Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)

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Frank Schaeffer has a problem with the New Atheists. He also has a problem with the religious fundamentalists. The problem is that he doesn?t see much of a difference between the two camps. Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the existing religious conversation as he challenges atheists and fundamentalists alike.
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Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)

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Frank Schaeffer has a problem with the New Atheists. He also has a problem with the religious fundamentalists. The problem is that he doesn’t see much of a difference between the two camps. Sparing no one and nothing, including himself and his fiery evangelical past, and invoking subtleties too easily ignored by the pontificators, Schaeffer adds much-needed nuance to the existing religious conversation as he challenges atheists and fundamentalists alike.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher, 11/23/10
“[Schaeffer] is a religious riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a conundrum…A compelling read for anyone who has wondered if there is no God and for everyone certain that there is.”

Santa FeNew Mexican, 12/3/10
Patience with God is the middle ground between Rick Warren and Christopher Hitchens, a measured alternative to what has begun to feel like strictly black-and-white arguments that conflate religion with politics, assume all Christians have identical beliefs, and seem to require all Americans to make a dichotomous choice between moral tradition and Godless progress…Schaeffer’s voice is casual but firm. You don’t have to agree with him, but he isn’t easily dismissed.”
Acadiana LifeStyle, December 2010
“Whether you’re an atheist or fundamentalist, or something in between, you’ll find many thought-provoking ideas in this volume…An interesting look at religious beliefs from all angles.”

Bad Catholic blog, 12/30/11
“Frank takes no prisoners when it comes to Evangelical Fundamentalists…[His] books fall into the same category as drinking straight Bourbon whiskey. It’s an acquired taste which some may find too strong to tolerate. Reading Patience With God is like sitting down and having a long rambling talk with good old Frank who is brilliant but is also something of a crank. I loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Financial Times, 3/14/11 “This beguiling ramble of essay and memoir is worth the effort.”

Publishers Weekly
Author Schaeffer (Keeping Faith) adopts a feisty tone in this essay about evangelical Christianity and aggressive atheism. In the first half of the book, he rebuts justifications from both sides, taking aim at the ideas of such celebrity atheists as Richard Dawkins as well as religious leaders like Rick Warren. Schaeffer asks each side to allow for an evolving religion in which allegory takes precedence over literalism. In the first half of the book, the author quotes lengthy passages from atheist writings, leaving little room for his own optimistic ideas. In the second half, he gives space for his own memories, recalling moments that led him to a middle path of “hopeful uncertainty.” Growing up in a well-known evangelical family, then leaving it behind for secular Hollywood, Schaeffer learned to see the world as aesthetic and contemplative rather than scientific. By embracing mystery and love, he suggests the two movements can exist side-by-side: “It is possible to buck the trend of cynicism and to believe in each other more than in the rightness of our particular ideas.” (Nov.)
Library Journal
Novelist Schaeffer, who wrote the memoir Crazy for God and is the son of prominent evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer, offers a hopeful vision for genuine faith in a messy, mysterious, and unexplainable world full of contradictions and paradoxes. The book effectively serves as an opening of dialog among those searching for something to hold onto, the devout but doubting members of the "Church of Hopeful Uncertainty." Along the way, Schaeffer criticizes both religious and secular fundamentalism, which turn out to have much more in common than is readily apparent. His is a humble and beautiful narrative that interweaves elements of memoir, popular theology, inspiration, and meditation. The end result is a deep and rich reflection on authentic faith in the contemporary world that focuses on how to live rather than on what to believe or not believe. VERDICT Highly recommended for all general readers of religion, both believers and nonbelievers, who hunger for faith and meaning but are repelled by the polarizing exclusivity of new atheists and religious fundamentalists.—Brian T. Sullivan, Alfred Univ. Lib., NY
Kirkus Reviews
A meditation on the follies of religious and atheist fundamentalism. Schaeffer (Crazy for God, 2007, etc.) fled the evangelical Christianity of his father, the late evangelist Francis Schaeffer, and today is Greek Orthodox. Here the author criticizes both the religious right and the recent wave of angry atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. Schaeffer stresses that ethical behavior, not certitude about supernatural creeds, was an early Judeo-Christian teaching. It's a solid though unoriginal argument-recent books by Harvard theologian Harvey Cox and British author Karen Armstrong cover much of the same ground. Schaeffer argues for "hopeful uncertainty," a humility about one's beliefs that rejects the certitude of doctrinaire believers and atheists alike. His openly contemptuous insults of both groups may put off readers who admire the Franklin Grahams or, alternately, Richard Dawkinses of the world, but his criticisms, buttressed by quoting his targets' own words, are on target. It's when he turns to personal recollections that Schaeffer becomes tedious, save for the occasional interesting anecdote. One gem is the story about his British boarding school's headmaster teaching him compassion instead of bullying. Schaeffer also writes movingly about finding God-not in creeds about a virgin birth or Jesus's miracles, but in his baby granddaughter, Lucy. Noting that strokes have reduced his 94-year-old mother to a cognitive level similar to Lucy's, he muses that while they may never meet, their consciousness is similar: "Mom is slowly falling asleep. Lucy is waking up."The wisdom about shunning rigid thinking outweighs the meandering memoir and lack of original theme inthis hybrid volume. Regional author tour in New England. Agent: Jennifer Lyons/Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306819223
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 785,293
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and three children.
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Table of Contents

Prologue Why This Book May Not Be What You Expect xi

Part I Where Extremes Meet

1 How the New Atheists Poison Atheism 3

2 How Many Ways Are There to Say, "There Is No God!"? 15

3 Why Does Dawkins Oppose Faith with Lapel Pins? 27

4 Determinism Religious and Secular Is the Ultimate Insanity Defense 43

5 Dennett Says Religion Evolved the Way Folk Music Did 59

6 Hitchens Poisons Hitchens 71

7 The Only Thing Evangelicals Will Never Forgive Is Not Hating the "Other" 89

8 Spaceship Jesus Will Come Back and Whisk Us Away 109

Part II Patience With Each Other, Patience With God

9 So Naked Before a Just and Angry God 125

10 There Is More in Man Than the Mere Breath of His Body 143

11 That "Truth Button" Should Humble Everyone 165

12 How Do Spiritual Catalysts Work? 175

13 "Shedding over Every Daily Task the Light of Love" 185

14 He Never Left a Trace That He'd Been There 201

15 Much More Miraculous Than a Good Cup of Coffee 211

16 "First and Last Alike Receive Your Reward" 221

Acknowledgments 229

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    It's good to know that I'm not alone in my views

    This author skims over some pretty important theological questions, but his point was well taken and for the most part I can agree with his ideas.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    For anyone who seeks to understand the complication of religious though and the shackles it can lead too without depth of understanding. It is not how Frank Schaeffer became a religious evangelical fundamentalist that matter it is his road out of that trap keeping his sanity and spirituality that is the real story... A must read for any Seeker on a journey for knowledge...

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    Posted December 31, 2013

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    Posted October 10, 2011

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