Summarizes the conflict between faith and science and highlights the three target audiences of this book: (1) practicing theists struggling with this long-standing conflict, or the religious leaders to whom they turn for answers; (2) people who have given up any religious faith that they once had because of the cognitive dissonance engendered by their reading of the Bible; (3) people who are opposed to theistic thinking (atheists, agnostics, and adherents of other world religions).
2. The creation story
Presents several interpretations of Genesis chapters one and two (the origins of the universe, life and species), beginning with a traditional, literalist “Young Earth” (YE) view and then progressing through several more recent accommodative viewpoints which attempt to reconcile the Biblical texts with modern science. Conclusion: none of these fully explain the discrepancies, and we need further dialogue within the Christian community (chapter three) as well as between the theistic and atheistic viewpoints (chapter four).
3. The battle lines within the Christian community
Seven rebuttals frequently presented from the traditional, literalist YE viewpoint against the accommodative “Old Earth” re-interpretations, and the counter-arguments against those. Also presents a couple “messy problems” for the YE viewpoint. Conclusion: a YE view is problematic; acceptance of some form of OE view is much needed.
4. Theists versus atheists
Atheists need to recognize that they also exercise a substantial amount of faith in their worldview. Theists need to be aware of three major pitfalls or errors when they argue with atheists. Conclusion: neither faith nor science need to be the points on which theists and atheists divide themselves.
5. The human family tree and our attempts to find God
Humans have been searching for some kind of “Great Being” for several hundred thousand years, leading to a wide diversity of world religions which attempt to explain that “Great Being”. The impact that this has on traditional Christian thinking is explored in detail, particularly with respect to how Christians respond to other beliefs, as well as a re-interpretation of the Biblical “Adam”.
6. The Fall and Original Sin
A central tenet of Christianity is that all people inherit sin simply by being descendants of the Biblical Adam and Eve (because of the “biting into the apple” story in Genesis three). I present a different way to view that Biblical story, and a re-definition of “Original Sin”: the latter is symbolic of our natural tendency to be inwardly focused. Christianity calls us to fight against that selfish nature.
7. Other stories of Genesis
Looks at other anecdotes which have long been divisive because some Christians take them as literal history while other Christians look for a more liberal interpretation, and atheists scoff at both because of the bizarre or even offensive nature of those stories. Also explores the possibility that those stories may integrate myths from an ancient patriarchal Near Eastern society.
8. Putting Genesis into context
Explores the origins of the Bible. Puts a spot light on several claims about biblical texts which have been battlegrounds within the Christian community, including its inspiration, authorship, inerrancy and infallibility. The major conclusion is to promote a less stringent reading of those texts, and to see it more as the ‘diary’ or ‘notebook’ of humanity’s search for God.
Reinterprets the creation accounts, the position of Christianity within all of world history, and even the mission of Jesus Christ himself. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the reaction – both positive and negative – that this new viewpoint will undoubtedly elicit, as well as a core theology that a thinking Christian can hold on to.
All this for only $8.49 from www.amazon.com, plus shipping, and get it in a matter of days. (or if you’re in my vicinity, contact me and we’ll see if I can get it to you without the shipping charges)
electronic / Kindle version also available at www.amazon.ca for $0.99