- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (October 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0232511616
- ISBN-13: 978-0232511611
- Package Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,008,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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God and Man Hardcover – October, 1971
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A penetrating discussion between "The Atheist and the Archbishop" - Anthony Bloom's famous television discussion with Marghanita Laski - on the essence of Christian faith and life opens this book of five selections. Summarizing the Christian life in terms of worship, joy, and the challenge to grow into a full stature, Metropolitan Anthony calls for a worshipful attitude to life.
In other essays on "Doubt and the Christian Life," "Man and God," and "Holiness and Prayer," he seeks to reveal the true nature of man by looking to Christ, the true man and true God. Man, he states, becomes truly human only when he is united with God, infinitely, deeply, inseparably, so that the fullness of God abides in the flesh. Thus, in terms of holiness, all holiness is God's holiness in us; it is the expression of love - the response of the love given by God to His Church.
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The late Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (who died in 2003) was head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in Great Britain and Ireland, where he was considerably better known to the public than in the United States. This is to the loss of Christian churches in the United States, for when Metropolitan Anthony explains the concepts of religious faith, it is with plausibility and grace almost wholly lacking in the literature explaining and defending the Christian faith that is lately on tap in the U.S. His essays are entirely free of the usual threats, remonstrations, and blandishments; and he makes it a point to describe his faith in a intelligent way addressed to Orthodox and non-Orthodox (and non-believers) alike.
As alluded to before, the first chapter, "The Atheist and the Archbishop", a transcript of two discussions televised by the BBC in July 1970, is a model of clarity, intelligence, and civility by both discussants. If only current public dust-ups between Christians and atheists were half so fine! Here, the then-Archbishop (he attained the office of Metropolitan later) discusses religious faith with the late Marghanita Laski, a then-prominent British journalist and novelist (who died in 1988).
The Metropolitan explains that his faith is not mere credulity, but is based on a transforming experience of God--in this case, one he experienced in his teens. In response to remarks by Marghanita Laski, he freely allows that not everyone has been so fortunate (as he sees it) as to undergo such an experience. The Metropolitan also explains his mystical experience in terms of knowledge, not simply sensation or emotion. To use the phrase employed by my old philosophy professor, it is 'veridical' and not illusory in nature.
Laski makes the important point that such experiences by their nature cannot be completely understood by those who have not undergone them, and that if they cannot necessarily be considered illusory, nor can they be considered significant or persuasive to anyone other than the person experiencing them. The Archbishop readily acknowledges this.
Although there is no final resolution to the discussion, the two participants evince both respect and understanding for each other's views while not necessarily accepting them. This mark of an intellectualy and mentally mature human being seems more common in Britain than in the U.S., especially these days.
Subsequent chapters consist mostly of talks given by the Metropolitan at Birmingham University in 1970. The topics covered are "Doubt and the Christian Life" (more fruitful reading for Christians and non-Christians), "Man and God", "Holiness and Prayer" (a talk given at Louvain in Belgium in 1969, and the longest chapter at about eighty-five pages), and "John the Baptist".
While skeptics and infidels may not find themselves bowled over by the book (which is manifestly not Metropolitan Anthony's intention), they and others will find a discussion of religion that is intelligent but not abtruse, and passionate without being overenthusiastic. Reviewing Mohandas K. Gandhi's "Autobiography" generations ago now, George Orwell noted that the book left him with a good impression of the author (something he did not have before), and concluded his review with: "How clean a smell he managed to leave behind him!" Both of these things can be said of this book and its author.