Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Right Questions

The Right Questions

by Phillip E. Johnson

An ECPA 2003 Gold Medallion Finalist!

Phillip E. Johnson pries the lid off public debate about questions of ultimate concern—questions often suppressed by our society's intellectual elite. Moving far beyond matters of creation and evolution, Johnson outlines the questions we all ought to be asking about the meaning of human history, the limits of scientific


An ECPA 2003 Gold Medallion Finalist!

Phillip E. Johnson pries the lid off public debate about questions of ultimate concern—questions often suppressed by our society's intellectual elite. Moving far beyond matters of creation and evolution, Johnson outlines the questions we all ought to be asking about the meaning of human history, the limits of scientific inquiry, religion and education in a pluralistic society, truth, liberty and moral choices, and God and His Word, Jesus Christ.

Johnson deftly demonstrates how the reigning naturalistic philosophy not only squelches public debate but also constrains us to ask the wrong questions. Unless we start with the right questions, Johnson argues, our discussions will be framed by the assumptions of that very philosophy which must be challenged.

Johnson asserts that even the Christian church has much too often passively accepted this limiting frame of mind to the detriment of all. But Christian faith and conviction instead ought to lead in opening up the search for truth and meaning through the kind of public education that "teaches in controversy." Then all of us will be prepared to engage in lively, informed and civil debate about the questions that really matter.

Why is it always wrong to mix science and religion? What is the ultimate premise, the beginning point, from which logic should proceed? How can a college education prepare students to understand the ultimate purpose or meaning for which life should be lived and to choose rightly from among the available possibilities? What is the appropriate understanding of religion in a pluralistic nation where substantial numbers of Christians, agnostics, Jews and Muslims all need to live together in peace? How can democratic liberalism remain viable when severed from its Christian roots? What is the most important event in human history?

Provocative, personal, persuasive and prophetic, Johnson is certain to help us break free from our intellectual and spiritual captivity.

Editorial Reviews

(The Rev.) Richard John Neuhaus
"Here are words of combat-hardened wisdom from a veteran of the intellectual wars. Phillip Johnson obviously relishes the battle and, just as obviously, understands himself to be a servant of the truth and a witness to the One who is the way, the truth and the life."
Timothy George
"Phillip Johnson tackles here some of the most pressing issues we are facing today. He writes in the interrogative mood not as an 'answer man' with pre-packaged solutions on offer but as an honest searcher seeking how best to pose the questions. A wonderful primer for Christian thinkers!"
Marvin Olasky
"As Phillip Johnson writes movingly about his stroke and recovery, it's clear that God has given him a great heart to go along with his great mind—and this book asks the questions that can help others see that their hearts are two sizes too small. It's full of discussion starters; for example, why don't researchers examine whether those long lives in chapter 5 of Genesis could have occurred? For those who have looked for intellectual satisfaction in all the wrong places, The Right Questions can be a fresh start."
Frederica Mathewes-Green
"With The Right Questions Phil Johnson hits bedrock; he establishes us on a firm foundation and equips us to analyze and respond to the prevalent confusion with clarity and decisiveness. If we can't clone him, perhaps we can imitate him and acquire his skill with logic, persuasion and truth."
Glenn Tinder
"In The Right Questions the leader of the intelligent design movement broadens his critique of Darwinism into an attack on numerous well-known social and political attitudes. And he weaves into his polemics an account of a great personal trial and its impact on his Christian faith. The result is a uniquely provocative and interesting book. Many readers will disagree with the author on one point or another. There are very few, however, who will not find themselves thinking seriously about matters they have not thought about before."
Publishers Weekly
To get to the right answers, argues Johnson (The Wedge of Truth), retired law professor at Berkeley, one has to ask the right questions. For too long, he says, the debate about which questions are important enough to be asked has been controlled by people unable to perceive that their philosophical system has a fatal flaw: obliviousness to the faith-based character of their foundational premise. To put it most clearly, Johnson suggests that the foundational premise for the scientific naturalist can be articulated as a parallel to the opening words of John and Genesis: "In the beginning were the particles." Johnson examines a variety of topics-education, science, logic, tolerance, gender and liberty-critiquing the way the debate in each area has been improperly bounded by those whose assumptions compel them to ask the wrong questions. What he hopes for is an open, informed, civil debate where people are free to ask the right ones. Though often persuasive, Johnson's work suffers from serious flaws and is particularly marred by its insensitive and defensive tone. He inaccurately characterizes his opponents, as when he entirely misreads Alan Wolfe's Atlantic Monthly article "The Opening of the Evangelical Mind," or misrepresents conservative Fuller Theological Seminary as awash in "a post-Christian New Age spiritualism." He also takes cheap shots, even as he claims to be resisting the temptation. He admits that he is also tempted to self-centeredness, and the whole book has the whiff of a pretentious-and repetitive-arrogance. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

InterVarsity Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.45(d)

Meet the Author

Phillip E. Johnson taught law for more than thirty years at the University of California—Berkeley where he is professor emeritus. He is recognized as a leading spokesman for the intelligent design movement, and is the author of many books, including Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds.

Nancy Pearcey is the Francis A. Schaeffer scholar at the World Journalism Institute, where she teaches a worldview course based on her book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. After studying under Schaeffer at L'Abri in the early 1970s, she earned an M.A. from Covenant Theological Seminary, followed by further graduate work in philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. She has served as the executive editor of Breakpoint, visiting scholar at the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

A frequent lecturer, Pearcey has spoken to actors and screenwriters in Hollywood; at universities such as Dartmouth, Stanford, USC and Princeton; at national labs like Sandia and Los Alamos; in Congress and the White House; and for political organizations like the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Times, First Things, Human Events and The Regent University Law Review.

Pearcey has written or contributed to several works, including The Soul of Science and the ECPA Gold Medallion winner How Now Shall We Live? Her latest book, Total Truth, was featured on C-SPAN, received an Award of Merit in the Christianity Today 2005 Book Awards, and won the ECPA Gold Medallion Award for best book of the year in the Christianity and Society category.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews