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The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Hardcover – September 5, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life has sold more than 25 million copies and been translated into dozens of languages. Until now, its premises have gone largely unchallenged by mainstream Christians. Recovering fundamentalist, member of the Jesus Seminar and former Baptist pastor Price offers the first parody and critique of Warren's bestseller. Following closely the structure of Warren's book, Price divides his book into 40 days. On each day, he criticizes Warren's message for the day-worship, salvation, eternal life, the Bible-and offers his own interpretation of the reasons we live our lives the ways we do. As his title indicates, Price argues that individuals need not be told by an outsider how to find purpose; rather, they can use their own reason to ferret out the meaning of life. Price argues that Warren's view of a personal God conflicts with our morally neutral universe, creating an unhealthy, superstitious approach to life. Warren's God, Price says, is a "Frankenstein Monster, a divine bully, and an obsessive stalker." Although Warren's book is certainly ripe for critique, this one falls short: Price violates three of his own principles (get to the point as quickly as possible, stay on topic and do not grandstand) as he smugly plods through the 40 days of reason.
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About the Author

Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), Professor of Scriptural Studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and The Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?; Deconstructing Jesus; The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts; and Beyond Born Again.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591024765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024767
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), professor of scriptural studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and the Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms; The Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind; The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? and many other works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Pilgrim on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Really, It did. When I started reading this book I was teetering on the edge. For years I had followed the beliefs and practices as promoted by Rick Warren...White North American Evangelicalism. After years of obsessive prayer, bible study, and "worship" with shoddy church music, I was burnt out, unhappy, and hungry for something deeper.

Price, in his paradoxically humble yet arrogant, ferocious, and sardonic style, dismantled the edifice that the Evangelical church had tried to build in my mind. While doing so he also introduced me to some of the teachings of the Stoics, Buddhists, reflections from the venerable Eric Hoffer, author of the "True Believer," and Berger and Luckmann's "The social construction of reality."

Rather than a cut and dry polemic then, Price pulled together a wide variety of religious and philosophical literature and traditions, and used them to interpret, criticize, or contrast the evangelical beliefs of Rick Warren. I find this eclectic and literate polemical style to be very interesting and personally rewarding.

What most reviewers have not pointed out is that this book is Price's reflections on and reactions to each of the 40 chapters found in the Purpose Driven Life. Since Rick Warren revisits the same issues and beliefs in different chapters, Price must return to the same number issues, like the nature of mass movements or the nature of God, for example.

This approach may prove too repetitive for some people, but, for me I found it to be almost meditative. After all, meditation is often derived from the repetition of a thought, chant, or breathing pattern.

Every chapter is short, usually a page or two, and can be read in a matter of minutes.
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89 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Gillilan on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very excited to find this book. I'm a real fan of Robert M. Price and deeply enjoyed his Bible Geek podcasts. I had been familiar with his name from the Jesus Seminar and have a copy of his book "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man." For those who don't know, earlier in life Price was a born-again Christian. During his years in seminary, and as a Baptist pastor, he eventually became a nonbeliever. Price occupies a somewhat unique niche in that he continues to support and participate in religion in spite of totally abandoning theism and what seems like most of Christian doctrine.

While his other work focuses on biblical scholarship, this book is very pastoral in nature and mainly attempts to bring forward a more mature life philosophy than that presented by Rick Warren in "The Purpose-Driven Life." My experience so far is that people who have read and reread Warren's book have by now awakened to the fact that they are not Southern Baptist fundamentalists. In my opinion, it is prime time for a book like this, but Price's approach falls short in several ways. It might be a better statement to say that "The Reason-Driven Life" is just too large of a leap for most religious people to make. I suspect this book will be enjoyed mostly by those who are already considering a transition to a fully-natural worldview, but are hesitant. Persons who consider themselves "believers in exile" or "the church alumni association" (terms popularized by Bishop John Shelby Spong) will enjoy this book.

Those who have listened to Price before will recognize his sometimes irreverent humor in the text. This is definitely a book with attitude. The problem is that he is so critical of Warren's philosophy, that a good bit of his text comes off sounding like ad hominem attacks.
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83 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Discerning Reader on October 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thankfully, someone with a brain had the patience to read The Purpose-Driven Life. I guess it moved Bob Price to eloquence, and his respectful response is this collection of thoughts prompted by Rick Warren's mega-seller. It essentially tells us to avoid joining any church remotely like Warren's stadium church/rock concert cults, because these teach that you shouldn't think for yourself; that you should take Bronze-Age myths literally; and that you should bathe yourself in that lifestyle so there'll be no time in your schedule for reflection or to address the cognitive dissonance that will inevitably arise if you have one neuron left in your skull.

There is some wonderful wisdom here, and Price has plenty of experience in teaching the reader about Bible mythology and the illusion of god. The main problem with this book is that some of the forty mini-chapters that make up this book are fairly boring. In each chapter, Price is addressing a topic from the same chapter in Rick Warren's book. So while these less-engaging chapters are useful in a comparative sense, you may find yourself skimming over a few of these entries.

Price is a treasure, and I heartily recommend this humorous answer to evangelical balderdash.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Pharmer on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most compelling books I've ever read.

Dr. Price's approach to philosophy puts facts and reasoned thinking above emotional appeals. The book exudes the presupposition that all areas are open to investigation and that meaning is found through truth, not dogma.

While I have the upmost respect for Rick Warren's work with AIDS and other humanitarian efforts, it is long past time to call "The Purpose Driven Life" what it is: Bad Theology. Fundamentalism so rarely gets refuted in this careful and factual manner.

Dr. Price would be justified to stop there, but rather decides to give the reader an alternative philosophy that requires no false presuppositions. With the rock walls of reason and evidence at his back, he gives his post-post-modernist view of the meaning of life.

I loved this book.
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