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God: The Oldest Question: A Fresh Look at Belief and Unbelief - And Why the Choice Matters [Paperback]

By William J. O'Malley (Author)
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Item description for God: The Oldest Question: A Fresh Look at Belief and Unbelief - And Why the Choice Matters by William J. O'Malley...

Does God exist? Is belief reasonable? William O'Malley examines the "oldest question" with a combination of rigorous gravity and irreverent humor. A Jesuit priest and prolific writer, O'Malley ranges widely through modern science, classical philosophy, literature and art, and the religious traditions of East and West in his compulsively readable inquiry into the "God question."

Publishers Description

Is the existence of God a reasonable premise? In this book, William O'Malley, SJ, examines this critical question and many other related questions with a rare combination of rigorous gravity and irreverent humor. A Jesuit priest and prolific writer, O'Malley delves into the existence of God by looking at modern science, classical philosophy, literature and art, and the religious traditions of East and West. "God: the Oldest Question" provides thoughtful answers for anyone looking to better understand their faith and what it all means.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Loyola Press
Pages   198
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.98" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.55"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2000
Publisher   Loyola Press
Edition  First Edition,  
ISBN  0829415157  
ISBN13  9780829415155  

Availability  0 units.

More About William J. O'Malley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William J. O'Malley, SJ, entered the Jesuits in 1951. He is the author of Why Be Catholic?, Clever Foxes and Lucky Klutzes, and Evolving a Soul. He is a professor of religion at Fordham University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about God: The Oldest Question?

The book I'd want on a desert island  Sep 10, 2007
Karen Armstrong may be a more prolific writer about religions and God but William J. O'Malley's book is more profound. It covers the most basic question of whether there is a Higher Intelligence vis-a-vis the major religions of the world as well as atheism.

Is not ponderous but still gives nice introductions to the worlds main religions so that you can go on to learn more if you want from other sources.

Just a wonderful book that inspires without preaching nor denigrating any of the religions. I refer over and over to it again when I'm in need of just reconnecting thru a scholarly publication to God.

I'd like another book just like it but I guess you can't improve or expand on perfection.

Enjoyed this book  Jun 26, 2004
It caused me to think & wonder, even beyond my own beliefs...strengthened my Catholic beliefs & helped me to appreciate others beliefs. A good book.
If the Pope were this Tolerant, I'd still be a Catholic  Dec 17, 2000
It's been 35 years since Fr. O'Malley was my favorite high school English teacher. Although I lost touch with him three decades ago, his unique voice is clear and familiar in this book -- wit, insight, scholarship, and respect for both your intelligence and your doubts. Grading your professor is awkward, but I'll try to be fair and frank as he always was.

"God: The Oldest Question" gets an A for its main task -- answering the questions, "Does God exist?" and "If so, what is God like?" O'Malley gives the modern, "sophisticated" doubter an intellectual and emotional basis to believe (again) in a transcendent-and-immanent Ultimate Reality -- with enough food for thought for both the right-side and left-side of the brain. He also does a masterful job of starting the reader on the search for what god is like -- mainly by desribing how peoples around the globe have approached and answered that question over the millennia. His respectful, clear and artful descriptions of the non-Western world's religions and spiritual traditions help to highlight our common threads and common needs.

O'Malley's metaphor of climbers on the Western Face and the Eastern Face working toward the same summit is especially apt and memorable. This is the one book I wish I could get my jaded Baby Boomer "confirmed athesist" friends to read, to shake them out of their fear of the words "spiritual" and "god".

However, "God: The Oldest Question" slips a bit, and only gets a "C" from me, when it comes to fulfilling the expectations of its subtitle, "A Fresh Look at Belief and Unbelief -- And Why It Matters." Like Fr. O'Malley, I am in awe at the feeling of an infant's fist around my finger. The experience does reassure me that we are more than chemicals and electrical impulses, and are part of something transcendent. But, O'Malley does not help me understand how that belief affects my daily life or my lifetime. Frankly, I was expecting another chapter or two while reading Chapter 9, on The Everyday God, and was rather surprised when I turned page 195 and the book had reached its end.

Maybe I brought too many of my own expectations to the book. Maybe the word "belief" is still attached to the words "organized religion" for me. I was looking for a reason to join a congregation again -- to feel a connection with others who are searching to know and understand god, and to be able to sing a hymn or read a prayer aloud in a church without feeling like a hypocrite. Instead, Fr. O'Malley has made me feel comfortable in seeking my own spiritual path up that Mountain without a catechism or set of rituals in my backpack.

Maybe that's what O'Malley had in mind in the first place (did I say he always was sly)-- making it okay to be an ex-Catholic who still wants to climb that mountain. I'll have to re-think that "C".

So, this is also the one book I wish my too-Catholic relatives and friends would read and take to heart -- the ones who believe that those who leave the Church are eternally damned, and who practice a faith and ritual that seems without joy and leaves no room for doubts.

This book was well worth my time. I hope Fr. O'Malley will write a book that tries to re-connect apostates like me with our former religion. I'll definitely read it, with the open, curious mind he helped form 35 years ago.


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