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Is Belief in God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?:…

Is Belief in God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker…

by Preston Jones (Editor)

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This book was interesting, but it doesn't go anywhere. Neither party changes their mind or comes to a revelation. The question in the title is never posed, and therefore never answered. ( )
  cmbest524 | Aug 25, 2009 |
Unlike many people whose reviews I have read, I approach Is Belief in God Good, Bad, or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism, and Christianity (or, as I like to call it, the Book of the Inordinately Long Title) not as a fan of Greg Graffin and Bad Religion, but a student of Preston Jones. At first I was unsure whether I really wanted to buy a book by one of my profs lest I come off as a teacher's pet, but once I read about it I knew I had to read it. Most of you know the gist—Christian history professor and BR enthusiast Jones sent atheistic lead vocalist Graffin a fan letter, which began an exchange of e-mails between the two on such difficult topics as ... well, read the title again.

Given the format, it should come as no surprise that the prose isn't the greatest. What may be surprising to some readers is that it is not a very deep read, especially considering the subject. It certainly does not break any new ground. Additionally, Jones is quite ambiguous on a few points (Graffin, on the other hand, is direct and sometimes brutally honest). Still, it remains an interesting example of the interactions between well-educated people of different worldviews, and one that prompted me to add yet another book to my reading list: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, which Dr. Jones considers required reading, recommending it to Graffin alongside the four gospels! ( )
3 vote ncgraham | Mar 24, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0830833773, Paperback)

Greg Graffin is frontman, singer and songwriter for the punk band . He also happens to have a Ph.D. in zoology and wrote his dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism. Preston Jones is a history professor at a Christian college and a fan of Bad Religion's music. One day, on a whim, Preston sent Greg an appreciative e-mail. That was the start of an extraordinary correspondence.

For several months, Preston and Greg sent e-mails back and forth on big topics like God, religion, knowledge, evil, evolution, biology, destiny and the nature of reality. Preston believes in God; Greg sees insufficient evidence for God's existence. Over the course of their friendly debate, they tackle such cosmic questions as: Is religion rational or irrational? Does morality require belief in God? Do people only believe in God because they are genetically predisposed toward religion? How do you make sense of suffering in the world? Is this universe all there is? And what does it all matter?

In this engaging book, Preston and Greg's actual e-mail correspondence is reproduced, along with bonus materials that provide additional background and context. Each makes his case for why he thinks his worldview is more compelling and explanatory. While they find some places to agree, neither one convinces the other. They can't both be right. So which worldview is more plausible? You decide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

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