Item description for Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor And a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity by Preston Jones...
Overview Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin and history professor Preston Jones engage in a spirited debate on matters of science, religion, philosophy and Christianity. Honest, bare-boned and at all points articulate, this reproduction of Preston and Greg's actual email correspondence exemplifies true dialogue: a genuine quest for truth that is both good-willed and tenacious. But whose worldview is more plausible? You decide.
Publishers Description Greg Graffin is frontman, singer and songwriter for the punk band Bad Religion. 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.
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Preston Jones has been a U.S.-Canada Fulbright Scholar and a fellow of the Pew Program in Religion and American History. He publishes in both scholarly journals and national newspapers such as the "San Francisco Chronicle" and the "National Post" (Toronto). He completed his doctorate at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1999. He teaches history at John Brown University in Arkansas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor And a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity?
Open minded people only Mar 5, 2010
This book is a great exchange of emails from a punk rock fan/professor and a punk rock singer/professor. It is a great debate in different views on the search for the meaning of life from a christian's point of view and a naturalists point of view. It's a great read for anyone open to suggestion. I highly recommend it.
Great Book Sep 11, 2009
Preston did a great job editing this book. It worth every cent. I do recommend everybody to read it (mainly those fanatic religious people =P ). Congratulations for Preston and Greg for this healthy conversation.
The World Could Use More Respectful Dialogue Like This Sep 8, 2009
Two intelligent, articulate people discuss their conflicting worldviews. Preston gives a thoughtful defense of Christianity that is more intellectually sound than any I've heard before. Rather than preach at Greg or try to convert him, Preston forms a relationship with him. They listen to each other and genuinely try to understand one another rather than simply try to win the argument. This is an inspiring model for inter-faith dialogue.
the kind of thing the country needs Jul 25, 2009
With all the arguing in public over politics, religion, evolution, etc., what's rare is serious conversation. This book is an example of that. The writers go back and forth, disagreeing mostly, but working at understanding what the other is saying. It's not a debate. It's like two guys sitting down for lunch and having a serious conversation. There are some light moments, there are some heavy moments, but no hard feelings.
An interesting read, and a good introduction for people just getting interested in the topic Jul 19, 2009
I purchased this book for two reasons, one being that I'm a huge Bad Religion fan (and Greg Graffin fan, specifically), and the other because I've got an unquenchable thirst for information on the many different topics (sort of) discussed in this book.
Before I say anything else, I feel it's important for people to seriously consider Aranion's overview regardless of the single star rating, because I feel he's hit the nail on the head with his points.
But I'm going to give the book 4 stars because I think it's still useful for people who are generally interested in the topics, but feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of information out there. This book is a good place to start.
However, with that said, Jones makes reading a lot of the book very frustrating. I wasn't sure if I felt this way only because of my Atheistic bias, but it's true that Jones comes off as someone who really isn't sure what he's talking about. So often I've found myself hoping to find a great counter-point or response from Jones regarding something important Graffin had said, and instead he chooses to completely change the topic. I understand this book isn't really a debate, but some of the points Graffin makes are crucial in the ultimate argument versus Theism. There's that cliche' that Theism's ultimate weakness is knowledge, and Jones doesn't do a thing in this book to dispel that.
And again, the book just ends. The last fourth of the book's responses took place months apart from one another due to their increasingly busy schedules, and Graffin pretty much just admits he doesn't have enough time for it anymore.
So ultimately, the book is flawed, but I'm still glad Jones decided to make the emails public. It really is a great place for people to start.