Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Reason-Driven Life

I'm currently reading Robert's Price "The Reason-Driven Life". It is intended as a point by point response to Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life", which is a huge hit in the evangelical community and a book I have seen on the coffee tables of some of my relatives. If it had been written several years earlier, it would likely have been on my own coffee table. Anyway, I haven't read Warren's book, and I don't intend to.

That being said, you don't have to read 'The Purpose-Driven Life' to understand and appreciate 'The Reason-Driven Life'. That is, not if you were raised in just that sort of mainstream Evangelical atmosphere that eats up the words of people like Rick Warren. Unlike most other books written by non-believers critical of Christianity, this one specifically addresses the issues of the mainstream Evangelical Christian beliefs.

Some of the things I had issue with that Price addresses directly include:

  • The assumed virtue of narrow-mindedness in religious matters, since any thoughts or information that leads to 'doubt' could send one on the path to non-belief.

  • The notion of being 'in the center of God's will', as if you could read the mind of God.

  • The problem of evil, and the ways Evangelicals try to get God off the hook.

  • 'Let go and let God' as an abdication of one's one responsibilities and avoidance of those things that will come back and bite you eventually.

  • The idea that this life is just preparation for the afterlife and the ultimate 'final exam', where if you get some of the important questions wrong (such as: Who was Jesus?) you fail and will be sent to Hell.

  • The horrible justifications of Hell by Evangelicals, such as 'God doesn't send anyone to hell, they choose to go there!'

  • The short-circuiting of reason in favor of faith.

Robert Price brings both his experience as a formal fundamentalist and his long-time in-depth study of the Bible to bear on these questions and many more. This is a book I wish I would have gotten my hands on when I was just on my way out of Evangelical Christianity--it would have made the transition so much smoother. Reading this book brought back loads of memories of my own experiences of Christianity. The whole spiel about "It's not about me!" and "Let go and let God." I greatly recommend this book to anyone who has been raised in Evangelical Christianity.

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