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When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys Paperback – October 21, 2008
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I love this book! It would be great value just for the quality and extent of the scholarship that it offers. However the personal testimonies about the respective journeys of faith of these talented writers give the book a perspective and a dimension that would not be found in most scholarly books. . . . A wonderful book for study groups, personal retreats or family discussions over the dinner table. --Fred C. Plumer, President, The Center for Progressive Christianity
In a slender book rich with large and profound ideas, Hedrick collects 13 essays solicited from scholars in religion (including himself) that answer the broad question of how faith is understood when it conflicts with reason, science, or scholarship. Their answers are remarkably varied, painfully honest, and profoundly respectful of Christian tradition and newer truths alike. --Graham Christian - Library Journal
The great thing about this book is that it is not trying to convert you to anything. Here you'll find a group of scholars letting us in on some of their most precious and private convictions. . . . This book could lead to a dangerous epidemic of honesty among religious thinkers: It is saying to us, From where I now stand, this is what I see. What's the view like where you are? --Richard Holloway, Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church retired
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Then if that weren't enough, modern science has developed an understanding of energy, matter, the universe and living cells to plainly show that biblical portrayals of a personal God reigning over a three tiered universe simply gets no further than the metaphorical stage. So what's a person to do after investing ones life in the Christian faith and developing a circle of friends centered around a church community? Well, for me it means that it's time to change my concept of God and understanding of who Jesus was to fit the new realities.
Biblical scholars are in a similar position. After a lifetime of academic study they are so far removed from the beliefs of the common church member that they often need to keep their understandings of biblical history to themselves, or lose their jobs -- if their salaries are paid by churches that hold to conservative beliefs.
I was attracted to this book because its contents are written by thirteen different bible scholars who have been invited to describe their personal faith journeys through a life time of academic study. This book contains their essays in which they lay it all on the line, and say what they really believe.
The problem with this book is that it's written by a bunch of professors, apparently, for other groups of professors. What these guys haven't learned, is that the average reader out there does not have a master's degree in doctrinal thesis or anything else for that matter. Once again, we have a book in which the writers try to impress the reader by showing off how many eight sylable words (not an exaggeration) they can use. Or, how many obscure and absolutely unheard of words can be used in place of more commonly known phrases. I read A LOT! Having said that, within six pages of this book I found no less than seven words I had to look up in a dictionary to find out what they meant!
There are a couple of the writers who do speak plainly, but they are in the minority in this book. Some of the stories are absolutely unreadible because you just can't figure out what the blazes the person is trying to say - it's more like they're explaining quantum physics than anything else.
There needs to be a seriously well done book written on this subject, but regrettably, this isn't it.
On the other hand, I thought most of their arguments were pretty convincing. This left me uneasy. If they're presenting the next step in the faith journey of a progressive Christian, I'm not sure I want to go there.
I haven't engaged as much with a book in a long time. It's worth reading just because it makes you think about your own beliefs.