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Why Faith Matters Paperback – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Why Faith Matters is an articulate defense of religion in America. It makes the case for faith and shows its relationship to history and science. Refuting the cold reason of atheists and the hatred of fanatics with a vision of religion informed by faith, love, and understanding, Rabbi David J. Wolpe follows in a literary tradition that stretches from Cardinal Newman to C. S. Lewis to Thomas Merton—individuals of faith who brought religion and culture together in their own works. Wolpe takes readers through the origins and nature of faith, the role of the Bible in modern life, and the compatibility of God and science, concluding with a powerful argument for the place of God, faith, and religion in today's world.
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Top Customer Reviews
While his writing is cerebral, the book is an easy read of an incredibly difficult subject. The book will help those with faith re-affirm their connection to their God, and for those without, the book will force you to seriously reflect on just who holds the tiller of your moral rudder. Without qualms, Rabbi Wolpe raises arguments about the importance of a religious component to your life.
His most poignant point may be the role that organized religion plays as a check and balance to government. Rabbi Wolpe does not take the unsupportable position that religious institutions are infallible. In fact, he openly acknowledges that just like out of control governments can wreak havoc, so can out of control religion. But his overall case that the scales of goodness ultimately tip in the favor of belief in God is compelling.
At the same time, Wolpe understands the power of faith and gives comfort to those who make the leap of faith.
Truly a Renaissance man, Wolpe has the extraordinary ability to inspire readers to be introspective, which is a key to our essence and existence. His knowledge of history, philosophy, psychology and theology, and various other belief systems, is obvious in his presentation.
I believe that all people who are open to enhancing their self-awareness, and to considering varied ideas about faith, should read "Why Faith Matters." Even for those who are rightly skeptical about some of the author's assertions, and who might not be comfortable with certain of his approaches, Wolpe is still a very serious and important thinker who deserves our consideration. (Reviewed by Jerry Marcus, author of four novels, including The Salvation Peddler and Broken Trust - The Murder Of Basketball Star Jack Molinas.)
In that sense, the book matched my expectations: Wolpe's Jewish faith is a definitely a philosophy that leads to good in this world. But as the book claims to be a response to the critics of religion, one can expect more than beautiful stories and anecdotes. Unfortunately, this is where this book falls short: Wolpe doesn't prove anything, and while his religion is productive, his defense doesn't apply to faith as a whole. Also, while it's true that faith can make people more moral, I didn't find in this book any reason why it would do that better than a humanist philosophy.
On its own, this book further increased my appreciation for Judaism, but as a response to the critics of religion it really isn't all that useful.
Wolpe's strengths as a writer include his ability to dialog with the reader, his keen insight into the human condition, and his brilliant analytical mind. In his prelude, for example, he tells the story of a man using his sickness to teach his children and grandchildren how to die. He writes about his friend Isaac: "Here was a chance to teach his greatest lesson. They would remember much about him to be sure, but they would never forget how he died" (xiv).
Wolpe is a master of the anecdote. Pick a page; find a story. One I liked was the man standing before God in heaven. Wolpe writes:
"Dear God...Look at all the suffering, the anguish and distress in Your world. Why don't you send help?" ... God responded: "I did send help. I sent you" (38-39).
Those of us that go from point A to point B to point C can only stand and applaud.
After a brief prelude, Wolpe organizes his book into 8 chapters:
1. From faith to doubt;
2. Where does religion come from?
3. Does religion cause violence?
4. Does science disprove religion?
5.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Covers the Faith questions many of us have, from Atheism to Radical Fundamentalism.
Written clearly, and stimulates serious thought without being "preachy."
The first 3/4 of the book is by far the best. Wolpe effectively challenges the barren philosophy of the likes of Christopher Hitchens and other outspoken atheists with his own... Read morePublished 4 months ago by James Ahearn
This is one of those rare books that I will reference, and reread many times in the future. One could open it at any point and be able to get an inspirational message, reading... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Have you ever heard of the term 'Confirmation Bias'? If not, read this book. It is a picture perfect display of it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ashley Rooney
No complaints about the polish.
The book we were very disappointed with. I purchased it new as a gift and it turned out to be used and had coffee stains on the pages.
Great book to deepen your understanding of the old testament tradition, David J. Wolpe is a teacher and philosopher that guide you to a better understanding of your faith. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent primer on fundamentals of faith and why Pascal's wager makes sense. Verbalized my subconscious annoyance with arrogance of atheists. Will read more of David Wolpe books.Published 16 months ago by Alex Y