Item description for The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Daniel Taylor...
Overview Do you feel equally uncomfortable with closed-minded skepticism and closed-minded Christianity?
If so, then The Myth of Certainty is the book for you. Daniel Taylor suggests a path to committed faith that is both consistent with the tradition of Christian orthodoxy and sensitive to the pluralism, relativism and complexity of our time.
Taylor makes the case for the reflective, questioning Christian with both incisive analysis and lively storytelling. His brief fictional interludes provide an alternative way to explore key issues of belief and vividly depict the real-life dilemmas Christians often face.
Taylor affirms a call to throw off the paralysis of uncertainty and to risk commitment to God without forfeiting the God-given gift of an inquiring mind. Throughout he demonstrates clearly how much the world and the church need people--maybe people like you--who are willing to ask tough questions.
Publishers Description Do you feel equally uncomfortable with closed-minded skepticism and closed-minded Christianity? If so, then The Myth of Certainty is the book for you. Daniel Taylor suggests a path to committed faith that is both consistent with the tradition of Christian orthodoxy and sensitive to the pluralism, relativism and complexity of our time. Taylor makes the case for the reflective, questioning Christian with both incisive analysis and lively storytelling. His brief fictional interludes provide an alternative way to explore key issues of belief and vividly depict the real-life dilemmas Christians often face. Taylor affirms a call to throw off the paralysis of uncertainty and to risk commitment to God without forfeiting the God-given gift of an inquiring mind. Throughout he demonstrates clearly how much the world and the church need people--maybe people like you--who are willing to ask tough questions.
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.19" Width: 5.48" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jan 2, 2000
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830822372 ISBN13 9780830822379
Availability 0 units.
More About Daniel Taylor
Taylor is associate professor of English literature at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Daniel Taylor currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Daniel Taylor was born in 1948.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment?
For the Thinking, Honest Christian Jun 24, 2006
First written in 1986, this reprint edition (2000) is perhaps even more timely now. In some ways, Taylor was ahead of his time, or at east ahead of Evangelicals pondering post-modern issues like certainty and doubt.
To begin with, a warning--don't read this book if you have never faced your doubts. In this situation, "The Myth of Certainty" is certain to work on you emotionally--either causing you anger ("How dare he wonder about that!") or anxiety "Now I'm wondering about that . . .").
On the other hand, if you've ever allowed yourself the freedom and honesty to face your inner thoughts and feelings about your faith, then you are likely to say repeatedly while reading Taylor, "This guy is inside my head. How does he know that I secretly wonder about this stuff?" For folks like this, "The Myth of Certainty" is the proverbial breath of fresh air.
That said, you don't have to agree with all of Taylor's conclusions about faith, doubt, and certainty to benefit from his writing. He is a skilled writer and researcher. His vignettes add greatly to the pace of a rather philosophical tome. If you let him, he'll start you thinking and won't let you stop.
Finally, it may be wise to read Taylor "in company." Find a traveling companion, a spiritual friend, or a spiritual director who will allow you to ponder outloud as Taylor has.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and the forthcoming "Beyond the Suffering."
Not for everyone, but it was for me May 30, 2006
Taylor is an English professor and his writing varies between highly engaging (his little vignettes) to deeply philosophical. Although I occasionally found the philosophical pages slow-going because they were often so packed, the information was worth it.
One of Taylor's goals is to release the reflective Christian from his or her desire for certainty. This desire is natural but has driven many people to cynicism - doubt of everything. He points out that making decisions is risky because nothing is certain (unless one can grasp infinity). Life's decisions require faith in order to proceed. To do otherwise is to stand on the sidelines hurling insults at the players on the field. Being a Christian is not a decision to obtain certainty but a decision of commitment to a particular path. Those who refuse to commit (e.g., agnostics) are on the sidelines, failing to progress toward anything.
Kierkegaard - "The highest of all is not to understand the highest but to act upon it."
Facing our limitations May 6, 2006
I read this book resulting from a reference to it by Scott Peck in one of his books. I found similarities in my past experiences in life with Taylor's. I grew up in the "one and only true church of God" on this earth. All others were excluded. As one of my early seminary teachers taught me, "you have to know and know that you know the truths of God." Taylor points out that is myth, or a total misconception of our mental and spiritual capabilities in life as individuals struggling to know God.
If you are a maturing Christian with a several years of life under your belt you will find his book very thought provoking. I don't think one in his or her early Christian development will be able to identify with a lot of what he writes. It is not for those who are not from time to time faint of heart in their endeavors to find and worship God. There are some things difficult to accept for a young Christian. One ripe in his or her "first love" would not understand his saying-"It is painfully clear to me that I do not have absolute certainty that anything I believe is true. My reason is inadequate in these things to guide me to a sure conclusion; my emotions often fail me (not infrequently by their absence). "
If you are to the point in your Christian life where you find yourself doubting exactly what you know and just exactly how much you understand what is contained inside the pages of the Bible, you will find this book reassuring and supportive. You of course have to evaluate as I did when I read the book that I too was doing exactly what Taylor describes in the book we all do in building our own worldviews and "take" on God. "All ways of explaining the world tend to be self-verifying and self-sustaining." We through our own thought out or imagined belief system create God in our own mental imagings of Him. It can be no other way. We are products of our teachers and we must accept the responsibility we alone make those cognitive decisions in life which builds our faith, outlook toward God, and personal beliefs in what kind of God He is.
Any thinking and reflective person will recognize the wisdom in what he says. If we take the Bible stories we have which are have been recorded for our perusal, Jesus himself doubted and struggled with faith before his life ended. Matthew records Jesus last words as being, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Any way you slice this verse, the son of God is portrayed as confused at that point in his relationship with his heavenly father. How much more will we who never see or hear the invisible God struggle with our relationship with him. Taylor points out--that's okay. You're ordinary.
You will find it a good book to which you can return again and again and be reminded of its contents. Faith is probably framed on the skeleton of doubt. As Taylor says. Why would we need faith, if we had absolute understanding of reality. He has great quotes from Pascal and others on faith. One he doesn't have is that of Malcolm Muggeridge's wherein he said in his Christian experience that Christians seek "faith to bridge those chasms of doubt" in their lives. If you don't find a need for it now, come back on a rainy day in your life.
The myth of UNcertainty Mar 24, 2006
Question: Is Daniel Taylor *certain* that certainty is a myth?
I think Taylor's book is helpful to the degree that it prompts us to be more humble in our use of reason. But this does not mean that reason itself, as an existing reality apart from human beings, is innately flawed.
I believe the upshot of this kind of discussion is that there are, at bottom, a *few* things we *can* be certain about, and that pursuing those things, aided by the Holy Spirit, can lead us to, or enrich our, faith in Christ. And I believe Christ himself can then turn around and bless us with further certainty about other things.
Not intended to be an intellectual discourse Feb 17, 2006
Everything has already been said of the book, by both ends of the spectrum. I want to clarify that this book is not intended to be an intellectual discourse. It's meant for the reflective Christian who wrestles with doubt to the point of wounding. It speaks to an isolated group within the church whose members are often afraid to speak up, for fear of being accused of heresy or of being non-Christian. It says, "I hear you; we can still commit even as we hold out for the next bit of information that will completely change everything."
I think a quote from the Afterword best expresses it: "Although its total sales wouldn't equal a bad day in the marketing of a popular romance novel, I have been surprised and encouraged by the number of readers who have expressed their gratitude for the book. If there is a common theme to their letters it is a sense of relief at finding they are not alone. Many people enjoy solitude, but no healthy person enjoys isolation. It is no small thing to find that there are others in teh world who share your experience.
"Most encouraging to me are those who have indicated that the book has renewed their commitment to making a contribution to the church as reflective and sometimes wounded Christians. It is not that they feel either they or the church has greatly changed, but that they see their relationship to it in a different light. If the book keeps even a few within the body who would otherwise have wandered away, then we all will be the better for it and this work will have had value."