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The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Hardcover – September 5, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life has sold more than 25 million copies and been translated into dozens of languages. Until now, its premises have gone largely unchallenged by mainstream Christians. Recovering fundamentalist, member of the Jesus Seminar and former Baptist pastor Price offers the first parody and critique of Warren's bestseller. Following closely the structure of Warren's book, Price divides his book into 40 days. On each day, he criticizes Warren's message for the day-worship, salvation, eternal life, the Bible-and offers his own interpretation of the reasons we live our lives the ways we do. As his title indicates, Price argues that individuals need not be told by an outsider how to find purpose; rather, they can use their own reason to ferret out the meaning of life. Price argues that Warren's view of a personal God conflicts with our morally neutral universe, creating an unhealthy, superstitious approach to life. Warren's God, Price says, is a "Frankenstein Monster, a divine bully, and an obsessive stalker." Although Warren's book is certainly ripe for critique, this one falls short: Price violates three of his own principles (get to the point as quickly as possible, stay on topic and do not grandstand) as he smugly plods through the 40 days of reason.
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About the Author
Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), Professor of Scriptural Studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and The Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?; Deconstructing Jesus; The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts; and Beyond Born Again.
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However, this is not what the book is about; it is a critique of the tenets of modern, Christian fundamentalism. First, the idea that the purpose of everyone's life is to worship the god of the Bible! Next, he breaks down the 'us v. them' mentality by addressing the issue of denominations. To paraphrase Price, everyone wouldn't fit under the same roof anyway. After that, he continues on to the myth of the inerrant Bible. This is where Price makes, in my opinion, his most astute observation: the scriptures have been copied, translated, and come from a culture and era that are far removed from our modern world. Therefore, there's no way to avoid interpretation.
Finally, throughout the book, he discusses the downright wishful thinking that is at the heart of fundamentalism and how it stifles the personal growth and maturity that lead one to wisdom - spiritual or otherwise.
This book is very well suited for someone who has knowledge of Christian fundamentalism but is also open minded to new ideas. It was well suited for me as a skeptic coming out of fundamentalism. If a person does not know much about fundamentalism beforehand, this book won't make nearly as much sense.
There were a few points in the book that dragged, for example his points on group discussions.
Also, there were many topics confined to a single chapter that I think he could write books about! In a way this was almost a negative because many times I was left wanting more information.
I highly recommend this book!