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God: The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World Paperback – March 30, 1999

3.5 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Glynn (Inst. for Communitarian Policy Studies, George Washington Univ.; Closing Pandora's Box, LJ 5/15/92) considers the recent trend away from the atheism that tends to characterize most scientists (as revealed by surveys) to what he calls a post-secularist perspective, an openness to the role of the divine. In clear, crisp prose, he examines the work of physicists who again see purpose in the design of the universe (the anthropic principle), the role of religion in the work of some contemporary psychologists (most notably M. Scott Peck), the relation between religious faith and bodily health, and out-of-body or near-death experiences (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Raymond Moody), and the disastrous effects of value-free sociology. Writing from a Christian perspective, Glynn provides an excellent summary of the current status of the relationship between religion and science that will appeal to a variety of readers. Recommended for all collections. [For more on the relation between religion and science, see Connie Barlow's Green Space, Green Time, reviewed on p. 110, and Marcelo Gleiser's The Dancing Universe, reviewed on p. 111.?Ed.]?Augustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Newark Abbey, N.J.
-?Augustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Newark Abbey, N.J.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

An unconvincing attempt to prove the existence of God in a postmodern culture. It's always refreshing when intellectuals admit their mistakes, and to hear this Harvard-educated philosopher gracefully concede that his atheism was ``so dead wrong'' is nearly enough to melt a reader's heart. But only nearly, because the journey that brought him to faith is almost impossible to translate as ``evidence'' to prove God's existence to others. Glynn's own watershed moments were based in science and psychology, and he examines recent developments in these fields that he sees as unmistakable proof of a higher being. Contemporary physics, for example, has moved toward a ``triumph of mechanism over teleology'' and shows that the chance of life's appearance in our universe is so slight that if any one of the many factors involved had been a tad different, we wouldn't be here arguing the point today. Fair enough, but it is still a long jump from this apparent randomness to Glynn's conclusion--that life evolved in this manner to make way for God's ultimate creation, humankind. The second part of this book is even more problematic; Glynn employs psychological findings and near-death experiences as evidence for God. He rightly criticizes Freudian psychology for its hostility to religion and then goes on to argue that religious people are more likely to report happier, less traumatic lives than the nonreligious. That may be so, but how does this functionalist exploration of religious faith prove the existence of God? And finally, his insufficiently skeptical chapter on near-death experiences damages the credibility of the whole book. Although there are some intriguing arguments here, Glynn's is an entirely one-sided approach, and the connections between the ``evidence'' and his conclusion require too far a leap of faith. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Prima Publishing (March 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761519645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761519645
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the story of Patrick Glynn's journey from a believer to an agnostic and then back to a believer. From the time of Copernicus to Galileo to Darwin and beyond, science has continuously raised questions about ideas of belief and then answered the questions in a manner that does not require religious belief. Religion has taken a beating more and more at the anvil of science. The problem is that science and religion have always treated each other as being mutually exclusive. You believe in one or the other.
While this book does not prove God exists, it does a very good job of showing that science and religion do not have to be at opposite ends. Science has advanced over the last 25 years to the point where the best explanations for some things are that a guiding hand has been at work. The position that if you believe in science then you cannot believe in God is shown to be untenable. This does not prove that God exists, only that there is no real obstacle standing between science and belief in God. Not an argument for a particular religion or a particular God, it points out that belief in a guiding intellect that pervades the universe is a tenable position and also the position most consistent with the current state of science.
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Format: Hardcover
Patrick Glynn's "God: The Evidence" is a well-written and balanced book overall. It should not bore the reader and its style quite readable and well-tempered (not too academic, lest less technical readers get lost, not too simplified, lest scientists and philosophers lose patience). It really has something for anyone interested in God, science, philosophy, etc.
Ultimately, I think his analysis is correct that unlike the 1970s, where it seemed to many that scientific discoveries precluded the existence of God, today (late 1990s and now early 2000), scientific discoveries tend to be more congenial to God's existence. As a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, I affirm his view that the materialism/mechanism of the 19th century is failing to account for many phenomena. He also had some good points about the prejudice of some scientists, in just simply dismissing Aristotle's notion of final cause, page 54, (its like saying, "I just don't like it"). When one considers much of the evidence regarding the "anthropic principle" in cosmology, it does seem as if the universe is hot-wired for life (no accident). But of course you have to decide for yourself, and Glynn does give many opposing arguments, which is nice.
So should you buy this book to prove something to yourself?
As a teacher of philosophy, I have learned that in order to prove or disprove anything to anyone at least two criteria are necessary:
(1) He/she has an open mind about the issue (no predetermined conclusions, such as some atheists and believers have) (2) There must be a starting point for the knowledge to flow from (if someone is a pure skeptic and the two of you cannot agree on a single thing like "we both know trees exist, right?
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Glynn's easy to read book will allow individuals to gain a sense of openness about questioning the existence of god. While he clearly does not reconcile "Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World" (as purposed by the kicker on the cover), he does provide an excellent overview of five areas that deserve the every man's consideration.
For those of us that have grown up in a world where science proved that god is no longer necessary and therefore dead, Glynn offers words of doubt. However, these words of doubt are now attacking the hypothesis that science could ever hope to prove that there is no creator.
Glynn starts the book with the most compelling of the five areas: A Not So Random Universe. While some will fault his casual handling of the anthropic principle, with no clear background on strong or weak anthropic rationales, he does do an adequate job of describing the difficult underpinnings of physics in today's world. Particularly powerful is his crisp description of Hawkings, et al, who tries to hang onto a godless universe by creating theorems that might continue to lock out the concept of an intelligent creator. Unfortunately, these desperate theorists place faith in concepts that can not be proven.
The other areas of the book start to probe on softer areas, but these areas are still worth examining. However, most of these areas are soft not because of Glynn's poor treatment of these areas, but because much of science behind near death experience and/or psychology has been weak.
While Glynn does close with an appeal to live a life with deistic driven principles, he does leave a void. If there is a god, why can't you call him on a telephone? Why is the act of faith necessary? Why can't you prove god?
And the problem of evil remains.
So Glynn should have concluded his book, not with a pat encouragemenet to believe in god, but an encouragement to try and find out the answers to these questions.
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Format: Hardcover
Glynn gives us an overview of the emerging scientific evidence of intelligent design in the universe. This book is aimed at intellectuals and those that style themselves as such. Glynn does not try to prove that there is a God, his major point is that there is no longer any compelling reason to believe that science and reason stand in the way of belief in God. Few if any of Glynn's ideas are original, but he provides a highly readable and inspirational synthesis. He says certain things well that it's time for somebody to say well. The sterile, quirky, spiritually dead philosophies that so oppressed me in college require only a gentle shove by Glynn to smash their dry, brittle, bones. Glynn does not provide enough documentation for some, but I have read enough of the background material to know that Glynn has mastered the main thrust. I'm not sure if I buy the near-death material, and Glynn has left out important new evidence in micro-biology that would buttress his case, but in the main, BRAVO! This book will no doubt come under intense attack by the last of the "science is all" high priests, as the fading flame of their power and influence flickers out.
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