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Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions About God, Science, and Belief Paperback – January 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Despite the complexity of some of the scientific issues discussed, Questions of Truth is a commendably clear read.' --The Financial Times, February 2009

Standing on the rational bedrock of faith as the 'evidence of things not seen,' Polkinghorne and Beale provide richly nuanced responses to the questions that many seekers are asking. This is simply a fantastic resource.' --Francis Collins, author of The Language of God and former Director of the Human Genome Project

'Wonderfully accessible, informative and authoritative…An ideal starting point for those new to the field, a great stimulus to discussion for those who are already initiated.' --Alister E McGrath, Professor of Theology, King s College, London

About the Author

John Polkinghorneis one of the world's leading experts on Science and Religion. A world-class physics Professor at Cambridge who became a priest, Founding President of the ISSR and winner of the Templeton Prize, Polkinghorne's publications include Exploring Reality, Quantum Physics and Theology, Quarks, Chaos and Christianity, Science and the Trinity, Living with Hope, and Belief in God in an Age of Science.

Nicholas Beale is a strategist and social philosopher and a longtime collaborator of John Polkinghorne. He is author of Constructive Engagementand coauthor, with Colin Howson, of Sense and Nonsense about God and Science.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664233511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664233518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By rowley32256 VINE VOICE on July 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Polkinghorne is a unique individual; an accomplished particle physicist, he decided to change careers about 30 years ago to become a minister of the Anglican church. A Templeton prize winner, his writing style is lucid and accessible. Questions of Truth is a departure from classics such as Exploring Reality and The Faith of a Physicist in that it is a collaboration between Polkinghorne and his associate Nicholas Beale, who helps with the deluge of e-mail that Polkinghorne receives.

This book, while quite short, covers a great deal of ground and effectively signposts the reader to other books by Polkinghorne that deal with specific subjects in greater depth. (page 81) "Every so often in the history of the universe something intrinsically new emerges from within the deep potentiality with which creation has been endowed. This happened with the coming-to-be of life and again with the dawning of animal consciousness. I believe it also happened in the genus Homo with the emergence of human self-consciousness." (page 68) "At some point in hominid evolution, self-consciousness - a deep self-awareness and the power to project our thought far into the future - dawned on our ancestors. At the same time, I believe that a new form of God-consciousness also dawned for them. The fall was the process by which they turned away from God into the self, an error of which we are all the heirs." I am an avid fan of Polkinghorne; he understands the flaws in the quasi-scientific arguments often advanced against faith, but even when he is dealing with crass abuse of logic or science he always tempers his great wisdom with humility and congeniality.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
and refuses to read. Too often, the media tries to create a polarized conflict between of religion and science. Thus, scientists like Polkinhorne are 'inconvenient truths' - a man with solid scientific credentials, yet devoutly religious (Polkinghorne is an ordained Anglican minister and in no way a "Bishop Spong"). The other author, I was not as familiar with, but runs the 'star course' website- a site devoted to learning about the relation between science and religon.

This book is a great q@a of many "typical" questions such as:
1. Leading Questions 5
1. Science and Religion 5
2. Human Nature 9
3. The Existence of God 11
4. Creation and Evolution 15
5. Evil and Suffering 16
6. Divine Action 17
7. Jesus Christ 20
8. Final Destiny 22
9. Atheism 25
2. The Concept and Existence of God 27
10. Can God's Existence Be Proved? 27
11. Is God a Delusion? 28
12. How Can God Inhabit Eternity? 32
13. Does God Know Everything? 33
14. Is Everything Divinely Predestined? 35
15. Is God the Source of All Morality? 36
16. What about the Trinity?
..................................
Will atheists be converted? Will Creationists give up the 'false God' of creationism? Probably not, but this is refreshing nuanced DISCUSSION which is so absent from the media. Personally, it (and Polkinhorne's other works) have helped me understand how science and religion are not only not in conflict, but in many ways, in harmony and when both studied correctly enhance our understanding of the universe and human condition.

I think its a great 'jumping off point' for questions that probably people who believe in God, and might even raise enough 'doubt' in atheists that they could a least consider the possibility of God.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By D. G. Frank on March 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was also at the AAAS launch of this book, and purchased my own (autographed) copy. It was also a pleasure to meet and speak in person with the authors in the exposition booth. When I asked a question during the formal launch session, Dr. Polkinghorne gave an insightful answer. What a great way to launch a book. Kudos!
Regarding the content, I have found many of the ideas and opinions to be stimulating and insightful, and the prose lucid. It is clear that that the authors have subjected each chapter to multiple editing passes, the product being concise prose and clear metaphors. And in a book like this, I find that it is less important whether or not one agrees with the author(s), and more important that the ideas and rationale are clearly stated.
I admit that I was a bit disappointed by the discussion of Intelligent Design. The authors seem to have accepted and reiterated the caricature promoted by its critics. The other sections seem to reflect more time in original thought.
On the whole, for a scientist and Christian in the middle of my life journey, it is a pleasure for me to consider the careful opinions and conclusions of individuals who have tread so much of the ground I enjoy trekking.
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Format: Paperback
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." -- John 4:24

If you are like me, it's often frustrating to read what pastors have to say about science because they may not know much about science. The potshots that atheists take at Christianity are often based at least in part on scientific-seeming comments. Wouldn't it be nice to read what a scientist has to say about science and Christianity?

Questions of Truth takes you to the doorway through which you can begin to learn about how science and Christianity stack up, side-by-side. John Polkinghorne is a former professor of physics who often writes about Christianity and science. Nicholas Beale is a management consultant who speaks eloquently in defense of Christianity. Both write from a faith-based perspective that will seem familiar to many Christians.

The book opens with about 100 pages of questions and brief answers. In a few cases, the answers are elaborated on in appendices concerning the extreme delicacy of the universe that allows for us to live, the mind and the brain, and evolution. All sections of the book generously refer to more detailed arguments in other sources through commentaries, footnotes, and a bibliography. In many cases, you won't find what you are really looking for until you get into those more detailed treatments.

This book, rather, mimics the Web site that Nicholas Beale maintains to publicize John Polkinghorne's views about Christianity. As such, it's brief and to the point: That the book's strength.

The authors separate respond to each question so you get at least two perspectives in each case. Here are a few of the key points that the book makes:

1. Science is about "how" things work and Christianity is about "why" they work.
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