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Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith Hardcover – March 2, 2010
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“BELIEF is more than an anthology; it is a provocation, a brilliant, wide ranging and powerful series of readings on the possibilities, problems and mysteries of faith. This book belongs on the shelf of every believer – and every serious skeptic.” (Rabbi David Wolpe, author of WHY FAITH MATTERS)
“This life-giving, faith-filled and hard-nosed collection reveals why, as St. Anselm wrote, true faith always seeks to understand.” (Rev. James Martin, SJ, author of My Life With the Saints)
“Because I teach in the area of faith and reason I have a shelf full of anthologies, and I have to say that this is the most varied and interesting of them all.” (Nancy Murphy, co-author of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? and Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary)
“As I read through the chapters, I felt I was at a banquet table with old friends. What a feast Francis Collins has served!” (Philip Yancy, author of What's So Amazing About Grace)
A wonderful expose on the different arguments for religious and spiritual beliefs. These readings are critical for our understanding of religion and will be essential for fostering greater dialogue about the nature of religion in the future. An important read for anyone interested in the study of religion and spirituality. (Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of Why God Won't Go Away)
“Francis S. Collins—a foremost geneticist and author of the bestselling The Language of God—has compiled a rich array of readings in his new book.” (America Magazine)
“Any seeking clarity on the debate between reason and faith will find this an engrossing collection.” (The Bookwatch)
From the Back Cover
"Is there a God?" is the most central and profound question that humans ask. With the New Atheists gaining a loud voice in today's world, it is time to revisit the long-standing intellectual tradition on the side of faith. Francis Collins, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of God and renowned physician and geneticist, defends the reason for faith in this provocative collection. Collins is our guide as he takes us through the writings of many of the world's greatest thinkers -- philosophers, preachers, poets, scientists -- both past and present, including such luminaries as C. S. Lewis and Augustine, and unexpected voices such as John Locke and Dorothy Sayers. Despite the doubts of a cynical world, this essential companion proves once and for all the rationality of faith.
"In the twenty-first century, many seem to have concluded that the spiritual experience and the life of the mind ought to occupy separate domains, and that disruptions, conflicts, and disenchantments will result if the firewall comes down. Surely humanity's ongoing search for truth is not enriched by such limitations. In the words of Socrates, the key to a fully mature and richly rewarding life, both for us as individuals and as a society, is to ‘follow the argument wherever it leads,' unafraid of the consequences. If this collection of essays provides even a small encouragement in this direction for the seeker, the believer, or the skeptic, that will be gratifying indeed." -- from the Introduction
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Belief is a collection of writings from thoughtful men and women throughout the ages (beginning with Plato) who, using their reason, explain the basis for their faith-based belief system. While specifics change, there is a fundamental acknowledgement that all belief (whether in a God or not, and whether in a personally-involved God or not) is a matter of faith; indeed, we must all base our beliefs, in God or not, on faith since we cannot "test outside the box" of the universe, being contained completely within it.
Belief does a credible job dealing with the great question of the First Cause and with mankind's need for a moral fulcrum. The former is a mystery of mysteries, and the latter is surprisingly similar in all belief systems. Indeed, without the latter, we will end up with either one end of extremism (totalitarian Fascism) or the other (totalitarian Communism) - both of which are remarkable similar in effect and both of which are unacceptable.
Ultimately, this collection of writings demonstrates that one can be both a believer in God and also intellectually intact - these two options are not mutually exclusive, despite the false dicotomy often presented by others with a variety of agendas. I am glad to see a thoughtful response to this too-often tirade against "religion" as the "opium of the people." Belief demonstrates that having faith that "God is" just as intellectually legitimate and defensible as having faith that "God is not" and that, if thoughtfully and morally applied, can be personally rewarding.
Most recent customer reviews
The chapter by the Dali Lama is superb!