Topics: Book Review

Reviews of books I or others have read

Beyond the extremes

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

One of the reasons I started this weblog was to develop a decent theology through writing and good feedback that will eventually land me somewhere between the two extremes of Reformed Theology (Calvinism) and liberal forms of Arminianism. Part of my quest for answers includes reading literature by authors who fall into the Reformed Theology camp who have beliefs that I am repulsed by. But, just in case I misunderstood the few men who I discussed the subject with, I thought I would go buy a book by one of the leaders of the movement and make sure I understand. I don’t want to be tripped up by semantic confusion.

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Reason

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

He [John] turned to Reason and spoke.

“Tell me, good lady. Is there such a place as the Island in the West, or is it only a feeling in my own mind?”

“I cannot tell you,” said she, “because you do not know.”

“But you know.”

“But I can tell you only what you know. I can bring things out of the dark part of your mind into the light part of it. But now you ask me what is not even in the dark part of your mind.”

“Even if it were only a feeling in my mind, would it be a bad feeling?”

“I have nothing to tell you of good or bad.”

Most people with a background in western spirituality will have read, or at least have heard, of the book by John Bunyan called The Pilgrim’s Progress. But in the 20th century, a similar but no less great book came out called The Pilgrim’s Regress. It is an allegorical story of a man named John whose spiritual journey that started with him having faith as child soon turns to doubt and then to rejection of his faith. Most of the story is about what he encountered on his journey to understand life afterwards.

There is a good chance that most of us will grow up in a household where one or both of our parents are religious to some degree, or at least the sub-culture we find ourselves in is religious, and we just kind of adopt it as best we can and believe it to be true. However, those of us who are prone to thinking sooner or later must come to grips with the reality of this thing called religion. We must either adopt it as true with our new independent minds or throw it out and start on our own spiritual journey to find the truth. The author, C.S. Lewis, took the latter road, and so did the protagonist. This book is an autobiography of his spiritual journey – a journey from childhood religion to atheism to the real spiritual life.
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Overview of The End of Faith

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Over at mindonfire.com, it’s author John Remy, inspiried by some of his regular readers, decided to band together and read a book relating to spiritual issues in our world today and talk about it, either on their own blogs, via comments on his, or meet together in person. I thought this was a great idea, and decided to read the chosen book and try posting some thoughts on it of my own on this site. The book that was eventually chosen was The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

The book was tough for me to read at first (as one of the regular visitors at MoF, Miko remarked). Harris is very acidic – he regularly uses insulting ways to describe people of faith and their beliefs, but like Miko also said, there must be something true here that needs to be heard or understood. I couldn’t agree more. I got so mad I had to put the book down for a while. I eventually skipped to the end to read his “solution” to faith, got a good laugh, felt a little better, and then proceeded to read the rest of the book.

Overall, I actually enjoyed the book, because it had some very thought-provoking sections, which might make people think “huh?” because I best define myself as a “moderate” Christian, which he attacks even more than fundamentalists. Anyway, if you’re interested, read on… Read the rest of this entry »