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The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism
The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism
Price: $11.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable survey, September 11, 2014
A very informative, mostly fair-minded, enjoyable read. First time I've read about some of these famous atheists. Great to read about their ideas within their historical and cultural contexts. Becomes a bit unnecessarily derogatory of Christians at the end but, overall, a good overview. I can't assess the historical accuracy of the information. But author comes across as very knowledgable and credible. Definitely worth a read.


All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
Price: $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A moving memoir, August 22, 2014
I read Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel some years ago and really appreciated it. I didn't know much about his life other than the hints he revealed in that book. After reading this memoir, it is easy to see why grace is so important to Manning - and why every human is a ragamuffin in need of grace. So I appreciated Manning's honesty and the confessional tone of the book. But, for me, there was something missing - there didn't seem to be the depth that I'd expect from someone reflecting on such an incredible life of grace. Maybe I was expecting too much. Manning is now obviously very dependent on assistance from a carer and I was saddened to hear of his Wernickes disease as a result of his alcoholism. Whatever the deficiencies, this is a moving book from a man who truly lived and breathed grace.


Dammit, I Learned a Lot from That Son-of-a-Gun (The Dammit Book Series 1)
Dammit, I Learned a Lot from That Son-of-a-Gun (The Dammit Book Series 1)
Price: $8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting short stories, August 12, 2014
I'm not a great lover of books of short stories and didn't read all the stories in the book. But I did dip here and there and enjoyed the few I read. I particularly like the story entitled THE OFFER by Douglas Gwilym.


The Adam Quest: Eleven Scientists Who Held on to a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins
The Adam Quest: Eleven Scientists Who Held on to a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins
Offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most constructive books on the topic, August 9, 2014
One of the most helpful and engaging books I have read on the debate between young earth creationism (YEC), intelligent design (ID), and evolutionary creationism (EC) I have read. The author has interviewed eleven scientists and allowed their perspectives to stand as they are. The interviews are presented in the order from YEC -> ID -> EC. Each view is presented respectfully and intelligently. It is fascinating to hear how these scientists have arrived at their perspectives and the humility they convey about what they believe and know. The author, Tim Stafford, concludes the book by sharing his own position and, in the process, describing the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective. The book includes a comprehensive index making it even more useful. The writing is engaging, clear, courteous and thoroughly constructive. I highly recommend it every Christian, of whatever persuasion on the issue, and anyone else interested in the contemporary debates raging within evangelical Christianity (in particular) on creationism/evolution.


Fractured Angel
Fractured Angel
Price: $2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too good to feel authentic, August 1, 2014
This review is from: Fractured Angel (Kindle Edition)
I need to say up front that I only read 15% of this book - so it's not possible for me to say anything about the whole thing. I really wanted to like this one. As you will see from the book description, the premise looks great, it's an important contemporary issue, and the author has personal experience with the issue of homelessness. But after reading the first few chapters I felt very irritated by the writing style. It felt like the author had an agenda - and needed to convince me of what really goes on with the homeless. Now, there's nothing wrong with that agenda. It's just that a good novel shouldn't make me constantly aware of the agenda. Oblique persuasion is always better. The use of language is almost too sophisticated and ingenious for such a raw topic. And things are sometimes explained when the reader should be left to work that out from the story (for example, the daughter hears voices and we're told, parenthetically, that these are a symptom of her illness - really!?). In my opinion, the narrative would have been better told in the first person from the perspective of the mother as she enters into this completely foreign world. As a reader, I should experience, the confusion, disorientation, confrontational nature of cultural shock. Instead, the narrator has a "god's eye view" of everything going on. I'm afraid, it just didn't work for me.


The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
by Carl Sagan
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from $7.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Remedy for irrational thinking, July 31, 2014
There is no doubt that Carl Sagan knew what he was talking about (sadly, he is no longer with us). And what he shares with us about the gullibility of humanity is pretty depressing. This catalog of nonsense that humans have believed (and still believe, in many cases) makes one wonder why we trust our capacity to think well. And, of course, because we know that we tend to think poorly, we have developed principles of critical thinking to compensate for that tendency. And science, which is firmly grounded in principles of careful, critical thinking. Sagan ruthlessly debunks all of these bizarre beliefs, repeatedly illustrating in clear, eloquent language what it means to think carefully about these and other issues in everyday life and society. He also surveys various tools for evaluating the legitimacy of ideas and beliefs.

I do have a couple of minor criticism of the book. I did get a bit tired, after about 3/4 of the book of the constant rehearsal of some issues. I understand that the chapters of the book are actually essays Sagan wrote (some with his wife). It may be possible to enjoy this book by dipping into chapters at random rather than reading straight through from cover to cover. Am I was really irritated by his capitalisation of the word Nature - as if it was being constructed as an intelligent entity worth worshiping in some new-agey way. I'm not saying that is what Sagan intended. But it didn't come across as consistent with his generally rational approach.

THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD is a good read. The biggest problem, of course, is that those who most need to read it probably won't. But at least the rest of us can arm ourselves with good thinking skills to protect ourselves from the nonsense so often foisted upon us - and to help us scrutinise our own beliefs before we base our decisions about life on them.


Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense
Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense

5.0 out of 5 stars Like standing in a thunderstorm!, July 14, 2014
You’ve heard of something being a breath of fresh air. Well... this book is like standing in the middle of a thunderstorm, wind trying to push you over, rain slamming into your face. It’s stunning. The author, Francis Spufford, pulls no punches and rips through the bulls*** that often attends the debates around the Christianity/atheist divide. I love the fact that the author is raw and earthy, using language that’s right on the edge of decency to get his point across. Spufford does not, of course, use coarse language all the time. That would just make the language bland and superficial. Even when he is using ‘normal’ language, his descriptions, turns of phrases, alternative perspectives, analogies, metaphors are surprising, refreshing, and often confronting. This book is not for the fluffy, rigid, fundamentalist - Christian or atheist. It’s for those who are fed up with the run-of-the-mill, intellectualised, defensive, avoiding, unrealistic, detached-from-reality inanity that plagues debates around religion. I loved it and am now cleaning up after the brain-cleansing storm!


Exodus 2022
Exodus 2022
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner with substance, July 11, 2014
This review is from: Exodus 2022 (Kindle Edition)
Really enjoyed this intriguing eco, sci-fi thriller. The premise is original and contemporary and has a substantial message to convey. Lost a touch of its tension during the latter part of the book but, overall, a page-turner. Lots of twists and turns, a great cast of characters, and well plotted. Even if you are not into sci-fi, give this one a go...


The Pattern of Fear
The Pattern of Fear

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, June 11, 2014
What a great read! A real page-turner of political intrigue, conspiracy, drawing on current global tensions with a story that is easy to believe. Superbly paced with short chapters that left me wanting to keep on reading. Drew Chapman has come up with a fascinatingly original plot and an ending that is just right. A remarkable achievement for a debut novel. Hard to imagine how something this good could be repeated, but let's hope that this is the first in a long writing career!


C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and informative, May 30, 2014
An excellent biography of C S Lewis. Brings lots of new insights to a complex man who has contributed so much to society - secular and religious. The best biographies, in my opinion, describe a picture of a person that is nuanced and fearless in presenting some of our "heroes" as genuine, flawed human beings. McGrath has done just this and, as a result, increases the respect we have for someone like Lewis. The book is well written and easy to read. The author tells the story in a way that moves along well and balances a discussion of bigger themes with the detail of Lewis's life. If you've read any of C S Lewis's writings you'll want to read this very comprehensive, respectful, and honest biography.


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