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eBook When Faith is Not Enough ePub

by Mr. Kelly James Clark

eBook When Faith is Not Enough ePub
Author: Mr. Kelly James Clark
Language: English
ISBN: 0802843549
ISBN13: 978-0802843548
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (October 1, 1997)
Pages: 204
Category: Religious Studies
Subcategory: Religios
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 803
Formats: mbr lrf lit lrf
ePub file: 1102 kb
Fb2 file: 1784 kb

They are difficult to understand, yet deeply felt.

They are difficult to understand, yet deeply felt. Drawing upon personal experience, literature, psychology, philosophy, and Scripture, philosopher Kelly Clark tackles the difficult question of how we can live with doubt and how we can nurture a faith and develop a self of enduring value. In section one, "The Shadow of a Doubt", Clark takes doubt (and doubters) seriously and sets out to help the reader understand faith in a deeper way.

Kelly James Clark (born March 3, 1956) is an American philosopher noted for his work in the philosophy of religion, science and religion, and the cognitive science of religion. Clark received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame where his dissertation advisor was Alvin Plantinga. Drawing upon pe Doubt and death, God and self, happiness or insignificance, guilt or grace? These fundamental human concerns are deeply intertwined and connect with our heart's deepest longings. They are difficult to understand, yet deeply felt.

Kelly James Clark wrote an exceptional book on doubt, loss, and suffering and how to overcome it through faith, hope, and love. Dr. Clark takes his reader on a journey to the vast depths of the human soul, through the heart of a person, and back to one's true self. His honesty made me take a hard look at where my Faith is. Before each chapter he has a few quotes by famous theologians, philosophers & other writers which are so powerful in themselves.

It is a book that should be widely appreciated by parish study groups. It is clear and concise about basic Christian faith

It is a book that should be widely appreciated by parish study groups. It is clear and concise about basic Christian faith. It includes a range of helpful illustrations to make its points - from the author's storehouse of personal experiences to the world of the saints, ancient and modern.

If you wish to make multiple hard copies for wider distribution, or to reprint portions in a newsletter or periodical, please observe the following restrictions:, You may not reproduce it for commercial gain.

224 pages, softcover from Eerdmans

224 pages, softcover from Eerdmans. When Faith Is Not Enough (9780802843548) by Kelly James Clark. In section one, "The Shadow of a Doubt," Clark takes doubt (and doubters) seriously and sets out to help the reader understand faith in a deeper way.

It is fair to say that Kelly James Clark's study of the place of doubt in faith is both stimulating and instructive. The book's attraction results from the personal testimony of the author, who understands the Christian life to be a journey and communion with the risen Christ

It is fair to say that Kelly James Clark's study of the place of doubt in faith is both stimulating and instructive. The book's attraction results from the personal testimony of the author, who understands the Christian life to be a journey and communion with the risen Christ. It is a book that should be widely appreciated by parish study groups. It includes a range of helpful illustrations to make its points-from the author's storehouse of personal experiences to the world of the saints, ancient and modern

When faith is not enough.

Evidence and religious belief. 101 key terms in philosophy and their importance for theology. When faith is not enough.

Doubt and death, God and self, happiness or insignificance, guilt or grace? These fundamental human concerns are deeply intertwined and connect with our heart's deepest longings. They are difficult to understand, yet deeply felt. When Faith Is Not Enough is a creative, honest, and original discussion of faith and doubt and the search for human significance. Drawing upon personal experience, literature, psychology, philosophy, and Scripture, philosopher Kelly Clark tackles the difficult question of how we can live with doubt and how we can nurture a faith and develop a self of enduring value. In section one, "The Shadow of a Doubt", Clark takes doubt (and doubters) seriously and sets out to help the reader understand faith in a deeper way. He presents a powerful case for the existence of God, offers hope for understanding the problem of God and human suffering, suggests positive ways for dealing with doubt, and affirms the excitement of embracing the adventure of life. Section two, "Searching for My Self", is a reflection on the meaning of life. We want our lives to count, but we feel insignificant. We desire fame and honor, but we feel forgotten and ignored. Wishing for significant human relationships, we often feel alienated and unable to communicate. And wanting to live worthy lives, we feel shame. Clark probes into these conflicting emotions and addresses how God can unite the disparate elements of our lives into a meaningful and enduring self.
Chilldweller
I had the author as a professor. He made us buy his book and then he only assigned couple pages of it to read! So if that tells you anything about the author and the book there you go.
Villo
When Faith is not Enough is written to help the Christian in times of doubt. It is also partly a Kierkegaardian take on Christian doubt and its solution. So, there are two parts to this. The first deals with a general, basic discussion of doubt. Clark believes doubt is helpful in the long run if handled properly. We will learn more about our religious beliefs and uncertainties if we go through stages of doubt than if we did not (x). The second part is a reflection on the meaning of life through a Kierkegaardian lens.

The first six chapters make up the first part. Here, as I noted, Clark gives a basic account of the nature of doubt and God's relation to the world. He notes, "Authentic Christian faith is at once compelling and disputable" (6). So, God's hiddenness is a prime source of our anxiety. The first chapter also delves into some brief arguments into why God exists, and shows that we can still doubt despite these arguments. Next, Clark explores our moments of light and glimpses of God in people and in nature (21). This includes stories about himself and is a more personal chapter.

Chapter Three takes both the first two chapters (reasons to believe in God/experience leads us to believe in God) and asks if that is enough. He concludes that we never attain full certainty in this life (39). After this he shows that the world is a source of both illumination and obscurity. And this can be a cause for our deepest despair. We are like driftwood, led by whichever wave is moving strongest at the time. Here he discusses the faith of Abraham and Kierkegaard's take on the Abrahamic story. Kierkegaard believes Abraham's faith to be paradoxical, that he should slay his son yet receive him back. Likewise the incarnation is paradox, or what Kierkegaard calls the `absolute paradox,' the idea that contradictory properties (divine/human) reside in one person. Kierkegaard would argue that we must believe paradoxically. Here Clark notes that the Bible emphasizes hoping and seeking God more than having an intellectual certainty.

Next Clark looks at Job's story. He writes, "Job is afflicted most because he has lost the order and meaning his faith gave to life . . ." (76). Clark goes on in this chapter to show that while God is all-powerful, he chooses not to control the actions of free creatures. Since this is true, both the righteous and wicked suffer in this life (85). Like Job, we don't have to suffer stoically. God knows we are angry and hopefully we can be honest with God as He will meet us with grace (89).

The last bit of Part One discusses how we relate to God in the midst of doubt. Clark points out that doubt is not really like a headache or toothache, but is more like arthritis or a long lasting illness. We must learn to live with it. As saved, but not completely (not finished I mean), belief and unbelief reside in the same person. We should be patient with doubt, because certainty just doesn't exist in this life in any perfect sense (100)

Part Two delves into how faith in God gives lives meaning. Chapter Seven begins darkly, by asking us to feel the "pressure of mortality." Clark introduces Camus' question of how we go on living once we realize that we will never attain any lasting earthly significance. We form a routine in life that helps blind us to our insignificance, a life that is nonreflective. Tearing down our lives in this way offers room for faith in God to build us back up. Clark explores our usual attempts to find meaning in our lives. The central problem here is failure - failure because we are creatures and not the creators. Our self is always doomed .

This idea is revisited. The need for significance in our lives is prime. Clark avers that most of our actions are designed to help us achieve personal significance (125). Our need to stand out from everyone else becomes more difficult as we move into more competitive groups. Human lives are a roller coaster of frustration that is often caused by failed attempts at significance. Big dreams begin to become more realistic, and so we shrink our search for significance. This works until intense times of struggle. In other words we "diminish the world to expand our selves" (133). We also create ourselves based on adulation and memory of others. This is because true knowledge of ourselves leads us to despair. Clark believes Kierkegaard can help us in this situation. He delves into developmental psychology to talk about how an individual creates himself and discusses this at some length. It is, however (it being our individual creation of the self), is a lie. Our rationalizations secure us in our lie about ourselves. Kierkegaard would have us to realize this about ourselves honestly. This is `authentic' behavior. Thus "It is only when we realize that on our own we are nothing, that we can open our self up to God" (153).

I am in sympathy with the reviewer who rated this at one star who said that it is boring. He (or she) noted that they read the first two chapters and put it down. I was inclined to agree with him until I got to the second part of the book. Of course this is an extremely subjective critique, but the first part is very basic and I have read quite a bit on the subject of doubt and suffering. So, for the person who has not delved into this type of material much, they will no doubt likely appreciate the first part of this work more than I did. Still, the first part of the is good overall. I don't know why another reviewer said that Clark is a universalist. He is not, nor does he give that impression anywhere in the book so far as I can tell. The second part of the book was my favorite as Clark echoes Kierkegaard and delves into the forming of the self and how our entire lives are essentially self-created fictions and how God is the only answer to this problem. Regardless, this is definitely not a one-star book - not even close. I would highly recommend this to any Christian struggling with doubt (which, at some point, will be virtually every Christian).
Spilberg
Kelly James Clark (b. 1956) is a Senior Research Fellow at Grand Valley State University, and formerly was Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College and Calvin College. He has written other books such as Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers,The Story of Ethics: Fulfilling Our Human Nature,Return to Reason: A Critique of Enlightenment Evidentialism and a Defense of Reason and Belief in God101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology, etc.

He wrote in the introductory chapter of this 1997 book, "The central topic of this book is faith: how to have faith in the midst of our doubts, how faith alone synthesizes the disparate elements of our self---finite and infinite, wicked and good, necessary and free, temporal and eternal, body and spirit---into a meaningful whole. We have doubts, to be sure. But the benefits of faith are so great---only through faith can we live an authentic, happy, and fulfilled life---that the struggles of life and belief are worth the effort." (Pg. xi)

He observes, "The higher the stakes, the greater the demand for evidence. If it is true that high stakes create a greater demand for evidence, then we ought to have the greatest demand for evidence for our Christian beliefs. Yet we are typically satisfied with so little. The stakes could not be higher---eternal bliss or eternal torment---so the demand for evidence seems maximal." (Pg. 15)

He argues, "That the physical constants necessary for the existence and life-supporting capacity of the universe come about by chance is infinitely more unlikely than that the cards in the illustration owe their order to chance. It is highly improbable that only by chance are all of the relevant physical constants precisely the way they are, that only by chance is the combination of these constants precisely what it is, and that only by chance do the constants and their combinations allow for the existence of human life. The only reasonable explanation for the existence of human life is that the universe has a supremely intelligent and maximally skilled designer," (Pg. 35)

He suggests, "Even though God is omnipotent, there is evil he cannot control if he values the choices of free creatures. If he allows genuinely free choices, with significant moral consequences, then both the righteous and the wicked will suffer." (Pg. 85)

He asserts, "The preening ego is universally perceived as an obstacle to union with God, ultimate reality, one's authentic self, and others. The world's religions hold up renunciation or annihilation of the self as a remedy for humanity's deepest malady... Some religions, for example, seem content to take the first step in the religious stage, infinite resignation, without proceeding toward recovery of one's authentic, individual existence in relationship with the eternal. Nonetheless, all of the great world religions are united in affirming that the overweening self is the primary obstacle on our path to human happiness, authentic existence, salvation, or enlightenment." (Pg. 174)

He also notes, "If all that I have written about living an authentic, meaningful life is true, why are non-Christians often happy and Christians often in despair? Non-Christians are able to attain some measure of happiness because grace is imparted in many human activities: enjoying a fine mean, appreciating lovely music, losing oneself in a game or hobby or a good book, taking a walk in the woods, engaging in meaningful labors, sharing moments of self-disclosure with a soul mate, connecting emotionally and spiritually with one's spouse, returning to childhood with one's children. Any activity that liberates us from our ego can deeply satisfy any human being. But these are only glimpses of the joy that God intends for his creatures. We often mistake these signs for the reality they signify. They are intended to point us to a deeper satisfaction and higher happiness. So why aren't all Christians happy, fulfilled, living satisfied and meaningful lives? The world is still a bad fit for human beings and is still in need of redemption. Christians have a foot firmly planted in both worlds---the city of God and the city of the world... While we desire fellowship with God and pursue righteousness, we also doubt, fall short, and retain our commitments to the world... we will find peace and joy... only fleetingly in this life." (Pg. 184-185)

This book will interest Christians asking many of these "WHY?"-types of questions.
Wrathmaster
Dr. Clark's follow up to Return to Reason is geared toward the average person, unlike its predecessor, which was laden with terminology only those practiced in philosophy have committed to memory. In clear, crisp prose, he takes the reader on a journey of discovery, using personal experience and the thoughts of great thinkers to make his points. He presents the positions of believers, as well as non-believers, whose doubts he has often experienced. He is a serious man trying to understand why there is so much suffering in life. He finds meaning in it. He believes every story, even that of an often bleak world, has an author. The most touching aspects of the book involve his reflections on his family. He is brutally honest, taking himself, as well as people in general, to task for misplaced ego, which he believes must be shed in order to foster communion with God. He stares into the void that scares anyone who ponders life's great mysteries and comes away with a faith that all will be right in the end. He believes even though he knows he is destined to become "worm food" and that he will be forgotten eventually. This is a valuable book that forces the reader to think. Kudos.
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