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Through a Glass Darkly: Journeys through Science, Faith and Doubt [9781529327601]

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In what he anticipates will be his final book, respected scientist and theologian Professor Alister McGrath shares the story of a life spent in pursuit of truth: first through the discipline of science, then in tandem with the Christian faith he found as a young man.

In Through a Glass Darkly Professor McGrath shares at length and for the first time how exactly he moved from atheism to faith while studying natural sciences at Oxford University, and how each discipline has informed the other throughout his life. This is a rich, inspiring read from one of today's greatest public theologians.

 

Praise for Through a Glass Darkly:
"An intellectual thriller" John Lennox
"A compelling story, at once readable and profound" Rupert Shortt

Praise for Alister McGrath's other books:
"McGrath's style is scholarly yet accessible and engaging" The Independent (Inventing the Universe)

PREACH REVIEW:

When training for youth ministry, I read – with some trepidation – Christian Theology: An Introduction. What I loved about this huge tome was how accessible and engaging McGrath made doctrine appear. It has then been a joy to read Through a Glass Darkly. The clarity of voice is there, but this time applied to his own journey with science and faith. McGrath’s desire is to know how stuff works but more significantly why, alongside the belief that there must be more: ‘My heart seemed to be drawn intuitively towards something that lay beyond my reason, as if it were a compass needle drawn to the magnetic north.’ (page 17)

And so McGrath invites us on the journey of scientific and theological discovery – voraciously reading anything that will increase his understanding – until Karl Popper shakes his thinking about the certainty of scientific discovery: ‘If Popper was right … I would have to come to terms with the awkward reality that all scientific knowledge is provisional, conjectural and hypothetical.’ (page 43)

We travel through the dizzying twists and turns of McGrath’s academic career, featuring both Oxford and Cambridge. It seems the more he discovers and achieves, the more he wrestles with uncertainty. In the midst of his own questions, he also questions practices and teaching he is receiving, especially from the Church of England as he prepares for ordination.

Towards the final section, McGrath shares some of the gold he has sifted out. He looks at where he has come from and where he has got to and says this: ‘I was once shipwrecked on a strange island of faith; I have now become its long-time resident, taking pleasure in showing new arrivals around its landmarks...’ (page 140)

McGrath describes using multiple maps of reality for showing how science and faith enhance one another. When he explores the irrationality of faith and waxes lyrical about St Patrick’s faith, I find his writing to be its most compelling and illuminating.

There is so much to enjoy here – from lessons learnt by an outstanding theologian, to the nudges not be satisfied, not to settle for a glib answer but to probe and explore as we make our own journeys.

Preach magazine book review by Ali Campbell

Youth and children’s ministry consultant, Twitter @AliCampbell_68, Facebook @alitheresource, theresource.org.uk

Hear Alister McGrath on Preach YouTube in Q&A with Ian Buchannan (LWPT/Preach) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mnoqv_Ofl2Q&feature=youtu.be


AUTHOR: Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford. After initial academic work in the natural sciences, Alister turned to the study of theology and intellectual history, while occasionally becoming engaged in broader cultural debates about the rationality and relevance of the Christian faith. He is the author of many academic and theological works, as well as the bestselling The Dawkins Delusion and, most recently, his acclaimed C. S. Lewis - A Life.

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9781529327601
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9781529327601
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Author:
Alister McGrath
Publisher:
Hodder & Stoughton
Publication:
03-Sep-2020
Format:
Hardback
Pages:
240
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