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In this age of political, economic, ideological and religious marketing it is refreshing to come across such intellectual honesty and personal convictions. He is essentially saying that the philosophical edifice of his previous life was based on what he has come to believe is a lie. Unlike many unbelievers, he does not yell or rail against believers or the Church as an institution, not does he seem to have any scores to settle. Instead, his tone is one of sadness and regret, personal remorse and respect for those who keep the faith that sustained him and has millions of others. He understands the allure of religion, particularly it a social setting. It is one thing not to attend a church; it is quite something else to declare one's opposition to religious teachings.
This is not a literary masterpiece but it is a searching tale of how individual thinking, reason and analysis can lead someone to reject the very foundations of his life. Something of this order occurred when the USSR ceased and honest Socialists admitted that their vision of economics, history and human motivations were abysmally wrong. But religion touches the soul in ways that ideology cannot since it concerns not only the here but the hereafter. While for some, politics is simply another religion, to the vast majority there is a distinct difference.
Templeton traces his life as a convert, scholar and preacher. It appears (and I suspect) there was always a seed of doubt that he sought to banish through good deeds, prayer and simply not entertaining the idea that Christianity is an inspiring fraud.Read more ›
Charles Templeton's FAREWELL TO GOD is the best layman's first introduction to the problems of orthodox Christianity I have yet read. The book is divided into forty-six brief and nontechnical chapters, ideal for the average Mortimer or Jacqueline on the street, who can spare no more than a few minutes a day studying something as unimportant as religion. Although Templeton covers many subjects, he places heavy emphasis upon the Bible. This will be informative for the average Christian, who is likely to have only passing familiarity with most of the Good Book, and will no doubt be astounded to discover some of its contents. In his chapters on the Bible, Templeton usually spends a few pages recounting a story from the book, and then comments upon its implausibility or barabarity. The commentaries are, for the most part, quite obvious, but their value for novices should not be underestimated -- tradition has built such an aura of sacred immunity around the Bible, that most people are in desperate need of someone willing to call a spade a spade. It is important to emphasize the introductory nature of the book. Templeton does not by any means come close to offering the last word on anything he discusses. He does not even attempt to interact with standard apologetic responses to the kinds of worries he raises. There are also a handful of errors in Farewell to God, such as the staggering mischaracterization of atheism as the claim to absolute certainty (17), without argument (18), that there is no god, or the glaring self-contradiction in which Templeton denies the Bethlehem birth of Jesus in one chapter (85), and presupposes it in another (96).Read more ›
Believers and non-believers have long endured the most frustrating of catch 22's; it is no easier to prove God exists than to prove that he doesn't. I enjoyed Templeton's approach simply because it incorporates common sense in a diplomatic and eloquent vein. Templeton is not attempting to slander any particular faith or to cater to biblical intellects nor does he seem to associate his views with those of a die hard atheist. He, instead, manages to engage his readers in a logical discussion, a 'thinking out loud' kind of conversation that easily intrigues us. I found his questions to be thought provoking and his facts to be credible. Personally, I am far more interested in the views of a former Fundamentalist turned non-believer than I would be of a current non-believer who remains one. Templeton gives us a back seat view that others cannot as easily provide. He poses observations that both annoy and entertain (ie. was God a racist? why the disparity of two versions of creation in the same book of Genesis?) The author opens his heart to the reader and candidly discusses his own deep, personal faith as a young man and the sometimes lonely journey he undertook to the truth. He seems to regard his personal epiphany as much a disappointment as a triumph. Read this book, regardless of your personal convictions! Give yourself the benefit of a well-honed, logical and entertaining argument before you determine your position. It is well worth the time and effort and Mr. Templeton makes the journey a peaceful one!
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