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The Myth of Certainty: Trusting God, Asking Questions, Taking Risks [Tapa blanda]

Daniel Taylor

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Book by Taylor Daniel

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Opiniones de clientes más útiles en Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  25 opiniones
27 de 29 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Balancing Intellectual Honesty with Christian Commitment 5 de diciembre de 2000
Por david peale - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
A fascinating, thought-provoking, intellectually honest apologetic for the Christian faith. While clearly elucidating the finitude of the human being and the subsequent impossibility of obtaining certainty, it nevertheless does not epouse the paraylsis of inaction. Probably the best written and interesting explaination that I have read, of the truism that for belief to be belief, it cannot contain absolute knowledge (i.e. certainty). It is comforting to find other Christians who realize that this lack of certainty does not impair or prevent faith in God, but is instead a fundamental part of faith, and even vital and strengthening to it.
The Myth of Certainty also does an excellent job of showing how the questioning intellectual Christian often finds himself or herself at odds, both with the conservative church for the very act of questioning, and with the secular, intellectual world of ideas for trying to incorporate into itself, a personal faith (which it incorrectly and illogically presumes to be contradictory); the reflective Christian, a starling with no place to call home.
Perhaps its most encouraging element, however, is a balm for the many Christians out there who have been attacked and deeply wounded by the Church or fellow Christians (often, all the more deep a wound because it came from the one place you would not expect it, however naive this may be). The author, clearly having been wounded himself, as have many of us, myself included (especially?), offers a compassionate empathy, while humbly and clear-sightedly reminding us that the Church is comprised merely of humans, with the same struggles, short-comings, and blindspots that each of us undeniably has. In light of this, he urges us not to give up on the Church, but to strive to contribute to it, to help improve it, to make it more of a source of healing and less of a cause for hurt.
I deeply enjoyed this book because it helped ease the sense of isolation that I think many reflective Christians feel ("Does anyone in this world understand me?"). While appealing to my sense of intellectual honesty (and perhaps intellectual elitism) on the one hand, it simultaneously humbles me and reminds me that I am just as much a fallen and wretched creature as anyone is, and that inaction is simply not a viable choice. I would suggest this book to anyone that is serious about reflecting deeply and honestly on his or her faith. Attempting to understand that one can believe faith to be absolutely true, without incorrectly claiming to possess this knowledge with certainty.
11 de 11 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Facing our limitations 6 de mayo de 2006
Por Jack Pyle - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
I read this book resulting from a reference to it by Scott Peck in one of his books. I found similarities in my past experiences in life with Taylor's. I grew up in the "one and only true church of God" on this earth. All others were excluded. As one of my early seminary teachers taught me, "you have to know and know that you know the truths of God." Taylor points out that is myth, or a total misconception of our mental and spiritual capabilities in life as individuals struggling to know God.

If you are a maturing Christian with a several years of life under your belt you will find his book very thought provoking. I don't think one in his or her early Christian development will be able to identify with a lot of what he writes. It is not for those who are not from time to time faint of heart in their endeavors to find and worship God. There are some things difficult to accept for a young Christian. One ripe in his or her "first love" would not understand his saying-"It is painfully clear to me that I do not have absolute certainty that anything I believe is true. My reason is inadequate in these things to guide me to a sure conclusion; my emotions often fail me (not infrequently by their absence). "

If you are to the point in your Christian life where you find yourself doubting exactly what you know and just exactly how much you understand what is contained inside the pages of the Bible, you will find this book reassuring and supportive. You of course have to evaluate as I did when I read the book that I too was doing exactly what Taylor describes in the book we all do in building our own worldviews and "take" on God.

"All ways of explaining the world tend to be self-verifying and self-sustaining." We through our own thought out or imagined belief system create God in our own mental imagings of Him. It can be no other way. We are products of our teachers and we must accept the responsibility we alone make those cognitive decisions in life which builds our faith, outlook toward God, and personal beliefs in what kind of God He is.

Any thinking and reflective person will recognize the wisdom in what he says. If we take the Bible stories we have which are have been recorded for our perusal, Jesus himself doubted and struggled with faith before his life ended. Matthew records Jesus last words as being, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Any way you slice this verse, the son of God is portrayed as confused at that point in his relationship with his heavenly father. How much more will we who never see or hear the invisible God struggle with our relationship with him. Taylor points out--that's okay. You're ordinary.

You will find it a good book to which you can return again and again and be reminded of its contents. Faith is probably framed on the skeleton of doubt. As Taylor says. Why would we need faith, if we had absolute understanding of reality. He has great quotes from Pascal and others on faith. One he doesn't have is that of Malcolm Muggeridge's wherein he said in his Christian experience that Christians seek "faith to bridge those chasms of doubt" in their lives. If you don't find a need for it now, come back on a rainy day in your life.
14 de 15 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Voice of Reason 29 de diciembre de 2000
Por Bonnie Blossom - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
My badly tattered hardback copy of Traylor's book bespeaks the use and reuse it has received since I first purchased it in the late 80's. As a graduate student in literature, I long struggled with many of the issues discussed, along with many of my Christian colleagues, and I loaned this book out after numerous conversations in which we shared our frustrations at being "caught in the middle."
With this reprint, Traylor, at the very least, can continue to give those like-minded readers a name while addressing our situations. He appeals to the reader's spiritual side, giving voice to many of the frustrations we share and helping to make us feel less isolated; at the same time, he does not neglect the intellectual side, providing us with a rational way of coping with our questions.
This is not to say he gives easy answers. With refreshing restraint in a world too full of authors with the solution, Traylor is instead comfortable with providing a thorough discussion of the issue in a clear and readable style. His narrative vignettes are often humerous, and the expository discussions are both reasoned and subtle. Much like his protagonist, Traylor is engaged in a quest for balance, and he shares the experience with us.
With the new focus within academe on multicultural education, Traylor's work further helps to elucidate a growing concern: the place of religion of spirituality and religion in the discussion and curriculum. Books such as "Surviving Diversity" and essays such as "The Hollow Curriculm" by Sollod are only now beginning to address issues that Traylor raised far earlier. This book is essential for educators, critics, and anyone committed to Christ yet unsure of the play between his or her faith and reason.
While the original book disappeared off my shelf some time ago, victim no doubt of a forgetful colleague, I have often referred back to it in my memory. I am so pleased at this reprint that I'm purchasing two copies--one to lend, but one to keep!
21 de 25 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Provokes Depth Among Reflective Christians 5 de diciembre de 2002
Por A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
"The Myth of Certainty" by Daniel Taylor encourages the reflective Christian, the one whose faith is such that he is willing to ask the hard questions. Like C. S. Lewis', "A Grief Observed," Taylor is free to acknowledge sometimes he has doubts in the midst of his faith. This paradox, says Taylor, is an indication of great faith, and through this questioning, the Christian can become strong, and more capable of serving God. The reflective Christian, with a tested faith, has a more honest witness.

To start the book, Taylor asks 16 questions. Reader of Mark Noll's "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind," will resonate with many of them, like #4, "Have you ever felt intellectually embarrassed to admit you were a Christian?"

Taylor is a literary man, citing writers as far ranging as Hopkins, Eliot, Pascal, and even Lenny Bruce ("People are leaving churches and returning to God"). I suspect his intention was to broaden and challenge readers who might be in accord with the quote, but not the one quoted.

He introduces Alex Adamson, a fictitious man who exists to establish anecdotes and parables quite effectively. As Luci Shaw is quoted in a back cover blurb, "I recognize myself on every page." Alex struggles with existentialism, moral choices, and all kinds of philosophical dilemmas common to our modern generation.

Taylor is critical of both liberal Christianity's allowal of the secular world to determine their agenda, and of conservative Christianity's too often denial of free thinking. Also, the secular world, he contends, only allows Christianity so long as it doesn't affect your judgments. He dashes off no easy answers, but enters into a compelling dialogue with the reader.

Taylor's message in "The Myth of Certainty," is like Mark Twain's in "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg" that our personal and corporate faith as a Christian needs to be challenged, that it must be reflective, and never arrogantly complacent, lest it be built on sandy soil. The risk of asking -- even as a mature Christian believer -- "What is Truth?" is far less than the risk of ignoring the depth found in discovering truth.

I fully recommend this as both personal reading, and in a small group book study context.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
9 de 10 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas For the Thinking, Honest Christian 24 de junio de 2006
Por Robert W. Kellemen - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda|Compra verificada
First written in 1986, this reprint edition (2000) is perhaps even more timely now. In some ways, Taylor was ahead of his time, or at east ahead of Evangelicals pondering post-modern issues like certainty and doubt.

To begin with, a warning--don't read this book if you have never faced your doubts. In this situation, "The Myth of Certainty" is certain to work on you emotionally--either causing you anger ("How dare he wonder about that!") or anxiety ("Now I'm wondering about that . . .").

On the other hand, if you've ever allowed yourself the freedom and honesty to face your inner thoughts and feelings about your faith, then you are likely to say repeatedly while reading Taylor, "This guy is inside my head. How does he know that I secretly wonder about this stuff?" For folks like this, "The Myth of Certainty" is the proverbial breath of fresh air.

That said, you don't have to agree with all of Taylor's conclusions about faith, doubt, and certainty to benefit from his writing. He is a skilled writer and researcher. His vignettes add greatly to the pace of a rather philosophical tome. If you let him, he'll start you thinking and won't let you stop.

Finally, it may be wise to read Taylor "in company." Find a traveling companion, a spiritual friend, or a spiritual director who will allow you to ponder outloud as Taylor has.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care And Spiritual Direction, and Soul Physicians.
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