Jerry L. Martin was raised in a Christian home. By the time he left college, he was not a believer. But he was interested in the big questions and so he studied the great thinkers. He became a philosophy professor and served as head of the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to scholarly articles on epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and public policy, he wrote reports on education that received national attention and was invited to testify before Congress. He stepped down from that career to write this book.
Martin lives in Pennsylvania and is married to Abigail L. Rosenthal, professor emerita at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
“A captivating religious dialogue for the modern age.”
– Kirkus Reviews
An atheist philosopher finds himself in a surprising series of conversations with God.
One of the two main characters in Martin’s debut is the author himself, whose own Christian faith didn’t survive even a rudimentary college philosophy class, “where arguments for the existence of God were shot down like clay pigeons.” The secular philosopher opens his book with a quick account of falling in love with the woman who would become his wife, but the focus shifts almost immediately to a mysterious voice he begins sensing, identifying itself as “the God of all” and heard only by Martin. After a good deal of initial doubts, he decides to embrace the experience, even though at first it resembles “a training in obedience,” with the voice ordering him around on trivial matters seemingly at random. But gradually, larger issues and disclosures begin to surface. And Martin shares a great many of these revelations in an immensely readable prose that’s reverential but completely accessible to nonbelievers. His portrait of God is a remarkable dramatic construct, a vastly enigmatic being seized with an urge to unveil Himself in detail. This is a God who dwelled for unbounded ages in a formless void before existence began and He started to evolve along with it, shaping space and matter toward His eventual relationship with humankind, a process of creating Himself. Martin’s version of God is often every bit as argumentative and contradictory as the one found in the Bible, but this volume’s narration helps smooth things over: it’s easily literate (quotes from many authors abound) and excellent at clarifying the deep philosophical subjects covered as the dialogue progresses. Martin’s deity talks about being part of non-Christian texts like the Upanishads and the Mahabharata (and even discusses the “rebel” pharaoh Akhenaten), but nevertheless, this book chronicles one man’s encounter with the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Yet as such, it’s a revelation.
A captivating religious dialogue for the modern age.
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: Caladium Publishing Company
Review Posted Online: July 14, 2016
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