IVP - Behind the Books - When a Christian and an Atheist Collaborate

March 6, 2009

When a Christian and an Atheist Collaborate

Just in from the printer is our new book Deepest Differences: A Christian-Atheist Dialogue, by Jim Sire and Carl Peraino. Jim and Carl were in a neighborhood book club together, and then a conversation about the death of Kurt Vonnegut provided the spark for this book. This snippet from the preface provides the behind-the-scenes background, and it also gives a pretty good sense of the flavor of the book:

[Jim] suggested that Vonnegut had, perhaps unwittingly, given an argument for the existence of God. Carl protested. Jim rejoined. Some eighty emails later, both had been surprised and frustrated with the recalcitrance of the other. Neither had changed his mind. Each thought that at least some of his own arguments were good. So why did they not persuade?

Their closing essays in the book attempt to answer this question, but astute readers will be able to write their own final chapter to the book.

Some readers, Jim thinks, will be persuaded to change their mind; reason and the Spirit of God will have done their work. Carl will say that every change of mind, and there may be some, simply illustrates the causal nexus of the universe doing its thing.

And these may well be the best acknowledgments I’ve ever seen in juxtaposition:

Finally, Jim thanks God for giving him a long life with and a mind fascinated by the mysteries of God and his universe. Carl feels fortunate that he emerged into sentience in a relatively benign environment via the concatenation of innumerable chance events spanning millions of years of evolution.

Posted by Al Hsu at March 6, 2009 10:39 AM Bookmark and Share


It's telling that Carl feel a sense of good fortune for his place in the universe...seems like an odd reaction from a chance by-product that emerged from the primordial soup as a result of innumerable purposeless, undirected, random events spanning millions of years.

Comment by: Larry Baker at March 11, 2009 6:02 PM

Larry, Larry, Larry, you're grossly oversimplifying evolution. Genetic variation plus NATURAL SELECTION is a continual refining, stepwise, process that, barring an environmental catastrophe, can yield complex organisms capable of intellectual and emotional sophistication without the involvement of purposeful designer. The primordial soup was left behind 2 billion years ago.

Comment by: Carl Peraino at March 30, 2009 10:13 PM

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