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Posted April 29, 2011
I was afraid this book was going to be an attempt to prove the existance of God, which would likely be a waste of effort. As a Christian, I know that Genesis defines God as the Creator. Trying to prove His existance would be like trying to prove an axiom in Euclidian geometry. Axioms are accepted on faith, and they turn out to be of great value. The main theme of this book is that faith in God has great value in our world.
This book indicates that certain academic fields can, at times, be stubbornly and dogmatically atheistic. Philosophy and psychology are two examples which surprise me. The idea that we could understand an ultimate reality or find a higher morality or even a path to improved behavior through pure reason seems extremely arrogant and unrealistic to me. Yet, that seems to be what many famous psychologists, philosophers, and cosmologists have attempted to do. In that regard Glynn makes the philosophers appear to be the most extreme and possibly the most dangerous. He probably knows what he is talking about, since philosophy was his undergraduate and graduate field of study.
The book was written in 1997 and Glynn thought faith was making a comeback in our culture partly due to recent scientific developments. It would be interesting see a comparison of polls on faith then versus now (2011). Sadly, I think Church attendance and membership has declined. Judging from columns that academics write in our local newspaper, I would say the comeback of faith fizzled, at least in academia. One important question the book barely considered is why would academics tend to be dogmatically and emphatically atheistic? What do they gain by promoting atheism?
It would be strange if faith has declined, since the trend in science has been to shed ever more light on the limits of our ability to understand creation or reality. For me, the miracles listed in the first chapter of Genesis only appear more miraculous as science advances and as my own understanding of science advances.
I totally disagree with the reviewer who thinks Glynn does not believe in the power of reason. However, Glynn obviously understands that there are limits to human reasoning.
Anyone who questions why faith in God is important or why the Bible is important, or who wants to be better prepared to pursuade others, could benefit from reading this book.
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Posted May 26, 2003
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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Posted March 8, 2009
This is the basic telling of one man who was an atheist going and trying to find evidence that God doesn't exist, but instead finding so much evidence that God does exist that he converted. He goes through and explores the "Not-so-Random-Universe" and investigates psychology, medicine, near death experiences. He touches on some very important issues, the lack of belief in psychiatry even when most psychiatrists recommend that patients go to church or become involved with some spirituality. There were some astounding results that had statistics that showed that self destructive behavior had an inverse correlation with self destructive behavior. He also mentions the evidence that disproves Darwin's Theory of Evolution and the holes in certain theories such as bubble and baby universes. Mr. Glynn also addresses the idea of randomness, where if there were billions and billions of other universes, one producing life would be a coincidence and thusly nothing special. This is also addressed in the current version: "Given infinite time, a monkey with a typewriter would eventually type the works of Shakespeare." I found this especially interesting because he is speaking about how even if you did give a monkey a typewriter for infinite time, wouldn't he just write out gibberish? Maybe a word or two, but the whole first act of The Comedy of Errors? Impossible, to say the least. Mr. Glynn also addresses the lack of religion in schools, but not just the separation of church and state, but also the blatant denying of a Creator in the first place. If you are going to teach a theory then you must also teach all other theories. Teaching The Theory of Evolution as fact when it is just a theory, and then blatantly ignoring The Theory of Intelligent Design when just a few decades before it was all that was taught in schools. He is also addressing the "Flower Problem," which was so interesting, basically it was "If God doesn't exist then how does do you explain the existence of flowers?" it also addresses Freud and his denial of religion as a disease of the brain that needs to be cured, when there happens to be a drive for religion in the human brain. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was smart and thorough in it's arguments. The only thing that I truly disliked was when Mr. Glynn became a bit too wordy, and went on and on over the same basic ideas when they had already been expressed. I would recommend this book, it made me think that it will work on some of those issues that need to be addressed in modern day society.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2008
This book's outstanding discussion of the anthropic principle convinced me that there is indeed an Intelligent Designer behind our universe. If you¿re not convinced, this might be a good place to begin. Author Glynn holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and is Associate Director of the George Washington University Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, so not even a super-intellectual has to feel embarrassed to be seen with his book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2003
This book was recommended to me by a friend I met who actually went from being an atheist to a believer in God, after reading this book. Intrigued, I went out and bought it and I couldn¿t put it down! Although already a believer, I really enjoyed its practical grounding and skeptical approach. It gave me a lot of scientific, psychological, and physiological fodder for defending the existence of God to others, and to myself. There was also discussion of various life-after-death experiences from a wide range of people all over the world, totally unconnected, and the conclusions that must be drawn from such things. The book was refreshing to read in that it gave me further statistical evidence of the power of religion to reform and empower individuals in life. I recommend this book to many. I have heard some scientists on TV rebuking some of the scientific claims of the author about the difficulty in finding another explanation for the order and consistency found in the Universe, but over all the book gives such conclusive and logical arguments that any weaknesses in one aspect cannot be weighted against the sheer dominance of the conclusions of the author. Also, there was interesting discussion of the powers of ALL religions, not just one sect or church, to improve lives, and to experience life-after-death reunions and joyful heaven-like realities.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 5, 2000
Patrick Glynn has done was so many others have found it so difficult to do for so long. He has explained the relationship between faith and reason in terms that don't require the reader to suspend scientific and rational observation. Like so many people, Glynn abandoned a faith presented in a simplistic and often contradictory manner. Fortunately, his experience didn't stop with his agnotiscism. Through personal observation and research he has also done what so many others failed to do. He replaced the shallowness of religious avoidance and abandonment with a deep faith which does not require a thinking person to forget everything that they have learned through scientific study and observation. This book is a reach beyond the overly simplistic, and often nonsensical presentation of God by the leaders of many 'organized' religious leaders. This book is a powerful presentation of our desire to gain a thoughtful understand our reason for existence. It is also an introduction to the most powerful understanding that we can ever gain. Read it and send it to a friend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 17, 2010
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Posted February 28, 2010
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