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Posted August 3, 2010
Wow!! What a book. I met Paul Copan once at Alliance Theological Seminary and he is such a down to earth guy with a heavenly heart, mind and soul. This book has so much depth and insight that each chapter could take months to explore, mine and dialogue about. Copan sums up the book nicely, "A user-friendly, Scripture-engaging Christian philosophy of religion book-a kind of launching pad for Christian leaders, students, teachers in philosophy of religion as they think critically, instruct others, engage with non-Christians, and live their lives in God's presence." And what is great is that at the end of the book there are thought provoking study questions for small groups and personal reflection.
I think Paul is brilliant and what I appreciate most about him is that he is not just a black-and-white, narrow-minded old-school fundamentalist philosopher who is ignorant of changing times and who leaves no room for questions, mysteries and further reflection and considerations. He is certainly conservative and opinionated but he is also in tune with contemporary philosophical issues such as those concerns brought up by feminist theology (which I like J). For example, part of the feminist critique of much conservative theology (or "human talk about human talk about God"), is that it tends to be marinated in deeply entrenched hyper-masculine, hyper-testoronic ideology. So for many people God is a male warrior God who watches UFC in his spare time and usually has stoic and monolithic tendencies. Copan, who I believe is conscious of the feminist critique and evangelistic short-sighted tendencies concerning the character of God writes, "And although male pronouns are used in many instances to refer to God, Scripture contains metaphors of God's motherlike actions and emotions as tender, care-giving, compassionate, and protecting: giving birth to Israel (Deut. 32:18); a nursing mother (Ps. 131:20; a mother in labor (Isa. 32.4); a mother bear and lioness (Hos. 13:8)" (p.24).
Don't get me wrong this is not a liberal Christian Philosophy of Religion book by any stretch of the imagination but I did appreciate Paul's humility, openness, wisdom and sensitive writing style. Even though Paul is open, for example, saying that, "Despite some of its own incoherencies, postmodernism can teach us much" (p.60), he is not afraid to boldly say, "While skepticism, cynicism, and suspicion may define postmodernism or may characterize a Godless perspective, trust, and charity should be the Christian's stance (p.65).
Overall, "Loving Wisdom" is a great book that I think should be a required text in every Christian Philosophy of Religion class. Paul Copan is brilliant, witty and his philosophical reflections always reflect the preeminence of relationships (with a triune God, each other and creation).
For a slightly more detailed review, see: http://real4truthblog.blogspot.com/