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Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith…

Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics

by Jonathan Dudley

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Science. Faith. Politics. Three universal concepts with a compendium of diverse denominational meanings - but that does not mean that viewpoints within these topics do not overlap. Why do some Christians believe abortion, homosexuality and evolution are against God's commandments and teachings, while others are taught to accept these practices and ideas? Why does there have to be a right or wrong? Author Jonathan Dudley exposes and explains the misinterpretations and misuses of these concepts throughout history, and in today's ever-changing world.


Broken Words is an in-depth, insightful, honest and equal-sided look into abortion, homosexuality, environmentalism and evolution throughout evangelical/Christian history. Given my educational and religious background, I was very interested to hear someone else's thoughts on these matters, especially since most books on the subject seem so "one-sided". I was surprised to learn that the author was so young, yet so mature and experienced in his writing and convictions. His to-the-point analysis of the bible and evangelical history were engaging and unbiased. I have often wondered why the meanings of certain passages in the Bible were so skewed, and his well researched explanations helped me to gain a better understanding. I consider myself a Christian - nondenominational - and Jonathan Dudley's arguments against the religious taboos of abortion, homosexuality, and evolution closely resemble my own. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered why science, faith and politics are so defiant in their attempts of agreement. I am excited by the prospect of another book by this author, and wish him much luck with his MD at JHU-SM!

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Crown Publishers) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ( )
  Allizabeth | Apr 22, 2012 |
Who would have a better idea about the views of certain religious sectors than someone who has experienced them? This author has a good balance of what applies as a religious aspect and what is more cultural or should be addressed with science in mind. This author heavily promotes science and logical thought, the reader will likely find his arguments engaging and interesting. The reader will likely admit his arguments contain merit.

Can political forces manipulate religion in their favor? Of course! The author explains his views on this clearly and expertly to the reader. His opinions are kept at that-opinions. He does not push the reader too much to accept his opinions, though he does use scientific theories-ones that the reader would be hard pressed to deny. Overall, this book was very informative and analytical-this book is not meant to be an easy or light read. The book is best for adult readers. ( )
  Krystal18 | Nov 13, 2011 |
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Dudley's is a familiar story. Raised a conservative evangelical Christian, he learned "that abortion is murder; homosexuality, sin; evolution, nonsense; and environmentalism, a farce." But from childhood, he doubted, and when he went to Calvin College to study biology, he discovered that scholarly evangelical opinion on the "big four" issues differed markedly from popular evangelical culture (i.e., the religious Right). Acquiring a master's in religion before starting medical school, he prepared very well to write this critique of popular evangelicalism's stances on the big four. In chapters on each, he shows not so much that the popular evangelical stances are wrong as that they are neither the only ones in Christian theology nor historically well established. Moreover, the framework of knowledge, assumptions, and culture within which popular evangelicals interpret scripture and science isn't the same as those of scholarly conservative or liberal evangelicals. Dudley clearly feels discussion, reasoning, and reconciliation rather than intransigence and rigid partisanship ought to be characteristic of popular evangelicals. Excellent argumentation, by no means only, though especially, for evangelicals.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385525265, Hardcover)

Abortion. Homosexuality. Environmentalism. Evolution. Conservative positions on these topics have divided American politics and defined mainstream evangelical Christianity. But what if the strongest arguments against popular evangelical stances on these issues come from evangelical Christianity itself?
Growing up as an evangelical Christian, Jonathan Dudley was taught that abortion is murder, homosexuality sin, evolution nonsense, and environmentalism a farce. He learned to accept these conclusions--the "big four"--as part of the package deal of Christianity. Yet, when he began studying biology at the evangelical Calvin College and theology at Yale Divinity School, Dudley's views started to change. He soon realized that what he had been told about the Bible--and those four big issues involving scripture and biology--may have been misconstrued and that what so many Christians believe about key social and political issues may be wrong. 
Arguing against absolutism on abortion and opposition to embryonic stem cell research, Dudley shows that most Christian theologians throughout history, including Augustine, Aquinas, and even American evangelicals up until the 1980s, have believed that life does not begin at conception. He argues that evangelical opposition to gay marriage has more to do with allegiance to socially conservative cultural values than allegiance to the Bible. He demonstrates that traditional Christian valuations of science, as well as scientific evidence itself, should lead evangelicals to accept evolution and reject both creationism and intelligent design. And he surveys how evangelicals are changing their minds about environmentalism, and how this development supports a new way of thinking about the Bible. Throughout the book, Dudley, now an M.D. student at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, also illustrates the scientific problems with popular evangelical views. 

In the process, he lays the groundwork for a new generation of post-Religious Right evangelical political activists, who believe in evolution, rally behind the environmental movement, are moderate on abortion, and support gay marriage--and who are more faithful to orthodox Christianity than their counterparts.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -0400)

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