The Big Question: Why We Can't Stop Talking About Science, Faith and God
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St. Martin's Press / 2015 / Hardcover
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The Big Question: Why We Can't Stop Talking About Science, Faith and God

St. Martin's Press / 2015 / Hardcover

In Stock
Stock No: WW077929


Product Description

One of the world's most prestigious experts on science and religion argues that there is a deeper convergence between the two than is usually appreciated; that the three great models of scientific explanation can also be adapted to religious belief; and that belief in God provides the bigger picture of reality, making sense of science's successes. 272 pages, hardcover. Palgrave Macmillan.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 1250077923
ISBN-13: 9781250077929

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Publisher's Description

Richard Dawkins's groundbreaking book The God Delusion created an explosion of interest in the relation of science and faith. This often troubled relationship between science and religion was seemingly damaged by the rise of the New Atheism, which insisted that science had essentially disproved not just God but also the value of religion. There is increasing skepticism towards its often glib and superficial answers; and the big questions about faith, God and science haven't gone away--in fact, we seem to talk about them more than ever.

Alister McGrath's The Big Question is an accessible, engaging account of how science relates to faith, exploring how the working methods and assumptions of the natural sciences can be theologically useful. McGrath uses stories and analogies, as well as personal accounts, in order to help readers understand the scientific and theological points he makes, and grasp their deeper significance. An extremely accomplished scientist and scholar, McGrath criticizes the evangelism of the New Atheists and paves a logical well-argued road to the compatibility between science and faith.

Some of his main discussion points include:
1. There is much more convergence between science and faith than is usually appreciated
2. How the three great models of scientific explanation can be adapted to religious belief
3. Belief in God provides a 'big picture' of reality, making sense of science's successes

Author Bio

ALISTER MCGRATH is a scholar in the interaction of theology and the sciences and currently holds the post of Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, the world's most prestigious academic position dedicated to the exploration of the relation of science and faith. McGrath is author of many books on theology and religion, including The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine. He lives in Oxford, UK.

Editorial Reviews

"McGrath, a crackling storyteller...points out that both science and religion involve the search for meaning, and that "interweaving the narratives" of science and religion can help us to understand the richness and complexity of the universe and human nature." —Publisher's Weekly

"Those interested in the relationship between science and faith will find this to be an excellent resource. —Library Journal

“Lucidly explaining the evolution of both scientific and religious ideas, McGrath demonstrates the false dichotomy of the too-often joined battle between them. He argues persuasively that each provides a different, but powerful "lens" through which we comprehend more clearly our universe and the human condition. Rather than fomenting the rivalry between science and religion, he shows that we need not forego either.” —Susan Hockfield, 16th President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“It would be nice to think that this elegant, wide-ranging and superbly balanced and intelligent book might put an end to the phoney war between faith and science; but we should probably not hold our breath, given the investment of energy that still prevails in the marketing and parroting of fashionable myths about their enmity. But it will provide a deeply useful guide for any believer in search of facts and arguments to counter this mythology - and also, we can hope, a salutary shock to anyone who has simply taken for granted the received unwisdom on this subject. Another splendid contribution from Alister McGrath to the intellectual and imaginative treasury of belief.” —Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

“Another deeply felt entry on two divergent, yet ultimately compatible, ways of engaging the world and understanding reality.” —Kirkus Reviews

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  1. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Encouragement to explore the confluence of science and faith
    November 29, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Despite predictions by outspoken atheists that belief in God would fade away, it hasn't. Why?

    Science has its limits, McGrath says. It can't answer questions like why we are here, or what the point of life is. We humans want answers to those questions so there is a deeper quest the quest for God.

    McGrath shares his own progression, his growing realization that belief in God made a lot more sense of things than my atheism. (8) He rejects the dogmatic view that one must choose science over religion, based mostly on historical myths. He offers an alternative approach that welcomes the confluence of science and faith.

    I like his approach to science, quoting Eugenie Scott, then director of the National Center for Science Education, 'Science neither denies nor opposes the supernatural, but ignores the supernatural for methodological reasons.' (19)

    McGrath asks us to consider another way of thinking about science and faith. He has found it to be deeply satisfying and says it is worth exploring. He shares his own quest for an integrated understanding of reality. He writes about the personal nature of scientific knowledge and how Christian faith made far more sense of what he saw around him than atheism did.

    Some criticize Christian faith because it is untestable. McGrath identifies scientific theories that explain but are untestable, like M-theory and the multiuniverse theory. Such theories are valued (though debated) because they provide a way of seeing things that makes sense of observations. (72) He notes the parallel to Christianity untestable but explaining our observations.

    Some said Darwinism was a way to finally get rid of God. McGrath reviews the major themes from Darwin's work, including the idea that humans are more than their components. He writes about the limits of science, such as it not being able to inform us about morality. Science is a tool used for specific purposes, he says. When used for something else it does not work.

    McGrath emphasizes that he is not trying to defend either science or Christianity. He is rather encouraging readers to see how they might intertwine and interconnect. This book, he writes, represents a plea for dialogue, opening the door to an enriched vision of reality. (207) There is much yet to discuss, he says. This book paints with a broad brush and there are many important questions that still need to be investigated.

    I highly recommend this book to those seeking to find and explore a coherent and satisfying understanding of the world in which we live, learning from the strengths and weaknesses of both science and faith. (11)

    Food for thought:

    And like it or not, the idea of God remains one of the simplest, most elegant and most satisfying ways of seeing our world. (89)

    Science is a vitally important tool for investigating our world and living within it. But it illuminates only part of the picture, not the whole picture. To think otherwise is a delusion. And we need that whole picture if we are to live authentic and meaningful lives. (182)
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