List price: $30.00|
Average customer rating:
4.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0891079998
Manufacturer : Good News Publishers|
Release data : April, 1998
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Good in spite of some flaws
I have to say that this is a good book overall that helped me defend my faith better.
The first section, on the evidence for immortality, is the strongest in my opinion, especially in their case for substance dualism (the traditional soul-body distinction), which is critical for the Christian view of immortality, and refutation of physicalism (the idea that humans are reducible to matter alone).
I have to admit that, even after reading their chapters on Near Death Experiences (NDEs), I still remain a bit skeptical about them, although these chapters certainly gave me a lot to think about and I have to admit that they brought up good points.
Their section on the Resurrection of Jesus didn't provide much information that I didn't already know, but then again I've read book-length defenses of that already so I guess I can't blame the authors too much for that. It's still pretty good given their space, especially if you haven't read a defense of it before.
Their second section, on the nature of immortality, was probably the weakest of the three. It still has a lot of good information in it, but unfortunately it suffers from a bit of excessive speculation on the part of the authors. The chapter on reincarnation, which a surprising number of professing Christians believe in, is pretty useful though, and the chapter on the doctrine of hell brings up some really good points.
The third section, on the implications of immortality (if immortality is true, so what?), is really practical. It has really interesting, informative, and useful discussions on issues like euthanasia, abortion, end-of-life issues, living in light of eternity, fear of death, etc.
Overall this is a very good book, especially if you can overlook its Arminian theological slant. It is evidentialist in its approach. Even though I am a Calvinist who tends to favor presuppositional apologetics over evidentialist apologetics, I still found this book very useful and informative and would recommend it to anyone who is considering becoming a Christian or any Christian who is trying to learn to defend his faith.
I'd recommend reading this book with "Resurrection" by Hank Hanegraaff and "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. If you liked either of those books you may like this book too; conversely, if you liked this book, you may like those books as well.
In reading this book I was very impressed with Dr. Habermas' writings, however it was the opposite with Dr. Moreland. He tries to offer a logical argument for dualism, which is a dead idea. I feel that as Christians we need to get away from the philosophy of Plato and his body/soul distiction. also the use of NDE's in this book is a horrible argument and most of the scientific world laughs out loud at these ideas. I recommed for the philosophical mind that you read Richard Rorty's Objectivism, Relativism and Truth essay on Non-Reductive Physicalism. This is the direction Christianity has to go if it is going to continue to live.
An excellent work
It is both comprehensive and scholarly. Includes three sections: evidence for immortality, nature of immortality, and implications of immortality.
Begins with some foundational work on what exactly it means for something to be rational. Works through some traditional arguments for immortality and assesses them. Also covers the claims of Jesus and, significantly, it responds to the claims of athiest Michael Martin. Also discusses NDEs, heaven, and hell.
This book is written with a non-believer in mind. I don't know, however, how convincing it would be to a non-believer because it deals primarily with the mind and not the heart. Additionally, my encounters with non-believers reinforces to me that you can doubt anything, even when it is non-sensical to do so. Faith is an issue of the condition of you heart. What I do know is that the work done in this book is foundational to thinking about immortality, and that anyone seriously interested in this subject will be well served by reading it. I, personally, was able to expand my thinking.
In my experience, anything that JP Moreland puts his hand to is intellectually powerful and dangerous to the secular establishment.