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If God Were Real: A Journey into a Faith…

If God Were Real: A Journey into a Faith That Matters

by John Avant

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have many very different beliefs than Avant but I did like some of his points. His examples and the goals he states seem kind of hokey. Parts of the book made me think, but I'm not sure it would have changed my mind if I didn't already agree with him.
  barefeet4 | May 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Avant speaks directly to Christians about the the truly revolutionary spirit at the heart of Christianity - the command to help the poor, defend the weak, to be selfless. He discusses many of the flaws and hypocrisy that nonbelievers often point at as evidence that while Christians say one thing, they often do something else. He even, refreshingly, argues that politics should not be the battlefield for Christians to fight for, but rather the spirit of mankind - i.e., attempts to outlaw behavior do nothing but alienate and drive people away from the church, while wasting the energy of believers when they could be taking tangible steps to convince, rather than to force, people to change their lives. I was totally on board with this argument, but Avant made two offhand comments about "homosexual marriage" that set me back a bit - I'm hoping he's not engaging in the standard two-facedness here of arguing that Christians should get out of politics on all the topics they don't have a chance of winning on, but keep on pushing when they still have a chance to limit the freedom of others. Just as the Catholic church doesn't recognize divorce, but divorce is still legal, Christians churches can refuse to perform gay marriages while still supporting their legalization. If Avant is arguing that Christian churches should get out of politics, EXCEPT in the case of gay marriage, he's speaking with a forked tongue.
  goldfishdevastation | Dec 14, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm certainly not the target audience for this book. I do not believe in God, and find most religions hypocritical. Even with this in mind, this book was just poorly written and constructed. It attempted too much, and accomplished very little. ( )
  reigners | Jan 5, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Initially, I found John Avant's book If God Were Real to be … terrible. A brief catalog of complaints: The language is sometimes repetitive and unsophisticated, and initially the ideas seemed similarly simplistic and unevolved. The introduction to the book—a story about the capacity for love and desire for a father figure in a much-abused little girl—seemed to be there solely to condition the reader, to manipulate emotions in order to preclude rational judgment. The inclusion of a long statement from the author's (adult) daughter, about her experiences as a committed Christian in the New York theater scene, felt naïve.

Then there's the devotion to god—or, more accurately for Reverend Avant, Jesus—that continued to present problems for me. I’m not a Christian, or even a Jew for Jesus; while I respect many of the principles Jesus espoused, I have never been able to get over the intellectual hurdle of the whole “son-of-god-in-man is god who died for our sins” construct. (Yes, yes, I know: it’s about faith.) To be fair, it must also be noted that I am clearly not Avant’s intended audience. This is a book written for Christians, so Avant's repetitive refrain that “we should all love Jesus” is, I can only assume, more appealing to a Christian audience.

However, my view of Avant and his book began to change, and rapidly, as I got further in. After the first chapter, Avant writes as a strong, passionate individual with a very definite, out-of-the-mainstream perspective on “organized” religion. He frames very clearly his objections to the contemporary "church" of Christianity: not the religion itself, but the ways in which it is interpreted and applied by the institutions that wave the banner most loudly. (This short poem, by a friend, gets the sentiment just right.) This is where the book is most successful, in aggressively engaging with the way that religious institutions often become more focused on themselves than on the values they espouse. While I will never share his passion for Jesus, I came to respect his faith and his logic.

(Read the longer version of this review here: http://www.thetruthasiseeit.com/2010/01/on-reality-of-god.html) ( )
  TTAISI-Editor | Jan 2, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If God Were Real is a study in pushing Christians to live their lives as if what they believed really mattered. In a style that is easy to read and engaging, John Avant makes an impassioned call for the people of the Church to leave the institution of religion behind and embrace their faith in a way that makes a difference - not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of those that are living in the communities around them. This book is great for a study with a group of people who are ready to change their surrounding community for God.
  iqs | Oct 7, 2009 |
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