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When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys Paperback – October 21, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Polebridge Press; Cdr edition (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598150103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598150100
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Burdett Wantland on December 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I wish this book had appeared fifty years ago. It would have spoken to the needs of a young seeker stuggling with traditional religious instruction while studying academic philosophy and science. Today at 75 years of age it is nuturing to discover that my journey overlapped the quest of many others who wrestle with doubt in the stuggle to find some kind of fath.
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There's a lot of reason and a lot less faith in these narratives. 13 members of the Jesus Seminar talk about their beliefs and how they got there. I found that most of them are left with a faith that, in my opinion, doesn't have a lot to offer.

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.
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How refreshing it is to see serious religious scholars who have spent most of their lives in the search to understand scriptural and theological meaning have the courage and candor to lay out their own spiritual journeys in a way that is forthright and open to the average interested person!

The mainstream church has spent a good deal of time trying to interpret and
preserve a tradition that in many cases has been distorted and twisted by subjective personal and political screening and circumstance. If there is any absolute requirement for relevant religion it is authenticity, honesty, candor and the recognition that all see reality through their own experiential filters. If it is authentic, owning this takes nothing away from meaning or the growth we share as we share our journeys.

Bravo to these scholars, who care, for sharing what they really feel and believe (at this point!). It is freeing and affirming to see committed diversity in public print.
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Anyone who studies New Testament history will discover significant differences between and among the writers of the New Testament regarding theology and their understandings as to who Jesus was. Additional study of non-canonical manuscripts of early Christian writings reveals still greater diversity of opinions about theology and Christology. Then as one learns about how the early creeds were carefully worded to narrow the definition of what constituted Christianity, it becomes apparent that there was a lot of human politics involved in deciding what were acceptable Christian beliefs. Also, careful analysis of historical evidence reveals that the historical Jesus was most likely quite a bit different from his depiction by the New Testament writers. Viewed in this light, the title of "Holy Word of God" begins to appear a bit tarnished.

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.
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I'm a feature editor and writer for a publishing company, have been for the last twenty-one-years. I like to study history and religious history is a particularly interesting field - that leads to conflicts of faith, more often than not. I've encountered many and wanted to know how others dealt with them.

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.
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