I have been reading for at least the second time, maybe the third, Richard Dawkins’ magisterial book about evolution, The Greatest Show on Earth (hereafter Show). Like the other one or two times I have read Dawkins’ book, it was an exhilarating ride. Until I read the appendix, which pertains to how the theory of evolution is, to this day, received in the US and non-Scandinavian Europe. That appendix to Show is a real downer. (I reacted similarly when I first read the book.) It turns out that, even in the supposedly enlightened First World – again, the Scandinavian countries are the blessed exception -- around 80% of respondents accept a theory of evolution that accommodates some kind of supernatural explanation, e.g., God did it all according to a literal reading of Genesis, chapter 1; o
The world of dew
Is the world of dew.
And yet, and yet --
-- Kobayashi Issa
I am convinced that certain geographical areas “prefer” certain religious traditions. In certain areas of the Nation – I will concentrate on the US, though I think analogous remarks apply elsewhere – climate, topography, and history conspire to render the spiritual climate favorable to what I will call “rule-based” or “command-based” traditions that emphasize a Deity Who stands outside human history, but occasionally intervenes to formulate rules of conduct and to issue commands. Members of these traditions tend to speak in terms of God being “in control” and in political metaphors of monarchical sovereignty. It is quite common, also, especially in the American tradition of conservative evangelical Prot
I never write book reviews ... until now. Now I am making an exception for three reasons: (1) Philip Yancey's book Disappointment with God is an unflinching appraisal of how long-term disappointment precipitates crises of faith in the life of religiously devout people, (2) the theodical implications of that process, and (3) the theological consequences of (1) and (2). If you have been reading these columns for the last few years, you know that this has been a strong preoccupation of mine. But even though I wrote an Amazon review of Disappointment with God, I was not writing these "Skeptic's" columns at the time. So the following is in the nature of the latter playing catch-up with the former.
The Christian community almost always deals with disappointm