Rational Faith by Stephen T. Davis
Is Christianity intellectually credible? Many in today’s academic world find Christian belief untenable. But nationally renowned philosopher Stephen Davis argues that belief in God is indeed a rational and intellectually sound endeavor. In Rational Faith, Davis collects a lifetime of rigorous reflection and critical thinking to appraise the most common objections to faith in the academy today.
“I wrote this book because, during my career as a philosophy professor at a secular institution, I encountered many Christian and non-Christian students who were deeply troubled by certain intellectual problems, difficulties, and criticisms of belief in God and/or belief in Christianity,” Davis said. “I wanted to show that there are credible answers to these problems.”
With a fair and open approach, Rational Faith takes up questions such as:
- Why believe in God?
- Is there any such thing as objective truth?
- Is the Bible’s picture of Jesus reliable?
- Was Jesus raised from the dead?
- Does evolution disprove Christianity?
- Can cognitive science explain religion?
- Is Christianity unique among the religions of the world?
- Do evil and suffering show that God does not exist?
- Can people be happy apart from God?
My review: 4 of 5 stars
I found Rational Faith to be intellectually stimulating, thought-provoking and a validation of my faith in Christ. This book may not convince non-believers of God’s existence or of the power of Christianity, but it does do a great deal to show that faith in God is not an irrational, superstitious, or out-dated belief that makes no sense in modern times. It shows quite the opposite. For intellectuals like myself who have sometimes struggled with apparent discrepancies between faith and science, Rational Faith goes a long way in clearing up those doubts. Davis’ reasoning is sound and logical, insightful and compelling. His writing style leans heavily on the academic, so it is not always easy to follow and is sometimes a bit dry, especially in the beginning. The book is short, so it covers topics briefly albeit well. I was pleased that Davis included a comprehensive guide to further reading at the end of the book. Rational Faith succeeds in proving the rationality of faith while also whetting the appetite for deeper study.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is conflicted between intellect and Christian belief. Rational human beings can and do believe in Christianity, and if the Bible is interpreted correctly, there is no conflict between it and modern science, logic, or any other academic discipline. A worthy read!
“The Christian motivation for tolerance is not that nobody has the objective truth but that Jesus told us to love all people and especially our enemies” (p. 20).
“Perhaps God intentionally created human beings with cognitive equipment and mechanisms that help bring about religious beliefs” (p. 116).
“Union with God is the highest human good” (p. 147).
“Unless God exists, our grounds for hope in the light of horrendous evil are limited indeed” (p. 148).
Stephen Davis (PhD, Claremont Graduate University) is the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. He specializes in the philosophy of religion and Christian thought, and he is the author or editor of over fifteen books, including Encountering Evil, Christian Philosophical Theology, and Disputed Issues. He has also written more than seventy academic articles and reviews.
Please note: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.