Sunday, July 11, 2010


Belief-Francis S. Collins
HarperOne, 2010
312 pages
Essays; Inspirational

Source: Library

Summary: An anthology exploring faith and visiting the works of many brillaint thinkers including those expected as CS Lewis and St. Augustine as well as the unexpected like Dorothy Sayers.

Thoughts: The book is divided in to different sections with essays relating to a particular theme are grouped together. Originally I was just going to share my favorites but since I loved almost all of them, I decided to go through each and highlight particular thoughts. The first is a selection from NT Wright introducing thoughts on justice and spirituality. I enjoyed it a lot.

The second section is classic essays about faith from such philosophers as Plato, Augustine, and Pascal. I had a lot of trouble reading these because the style is so different from what I'm used to. The nice thing about this book though is that you can skip around and just read however much you want. I struggled through these difficult sections though and I think I learned a lot.

The third section is called "The Meaning of Truth" and this was a very good section, probably my second favorite. OS Guinness has a beautiful selection from his book Time for Truth which has jumped on to my to-read list. Madeleine L'Engle takes a personal approach to truth, sharing many examples from her own life. And Dorothy L Sayers (probably best known for her Lord Peter mysteries) wrote an entertaining essay including a "review" of the book of John and ending with a poem on truth.

Then there is "Loving God With All Your Mind" goes back to the Scripture: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" -Matthew 22:37 and stresses the last which has a tendency to be overlooked.

Next "Faith and the Problem of Evil and Suffering," which was probably my favorite section and the one that hit me the most. Art Lindsley, Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel wrote so clearly and made so much sense to me. I don't want to blather about it but it was good.

"Faith and the Cry of Justice" was also a good section as it shows the ways in which the church has failed to respond to injustice but also how it has fought for it.

"The Harmony of Science and Faith" was an important section for me. It features two selections from two physicians who have wrestled with the intersection of science and faith. My college Christian community has struggled with spreading the Word because of the presumed gap between science and faith expressed by many college students.

"Miracles, Longing, and Mysticism" features CS Lewis among others, making this a fabulous section. Lewis's essay is about miracles and our perceptions around such. Alister McGrath incorporated excerpts from stories about two of my favorite detectives and Thomas Merton shared briefly about mysticism.

Then we have "Love and Forgiveness as Pointers to God" with selections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was killed by the Nazis and Viktor Frankl who survived four Nazi concentration camps inspiring me with their deep insights. Mother Teresa also has several writings that convict me of selfishness to finish out the chapter.

"Voices from the East" has selections from Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, offering different perspectives on faith informed by their experiences in the East rather than the Western mindset of most of the other contributors.

The last section is titled "The Irrationality of Atheism" and was one I was particularly intrigued by. But I interpreted the title differently. I was hoping for more of an apologetic approach while they showed logical inconsistencies and flaws in the atheistic approaches.

Overall: I'm feeling pretty good about this so I'm going to say 5/5.

Cover: I was attracted by the simple orange spine peeking out at me on the shelves. I'm not entirely sure why orange but it is an unconventional choice.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I am interested in reading this book myself. If I see it in a library and feel like reading something a bit more serious, this will definitely be my choice. Thanks for sharing!


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