An impassioned, erudite, thoroughly researched, and beautifully reasoned book from one of the most admired religious thinkers of our time that argues not only that science and religion are compatible, but that they complement each other-and that the world needs both. Religion and science, argues Rabbi Sacks, are the two essential perspectives that allow us to see the universe in its three-dimensional depth. Science teaches us where we come from. Religion explains to us why we are here. Science is the search for explanation. Religion is the search for meaning. We need scientific explanation to understand nature. We need meaning to understand human behavior. There have been times when religion tried to dominate science. And there have been times, including our own, when it is believed that we can learn all we need to know about meaning and relationships through biochemistry, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. In this fascinating look at the interdependence of religion and science, Rabbi Sacks explains why both views are tragically wrong.
Since 1991, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth has been Sacks, who is retiring in 2013. Educated in philosophy at Cambridge and Oxford, he holds an earned Ph.D. as well as several honorary doctorates. He wrote more than 20 books before tackling the knotty problem of the relationship between religion and science. In clear language, he sets forth the arguments put forward by atheists, respectfully demolishing them in favor of the religious stance that he forthrightly espouses. The range and depth of his familiarity with authorities in both camps, some relatively obscure, are most impressive. His erudite position is largely compelling, but he is somewhat less successful when discussing the issue of theodicy: how can a powerful and just God permit evil in the world? He devotes a chapter to this enigma, but along with other authorities who have confronted it, he is unconvincing in his response, especially since he omits any reference to the Holocaust. This book is essential reading because of Sacks's splendid range of knowledge and his powerful ability to tackle tough issues. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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September 11, 2012
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