Saturday, 18 February 2017


Foundational Falsehoods of CreationismFoundational Falsehoods of Creationism by Aron Ra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Religious fundamentalists and biblical literalists present any number of arguments that attempt to disprove evolution. Those with a sympathetic ear often fail to critically examine these creationist claims, leading to an ill-informed public and, perhaps more troubling, ill-advised public policy. As Aron Ra makes clear, however, every single argument deployed by creationists in their attacks on evolution is founded on fundamental scientific, religious, and historical falsehoods–all of them. Among their most popular claims is that evolution is a religion, that there are no transitional species, that there are no beneficial mutations, and that supposedly sacred scripture is the infallible word of God. Yet, as the evidence and data plainly show, each of these claims is demonstrably and unequivocally false. There is simply no truth to creationism whatsoever, and the entire enterprise rests on a foundation of falsehoods. This book explains and exposes the worst of these lies, and should be read by all who honestly care about following the evidence no matter where it might lead in pursuit of the truth.

MY REVIEW: This book is a must read for anyone interested in the debate about evolution and creationism. Aron Ra has spent decades interacting with creationists, understanding their arguments, and developing responses to them. The book is a compelling read. It is one of the clearest articulations I have read of major creationist beliefs and assumptions and the reasons they fail when compared to the actual evidence from science. The discussions of each of the 15 falsehoods is rich and in depth. There are some beautifully incisive passages with delightfully pithy turns of phrases. I have a couple of criticisms. It’s a long book at 440 pages and there are times when Ra perhaps strays a bit away from the focus of a chapter. Ra’s passion for this topic is evident. Unfortunately, he sometimes becomes emotive and condescending when discussing creationists. Two things that would improve the book: some visuals would be great (the whole book is text) and there needs to be references for sources and a bibliography. A great book and well worth the investment of the time to read it.

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Saturday, 11 February 2017

WHY ISN'T GOD NICE? by Kurt Bruner

Why Isn't God Nice? Trusting His Awful GoodnessWhy Isn't God Nice? Trusting His Awful Goodness by Kurt Bruner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Long-time pastor and director of Open Doors, Kurt Bruner explores who God is, how He works in our lives, and how we can see Him at work. An Awful Goodness was written out of a desire to know God as He is rather than as we wish Him to be. Doing so requires confronting some unsettling questions like why a God of love sometimes seems so unloving. We celebrate a God who is nice: One who rescues, rewards, and redeems. But what about when He deserts, disciplines and damns? Is God schizophrenic, moving in and out of opposing personalities? One minute, gentle shepherd: the next, angry judge? How does that reconcile with the image of God popular in evangelical churches – loving, forgiving, and shepherding us? Below the surface – on the level of reality that goes deeper than sentimental feelings – we know that if God is only love, He isn’t enough. He must also be absolutely just, dreadfully mighty, and perfectly holy. He needs to reward what is right. But He also must punish what is wrong. He needs to redeem the lost. But He must also thwart the wicked. God never intended for every snapshot to be taken from His “best” side and when we worship only part of God we worship a false God. But we seem to prefer the partial phony to the awful reality. More importantly, how does a person going through hard times learn to embrace a God who can allow such difficult circumstances?

MY REVIEW: An inadequate treatment of the problem of evil. The argument is basically that God (the Christian god) is like a parent. If a parent truly loves their children, they'll often seem bad in the way they treat us - for the child's own good, of course. And God wants to bring justice to those who perpetrate evil. The logical conclusion is that, when bad things happen to Christians, it's because God is either causing them or allowing them. This explanation has never been satisfactory and this book doesn't improve the argument. Sure, the author writes well and he tells some nice stories to illustrate his point of view. But that doesn't mean the argument is any good. For anyone who appreciates the complexity of life and the incredible suffering experienced by people in the world, this explanation just doesn't cut it.

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