The End of Christianity

The End of Christianity

3.5 6
by William Dembski
     
 

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Theodicy attempts to resolve how a good God and evil world can coexist. The neo-atheist view in this debate has dominated recent bestseller lists through books like The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), God Is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens), and The End of Faith (Samuel Harris). And their popularity illuminates a changing mental environment

Overview

Theodicy attempts to resolve how a good God and evil world can coexist. The neo-atheist view in this debate has dominated recent bestseller lists through books like The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), God Is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens), and The End of Faith (Samuel Harris). And their popularity illuminates a changing mental environment wherein people are asking harder questions about divine goodness. Surprisingly, these books please intelligent design champion William Dembski, because “They would be unnecessary if Christianity were not again a live issue.”

Entering the conversation, Dembski’s provocative The End of Christianity embraces the challenge to formulate a theodicy that is both faithful to Christian orthodoxy and credible to the new mental environment. He writes to make peace with three claims: (1) God by wisdom created the world out of nothing. (2) God exercises particular providence in the world. (3) All evil in the world ultimately traces back to human sin. In the process, Dembski brings the reader to a fresh understanding of what “the end (result) of Christianity” really means: the radical realignment of our thinking so that we see God’s goodness in creation despite the distorting effects of sin in our hearts and evil in the world.

Endorsements:

"The End of Christianity towers over the others in profundity and quality . . . I have read very few books with its deep of insight, breadth of scholarly interaction, and significance. From now on, no one who is working on a Christian treatment of the problem of evil can afford to neglect this book."

—J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University and author of The God Question

A thought-provoking and well-worth reading book by a brilliant evangelical thinker on the perennial and puzzling problem of how to explain physical evil in the world before the Fall. I could not put it down. It has so much intellectually stimulating material in it.

Norman Geisler

"Believers have badly needed the kind of compelling case for biblical theodicy provided in Dr. Dembski's new book-grounded, as it is, not in traditional philosophical arguments (often not merely obtuse but irrelevant in today's scientific climate), but in intelligent design, of which Dr. Dembski is the world's foremost academic proponent."

John Warwick Montgomery

"William Dembski is a first-rate scholar who has focused his attention on the perennial challenge to Christianity: Why does God allow such evil and cruelty in the world? While staying well within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, Dembski offers fresh insights that can truly be described as groundbreaking. Whether you end up embracing his solution or not, The End of Christianity is a book all Christians-and even non-Christians-need to wrestle with. We enthusiastically recommend it."

Josh and Sean McDowell, co-authors of Evidence for the Resurrection and More Than A Carpenter

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433669217
Publisher:
B&H Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
254
Sales rank:
1,161,454
File size:
914 KB

Meet the Author

A mathematician and philosopher, William A. Dembski is Research Professor in Philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. He is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. Previously he was the Carl F.H. Henry Professor of Theology and Science at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he founded its Center for Theology and Science. Before that he was Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science at Baylor University, where he also headed the first intelligent design think-tank at a major research university: The Michael Polanyi Center.

Dr. Dembski has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, and M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996. He has held National Science graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

As interest in intelligent design has grown in the wider culture, Dr. Dembski has assumed the role of public intellectual. In addition to lecturing around the world at colleges and universities, he is frequently interviewed on the radio and television. His work has been cited in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, including three front page stories in the New York Times as well as the August 15, 2005 Time magazine cover story on intelligent design. He has appeared on the BBC, NPR (Diane Rehm, etc.), PBS, CSPAN2, CNN, Fox News, ABC Nightline, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Maxeo More than 1 year ago
The book was a fairly light read, easy to get through, yet deep and informative at the same time. I would recommend this to those who are somewhat familiar with modern cosmology, geology, and theological exegesis. If you are an adamant young earth creationist you will either dislike this book or be engaged to find more answers (which ultimately he believes to be untenable). To state the theodicy in a nutshell, both natural and personal/moral evil is a result of the Fall and God acted in anticipatory manner, though retroactively, to show the gravity of sin. I appreciate Dembski's attempts to reconcile evil with sin and to exalt God's grace and glory in the midst of suffering and evil. The only objections I had: 1. Dembski continually refers to the pre-fall creation [or prior to the effect of sin] as "perfect." I don't find this to be a biblical description of creation, rather God calls physical creation "good" (i.e. the end of the fourth day Gen. 1.25). The best thing God labels in creation is the creation of man, that creation is "very good" (Gen. 1.31). I constantly took note of this throughout the book. I would be interested to see if this would effect his theodicy at all. 2. I disagree with Dembski's philosophy of time (though I can't be certain from reading this book). Dembski seems to align himself with the [seemingly] majority of Evangelicals by claiming God is "outside of time" [B-theorist, static theory]. I may part way with this as I am an ardent A-theorist [dynamic theory]. I don't see this as effecting his theodicy at all though. He uses it to show the retroactive effects of sin from the initial beginning of the universe. That doesn't seem to necessitate an omnitemporality of God, rather middle knowledge [or even mere foreknowledge]. 3. I disagree, exegetically, with his interpretation of Romans 5.12. I believe that "death" only refers to human death. I think to read in all death [to plants and animals] one must do leaps and bounds. In the end, I find Dembski's theodicy to be plausible (no need for exegetical gymnastics either!). I find it complementary to a free will defense, and appropriately so (I appreciate his dismissal of Hick's soul-making). I hope that Dembski writes another book expounding on more details behind the core argument (as well as incorporate anything related to my three objections, though not pertinent to the actual argument).The book is also seeker-friendly in the sense that those who hold the problem of evil as an intellectual or emotional hurdle in believing in God or allowing a closer relationship to him may find answers.
BG6330 More than 1 year ago
The mental climate in which we live has embraced a scientific and naturalistic explanation for just about everything. In that climate, the problem of evil is a compelling reason to refuse belief in God. Dembski sets out to address both the climate and the problem. "The challenge of this book is to formulate a theodicy that is at once faithful to Christian orthodoxy and credible to our mental environment." (From the Introduction.) The reader unwilling to follow Dembski's line of reasoning will quickly run into trouble. This book will pique the indignation of those for whom any variance from Young Earth Creationism is a drift into wrong theology. Readers insistent on staying clear of anything that smacks of "evolution" will be tempted to put it aside (but probably form a judgment about it anyway). Minds unwilling to explore what it might mean that God's thinking and acting transcend time, will probably doze off before getting to the good part. So, what's in it for those who see it through? . Continuity in understanding the comprehensive impact of sin on the creation and the comprehensive efficacy of Christ's atonement across all time, . A credible understanding and articulation of current scientific thinking without abandoning sound evangelical, theological basics, and . A breadth of theological, philosophical, and scientific reference that seems to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of his objective. What you won't find is a necessarily easy read, or a proposal that will instantly find its way into your comfort zone. No reader is obligated to agree with his conclusions, but unless you grasp the core of Dembski's reasoning, I'm confident you won't fully understand your own view very well either. Reviewed originally for Pulpit Helps Magazine & Online
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"..clever guesses and well-devised possibilities." Old Testament criticism and the rights of the unlearned – John Kennedy 1Timothy 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law(Bible), but they don't know what they are talking about. They don't even understand the things they say they are sure of.
AmominIllinois More than 1 year ago
The writer does not present his arguement without showing a specfic biase against Christanity. I would have respect the writer's agruement more if it demonstrated less bitterness towards a specific faith and agrued the existance of all religious gods.