of living a spiritual life.
I would like to see him follow up with more scientific evidence that coincides with the
Biblical... Read more
All the page numbers refer to the hardcover edition of this book. Not sure if it is the same as the soft cover or not. Read morePublished on January 23, 2013 by Andrew