God, Science, And Reason, by Michael Bunner
[Note: This book was provided for free by Author Blog Tours, in exchange for an honest review.]
It is unclear exactly what audience that Michael Bunner is aiming for with this lengthy book. God, Science, And Reason consists of four books in one that together take up nearly 400 pages including notes. The first of these books is written to and for skeptics, honest searchers for truth who appear to be equally turned off both by “dogmatic Christians” and rabidly irrational atheists. The second of these books is written for those rabidly irrational atheists. The third book, by far the shortest, is written for “dogmatic Christians,” which the author defines as Young-Earth Creationists, blaming them for making Christians appear to be ignorant and anti-science. The fourth book is written as a general defense of mind-body dualism and of miracles as a demonstration of spiritual truth through physical acts.
I say that it is unclear what audience that Michael Bunner is aiming for becuase this book is not likely to attract members of either of the three audiences which receive specific targeted mini-books. Mind-body dualism is not likely to attract an honest skeptic to either the claims of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and the bogus philosophical claims that underly their irrational and inconsistent worldview (such readers are likely to appreciate intelligent design books from people like Denton and Behe and Dembski and others like them far more). Likewise, it is likely to receive nothing but derision from thin-skinned atheists who are not likely to appreciate having their worldview punctured so brutally honestly. Also, young-earth creationists are not likely to appreciate being taken to task by someone equally as dogmatic as they are, but simply from a different camp within the Creationist community. Even people (like myself) who could be thought to be in broad agreement with the author as Chrisitan intellectuals of an “Old Earth” Creationist mentality are likely to find much to criticize. For example, the author’s facile assumption of the “logical” nature of the Trinity struck this reader as being particularly illogical and irrational, but I expected nothing less.
Unless a reader particularly enjoys being insulted or reading intelligent and witty but sharp barbs directed at others, it is likely only the fourth and final section of this book that is likely to be of interest. As the first three parts of the book are written in the second person, making its sharp language seem even more heated and personal, it is likely that few readers will endure to the end and appreciate the best part of what this book has to offer. Those who do endure to the end will read an intriguing analysis of miracles, along with a very scholarly and insightful appreciation of the symbolism of Gospel passages and their Hebrew antecedents. The author has shown himself to be immensely well-read in polls of young Millennials in their late teens and twenties, the incoherent and inconsistent works of New Atheists who use their free will to denounce free will and show their high regard for reason and logic by their belief and practice of irrationality and illogic, and the works of Young Earth Creationists who desperately try to marry a particular interpretation of the Bible with a particular view of Creation Science that makes God out to be a somewhat deceptive being giving the appearance of great age for a universe that is apparently so young. As might be expected, none of the three audiences come off looking particularly well, but in the meantime, the author himself is shown to be a bit mean spirited and guilty of a fair bit of intellectual arrogance, which is something that never comes off well in text (I should know!). That approach and tone outweigh the author’s considerable knowledge and expertise in dealing with matters of philosophy.
It is unfortunate that I have to give this book such a mixed review, as I had high hopes entering into the book. That said, perhaps it might be good for the author to seek to have the last part of the book published as a smaller and standalone pamphlet, where it might come off far better without the distractions as being part of a work that seems to be largely absent the grace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom the author claims to follow. The last section appears vastly more gracious and deserves a fair hearing without readers being insulted for the previous 300 pages, and that might require some follow-up work by the author. However, in looking at the book as it is, one can say that it is witty, it is certainly combative and part of the larger cultural debate, but that it is likely to please few people, unless the reader shares the author’s love of combative prose and the author’s very strong and dogmatic worldview.