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Deepest Differences A Christian-Atheist Dialogue

If you’re looking for clear-cut answers to difficult questions about God — or for your guy to score a quick knock-out of a toughened sparring partner — then this book is not for you. But if you’re open to an authentic, no-holds barred, respectful dialogue about one of life’s most important issues, then take up and read. There are no straw men here. Sparked by a chance meeting between two book-club acquaintances and their discussion of Kurt Vonnegut’s obituary, this dialogue between long-time Christian Jim Sire and forthright atheist Carl Peraino developed through extended email exchanges exploring minds and brains, science and morality, faith and reason, God and violence, doubt and rhetoric. You’ll find much to ponder, weigh and explore in this lively, down-to-earth book. A study guide is included if you wish to delve deeper into any of the issues raised. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Acknowledgments 9
    • Preface 11
    • Editorial Note 13
  • Part 1 Slipping into Dialogue 15
    • 1  Mozart, Bach and Vonnegut: Signals of Transcendence 17
    • 2  Signals Disallowed 18
    • 3  Vonnegut: Humanist or Nihilist 19
    • 4  Almost Human, and Sometimes Smarter 21
    • 5  Animal Morality 24
  • Part 2 From Morality to Worldview: The Argument Morphs 25
    • 6  Morality, the Divine and Everything Else 27
    • 7  An Objective Foundation for Morality 29
    • 8  Scientists and Religious Commitment 34
    • 9  A Colloquy on Morality 37
  • Part 3 The Theological Dimension: God in the Dock 43
    • 10  Good and Evil and the Character of God 45
    • 11  God Almighty 53
    • 12  God, His Human Creation and Heavenly Bliss 59
    • 13  God and Human Free Will 63
    • 14  Speculation: What If? It Seems to Me 64
    • 15  Carl’s Sabbath: A Personal Reflection 67
  • Part 4 Intelligent or Unintelligent Design 73
    • 16  Scientists and Intelligent Design 75
    • 17  Intelligent Design 76
    • 18  Unintelligent Design 81
    • 19  Passionately Antireligious 83
    • 20  Jim’s Sabbath: A Dizzy Dream 83
  • Part 5 Our Age: Sacred or Secular? 85
    • 21  Remembering Secularism 87
    • 22  Secularism Is Not Dead 87
    • 23  In Defense of Novak 89
  • Part 6 Doctorow: The Power of Doubt 93
    • 24  A Highly Evolved and Beautifully Stated Religious Point of View 95
    • 25  An Unbridgeable Gulf? 96
    • 26  Doctorow Reconsidered 97
    • 27  Doctorow: Pro and Con 100
    • 28  Battling the Antitechnological Spirits 105
    • 29  Computers Don’t Forgive 105
    • 30  Case Closed! 106
  • Part 7 The God Question Once Again 109
    • 31  Getting God Off the Hook 111
    • 32  A Colloquy on the God Hypothesis 115
    • 33  The Scandal of the Particular 126
    • 34  A Believer’s Crutch 131
  • Part 8 Rats and Humans: Minds andBrains 135
    • 35  Rat to Rat, Kindness Takes Hold 137
    • 36  Chimps Too Are Kind 138
    • 37  Show Me Kindness 138
    • 38  Minds Emerge from Brains 139
    • 39  Dualism Is Not Dead 140
    • 40  Subtle Distinctions 141
  • Part 9 The Source of Our Deepest Differences 145
    • 41  A Change of Focus 147
    • 42  A Way Forward 147
    • 43  Carl and Jim in Ancient Greece 149
    • 44  A Final Colloquy: On Faith and Reason 153
  • Part The Last Winding Down 169
    • 45  Enough Is Enough 171
    • 46  Sure Is! 172
    • Afterword: Agreeing to Disagree 173
    • Carl’s Comments 173
    • Jim’s Comments 176
    • Study Guide 184
    • Relevant Readings 193
    • Biographies 197
    • Subject Index 200