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The Faith of a Physicist (Theology & the Sciences Series) Paperback – February 1, 1996
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I am wondering if this isn't maybe a textbook that they use for classes at University or something? And graduate classes at that. That would maybe explain the overly difficult, almost punishment-like writing style of this book. I have heard the phrase "not a light read" used before, but in the case of this tome, I think it would be more like "a difficult read even for PhDs in philosophy or theosophy - for anyone else, fuhgedaboutit!"
It was interesting to me, particularly in the parts that dealt with epistemology and science, but it is probably a bit too dense both in style and substance for the casual reader. The reader needs some background in philosophy, theology, and science (esp. physics) before reading this book. (If, for instance, you've never heard of Alfred North Whitehead, the Q source in NT scholarship, or quarks, I'd wager this book is not for you.) It took me a while to get through.
Also, Polkinghorne does not have a high view of the Bible (e.g., he accepts the conclusions of modernism that the gospels are an admixture of truth and fiction), so don't buy this book expecting a theologically conservative take on things.
This book is *not* easy reading for those not used to reading books on theology; the "queen of the sciences" has its own terminology that often went right over my head. But I quickly found it easy going with a a good dictionary by my side!
While I admire much about this book I must say that ultimately it failed (in a big way) to change my basic opinion about Christianity. But not about the idea of a Creator/God in general. In fact the more I study cosmology (my training is in astronomy and mathematics) the more there does appear to be some grand purpose (I hesitate to use the word design because of the ID movement has made it a loaded word in such discussions). I can see some merit in the notion of "theistic evolution."
The reason I say this book failed is simply because I see no way to get "from here to there" where the "here" is the notion of a Creator and the "there" being Christianity. In fact quite the opposite - Christianity, while having some commendable aspects, looks even more silly as a view of reality as I find myself increasing able to embrace the idea of a Creator.
Note this book is prepared from the Gifford Lectures given in he early '93. As a stunning comparison, you should also get the Gifford-Lectures-as-a-book by Carl Sagan (published ater his death by his wife. It is titled "The Varieties of Scientific Experience") He gave the Gifford Lectures in '86 and simply demolishes (though before) almost all of the arguments given by Polkinghorne. We miss you Carl.