A SKEPTIC'S GUIDE TO GOD by Larkin Spivey

A SKEPTIC'S GUIDE TO GOD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Spivey (Stories of Faith and Courage from the Korean War, 2013, etc.) blends personal anecdotes, theology and science in this accessible work of Christian apologetics.

Retired Marine Spivey grew up in what he calls an “Old Testament” household: He knew he was expected to do his duty and never question orders. When he entered college, however, he was drawn to mystical poetry and the work of Ayn Rand, and the pressures of boot camp drove him away from chapel. Once he became a family man, he fulfilled his Bible Belt duty by attending church, but didn’t actually become a Christian until age 53. To provide context for his doubter’s journey, Spivey sidetracks into lengthy discussions of science and the Bible, answering some common objections along the way. Cartoons from The New Yorker and extracts from Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary (1911) keep the tone light. His survey of quantum physics and evolution is well-pitched—in-depth, but unlikely to alienate laypeople: “Many [physicists] concede there may be mysteries beyond their understanding,” he notes. Although he’s willing to admit that the theory of evolution is useful, Spivey proposes it as the method God used to fashion humanity. “There need be no contradictions between the findings of science and the beliefs of the great monotheistic religions of the world,” he declares. Indeed, Christianity, as he presents it, could support science by providing the “why” behind biology’s “what” and “how.” Countering thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, who endorse purely empirical worldviews, Spivey makes a strong case for “amazement.” He acknowledges that classical theological proofs for the existence of God, such as those by St. Anselm of Canterbury and St. Thomas Aquinas, are unlikely to convince skeptics, but makes a case that having a sense of wonder about the natural world might. His overview of the Bible is less helpful, however, and the later chapters seem to lose objectivity; the conclusion, especially, reads like an altar call (“If you are able to put your skeptical nature on hold for now and accept Jesus into your heart for who he claims to be, I urge you to say the following prayer”). Some of the theologizing, particularly about the problem of evil, is unconvincing, but most of the author’s points are grounded in hard science and his own experience.

An impassioned defense of a logical Christianity that meshes with scientific reality.

Pub Date: June 30th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1494848477
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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