I've been following Dr. Ehrman for several years now, and I've enjoyed listening to his interviews (especially on Fresh Air with Terry Gross). He's a wealth of knowledge, and he understands Christianity as an ex-insider. Unfortunately, his writing style in "God's Problem" undermines the authority of his scholarly credentials. The references to wine varietals and microbrews trivialize the weight of his scholarship. His many extra-biblical examples of suffering do the same. Readers shouldn't need to be convinced that suffering is a real problem. Feeling it necessary to convince us, one time should have been enough, but he lists social problems ad nauseum. Some are compelling, but all detract from the gravity of the theological issue. The autobiographical portions likewise weaken the tone of his authority. But "God's Problem" does drive home the central issue of the problem of suffering, and I applaud any effort to awaken people to the deficiencies of religion. Unfortunately, religious people are not likely to fairly consider Ehrman's reading of Scripture.
Dr. Ehrman ignores related philosophical problems such as free will, casually asserting its existence. This is unfortunate. I hope that readers will supplement their study of the subject with other sources.
Finally, I did not enjoy L.J. Ganzer's narration. It seemed to highlight the text's tonal deficiencies.
From historical atrocities to modern atrocities, from Judaism to Christianity to Islam, from terror to charity, Harris makes the case that religion is not just wrong, it's dangerous. He offers an alternative: rational, phenomenological exploration of consciousness. Far from academically laborious, "The End of Faith" is a perfect introduction to the atheist movement or a great source for those already knowledgeable. Very compelling, but will it change any minds? Are religious people open to correction?
Christopher Hurt's narration is exceptionally good. For a 52-hour commitment, this is very important. I find Rand's ideas about economics compelling, but I wonder about the plight of the disabled in her utopia. It's all well and good for the capable; but what of the handicapped if we aren't to "live our lives for the benefit of others?" Rand assumes the reality of meaningful free will, which is a tenuous doctrine. What I applaud most is Rand's distrust of governmental intervention, which tends toward the horror of a directed economy. May we never forget the benefits we've reaped from our profit-driven, free economies nor the unchosen suffering of the disabled and disadvantaged. And may we always follow empirical, rational reasons in deciding about matters of great importance, like economics.
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