3 out of 4 stars
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God Versus The Idea of God is a non-fiction written by Thomas Richard Harry. The book is about the Judeo-Christian God and the role of the Church. The writing reflects the author’s personal relationship with God and the ruminations born from it. The book discusses the origin of God and religion. It traces how the church which has sustained humanity, now stands in a threshold of changing times with a need to adapt to be relevant to posterity.
The book can be loosely divided into three parts. In the first part, the author discusses the origin of the idea of God and its purpose. The idea of God fulfills the three basic human yearnings namely protection, perfection and perpetuity. In the second part, he discusses the historical reality of Jesus Christ. He narrates how and why Jesus, a human being was promoted to the divine status by the apostles and the church. Thirdly we see the idea of God led to the formation of religious institutions. We see how the Church has constantly adapted the idea of God and its purpose over the years. The author concludes that the idea of God is a human reality. It is an idea that provides sustenance and utility to mankind. The book ends with a clarion call to the Church on its need to adapt to the changing times and reinvent its relevance to sustain humanity.
The tone of the book is of an inquisitive layperson. The author is an eternal seeker groping for the truth about the existence of God like most of us. There is a certain genuineness that comes through the writer’s tone. We can identify the seeker in the flux of his thoughts. He is not an atheist or a staunch skeptic. He does not condone or mock the idea of God and its believers in a condescending tone. He is earnest and polite even while exposing the follies of the church and its ideologies. He is genuine in his queries and efforts to find plausible answers for them. It is this unbiased and emphatic tone that impressed me about this book.
The diction used is simple and the discussions are down to earth and not pedantic. The writing is coherent and comprehensive. The language is apt for the work. It does not confuse the readers with too many references and quotes. The writer effectively strengthens his argument with judicious usage of references and quotes which do not hamper the flow of the argument and obtuse the reader. The optimistic tone of the writer exudes certain positivity to the reader throughout the read. I especially liked how the author towards the end, suggests books for further reading for those interested in reading similar books.
I did not like a that the book limits itself only to the Christian God, depriving it of its universal appeal. With a little more research, the author could have ably proved Prophet Muhammed, Buddha or Krishna too as historical figures, who were promoted to divinity with time. Although the limitation is born out of the autobiographical nature of the book, I would have loved it more if the author had made efforts to study, analyze and discuss other religions as well.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The failure of the author to discuss God in all the other religions becomes a serious handicap of the book. I recommend the book only to readers interested in philosophical and religious discourses. The book can become tedious and cumbersome for others.
God Versus The Idea of God
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