The latest Gallup poll continues to find that nearly 50% of Americans take a literal reading of the Bible: this puts the latter in direct conflict with science and contemporary society. Many young Christians leave their sheltered life at home and enter college or university, where they are confronted with a whole new worldview for which they are not at all prepared. All too often they end up leaving their Christian faith because it doesn’t fit with the world they’re moving into. Others may try to defend their faith in the workplace, the public marketplace or social settings, but only embarrass themselves and bring the Gospel into disrepute because they’re misinformed.
I myself was very nearly a casualty in the war between faith and science: I almost decided to give up my faith. I grew up with a very conservative traditional Christianity, one that took the Bible as literal, inerrant and infallible, but increasingly felt a gnawing cognitive dissonance with much of my day-to-day reality as questions about the Bible piled up. As I progressed through university studies, obtained professional degrees and joined faculty at a prestigious university, the conflict increased.
A few years ago, the kettle started to boil over. I had to find a way to reconcile my readings from the Old Testament, particularly the book of Genesis, with my reading from the morning newspaper. Especially where the two conflicted over matters of science, as well as matters of morality. In the process, I began to ask some seriously challenging questions about the nature of this book we call the Bible: its authority, inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility.
It was at this point that I very nearly gave it all up. I distinctly remember a sunny summer afternoon on the deck by our backyard pool, where I admitted to my wife “I think I might be an agnostic”.
But then I found an entirely new perspective from which to view the Bible. By taking the very same text, but just handling it a little differently … recognizing that humans were involved from start to finish in the writing, copying and distribution processes, and the implications of that … I could now move forward with my faith. I was no longer silenced by certain questions from those opposed to the Gospel.
Now I want to share the lessons of that journey through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’.
My primary target audience for this book is people who struggle to harmonize their own religious beliefs with the world of science. A large proportion will be students in high schools, colleges or universities throughout North America.
It will also be highly relevant to more mature readers: community bookshelves are full of titles pertaining to people seeking spiritual meaning and alternatives to traditional, main-stream religion.
Finally, this book will also be an invaluable tool to religious leaders (such as pastors, youth leaders and counsellors) when they’re approached by their adherents with scientific and intellectual questions in this arena.
For a general synopsis of the nine chapters in this book, click here
For a list of the diverse questions addressed in the book, click here