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Posted May 26, 2003
Far From Enlightening
The average reader is often impressed by average authors who create average works. And Christian readers will be impressed by Glynn's book because he's Christian too, which may explain why people have such vacuous comments in response to their experience reading his book. Being an associate director and scholar at George Washington University is impressive, as are the publications he has written for. But his understanding of philosophy is lacking (especially where he misrepresents Nietzsche), and his respect for other religions only appears when it is convenient for Christianity to have a side-kick in its stand against atheism. Glynn did not reconcile faith and reason very well, which becomes more apparent toward the end of the book when the reader discovers that Glynn has demonized reason and demonstrates a clear distaste for it. A considerable portion of the book is consumed by his discussions about near-death and out-of-body experiences. This is where his lack of appropriate experience takes its toll on his credibility. There's no way for Glynn to hide his distaste for reason and science, but an understanding of science might have spared him the embarassment of taking some very sketchy personal accounts of 'the other side' as Gospel truth (pardon the analogy). His 'evidence' of life after death is limited to a couple of researchers and a couple of their subjects. If he actually knew anything about scientific methodology, he would have gathered empirical evidence, and more of it! Roughly ten pages from the end of the book, Glynn attributes all, ALL of modern morality and civility to the New Testament, stating that the New Testament was the point in history at which morality entered humanity's bloodstream. That's true, if and only if you are an adherent to the belief that Christianity has a monopoly on morality. True historians would laugh at Glynn's assertion. Human societies were structured, moral, and civil (by their own standards, mind you) for a long time prior to Jesus. The New Testament did NOT create morality. ... All in all, Christians are just overjoyed to have another author who supports their conclusions. But a careful reading of Glynn's work will make intelligent people realize that he utilized too few sources in his research, he does not have the background in history or science to write on either, and he is too biased to be convincing. He simply does not have the credentials or experience to do anything more than preach. My final comment is this: Patrick Glynn's synthesis and analysis of the subjects he addresses is so incredibly poor that it places his entire book below the quality found in the average term paper written by your average college student.
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