Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self-Doubt

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self-Doubt

Article excerpt

AN EXAMINED FAITH: THE GRACE OF SELF-DOUBT. By JAMES M. GUSTAFSON. Fortress. 119pp. $15 paper.

America's senior Protestant ethicist here gives us another volume that ought not to pass without due appreciation and due concern. In this collection of recent lectures James Gustafson continues his quest to make sense of the interaction between theology and the natural and social sciences. The main burden of the book is to analyze what criteria Christian theology and ethics should use in rejecting, absorbing, or accommodating theories and information from nontheological disciplines. Readers of Gustafson will not be surprised to find that he is anxious about the adequacy of Christian beliefs in the face of "confrontations" with biology and neuroscience. Gustafson is at his best when explaining different strategies that theology has used in clarifying (or obscuring) its relationship to the claims of secular knowledge. Things grow perplexing, however, when it becomes evident that Gustafson has about had it with theologians who have (he tells us) tried to escape from modernity by making theology impervious to secular critique. …

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