- Paperback: 294 pages
- Publisher: Imprint Academic (August 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845400917
- ISBN-13: 978-1845400910
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,700,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Analogy of Love: Divine and Human Love at the Center of Christian Theology Paperback – August 1, 2007
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Top customer reviews
Several weeks have passed since I finished a close reading of _The Analogy of Love_ by Gary Chartier. When I came across it accidentally, I was hopeful that Chartier would attempt to answer specific religious and philosophical questions that I’ve been struggling with for years. I had not been able to find satisfying treatments of, what seemed to me to be, fundamental problems with normative Christian thought. Is it possible to have an experience of God that is more than purely subjective? What evidence is there that “God is love”? If Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was a pivotal moment in history, why has nothing in our reality changed? and so on.
Chartier’s treatment of these type of questions, and his conclusions, would spark a lot of debate at the church picnic. His take on atonement, sin, creaturely freedom, universal salvation, and other topics are not immediately recognizable as consistent with normative Christian doctrine, but I believe he is on to something. His use of logic, formal argument, and giving a fair hearing to opposing views gives his conclusions an authority and credibility that I have found lacking in most of what I have read of Christian theology. He acknowledges that much of that theology is aimed toward explaining the internal logic of it. But what sincerely doubting people often need, and can’t readily find, is a fair treatment of the external logic of Christianity, which _Analogy_ does. Since reading _The Analogy of Love_, I’ve found more work in this vein, and with the same integrity as _Analogy_, so in that sense, I see this book as an introduction to a higher level of argument than I have found in most bookstores, even religious bookstores.
I’m not qualified to judge this book on its academic merits, so I’ll judge it on the effect it has had on me so far.
It was not an easy read. The book took me a relatively long time, but I’m glad I read it so closely. I’m a better reader and thinker for having read it, and I understand more now about useful methods for seeking answers to difficult questions. I have become more settled about some persistent, personally relevant questions about God’s nature, my nature, creation, and other topics. I don’t believe I can arrive at any “truth” here, but I now know that I can work toward a satisfying, reasoned, and reasonable set of beliefs. This is practical--and critically important to me.
I believe this book has been the catalyst for a significant shift in my skill and ability to reason, and in my understanding of Christianity.
Chartier sets the tone for the book in the preface by acknowledging the importance of deeply understanding one’s convictions, and by, early on, admitting to relying, at times, on assertion, though he tries to use logic and argument as much as possible. Right there I was hooked, and highly motivated to give the book my full attention.
I gave the book four stars to acknowledge that my non-academic perspective on it may make this a less-than-rigorous review. Judging it solely on its effect on me, I would have, without hesitation, given it five stars.