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List price: $16.00|
Average customer rating:
3.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0830822941
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press|
Release data : 01 October, 2002
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Not bad, even if the topic is a little esoteric
This book by Johnson takes a step back from the moshpit of the evolution vs. intelligent design and actually addresses intramural debates among believers (more specifically, Christian educators) over whether and to what extent the faith in God should enter the discussion over the meaning of life sciences. Even going back to the first event that created what we know as the universe, there is necessarily going to have to be some answers over what it means, which means that "ultimate" questions will have to be formulated.
Johnson's answer, provided in the final chapter, to his question of what the most important event in history should suprise no one: the incarnation of Jesus Christ on earth. Creator becomes creature, theology becomes human history, and two fields of study converge. Johnson does leave some wiggle room by stating that people might disagree with the accounts of Jesus of Nazareth, but they can't be left from the realm of discussion altogether.
Some might accuse Johnson of pointing every question to the same answer, but any set of assumptions that always reject any conclusion at all is an even more suspicious worldview to live by.
The fact that this addresses a secondary topic may limit its readability to a wide audience among believers, but that's not to say this might prove to have a long-term effect, if Christian educators pay heed to Johnson's advice.
Gets right to the core issues
Having read this book I now understand why Publisher's Weekly gave it such a poor review. Frankly, this book is threatening.
The book is well written, with an easy to follow structure, and plenty of the clear thinking that Johnson has a reputation for. In addition, the issues that this book deals with are of fundamental importance. Johnson deals with core questions about God, Science, Religion, Politics, Christianity, Islam, September 11th, Darwinism, Genesis, Education, and Truth, and he does so in an eminently readable and clear manner.
There are some in our society, however, who feel threatened when fundamental issues are addressed in a clear manner -- especially when the author questions the basic tenets of their worldview. Clearly the Publisher's Weekly reviewer feels threatened. Consider this: there are two reasons to give a book a poor review: 1) the book deserves a poor review; 2) You don't want people to read the book.
Let me assure you that this book does not deserve a poor review.
I predict that this book will provoke one of two reactions in its readers: they will either 1) read it straight through with excitement, or 2) fling it across the room in a fit of rage. Boredom is impossible. In either case, this book is relevant.
Just as biased and intollerant as his opponents
This book is written for people who have already made up their minds that the majority of scientists are wrong and all orthodox and fundamentalist Christians are right when it comes to creation as described in the first two chapters of Genesis. Johnson is just as dogmatic and closed-minded in his presentation as the scientists he opposes. By profession Johnson was a law professor at Berkely, and thus one could characterize his expertise in debate as opposed to scientific discourse. Johnson has, however, soaked up much of the literature on Darwinian evolution (hence my two star rating as opposed to simply one star). However, Johnson is pushing his own Christian adjenda just as forcefully as those he opposes. The best book available on the topic at hand -- the debate between creationist and evolutionists -- is by Ronald L. Numbers, entitled "The Creationists." R.L. Numbers IS an expert in the field of religion/scientific history. Moreover, Numbers is not pushing any adjenda, neither scientific nor religious. If you really want to learn about the debate which has taken place between religion and science, go to the experts -- usually historians. This subject is too important to mindlessly read anything that flows from the publishing houses. To date, the best references on this subject are David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers. Yet, I fear that because they push no adjenda upon the reader, fundamentalists and people like Johnson would lump them into the same category as the atheist scientists that they so much despise.