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Paperback published by Meridian Books of Maryland

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Product Details
Paperback (260 pages)
Published: September 1, 1997
Publisher: Meridian Books of Maryland
ISBN: 9780964042827
Other books byLarry Witham
  • A City Upon a Hill

    A City Upon a Hill
    Pivotal moments in U.S. history are indelibly marked by the sermons of the nation's greatest orators. America's Puritan founder John Winthrop preached about "a city upon a hill", a phrase echoed more than three centuries later by President Ronald Reagan in his farewell address to the nation; Abraham Lincoln's two greatest speeches have been called "sermons on the mount"; and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" oration influenced a generation and changed history. From colonial times to the present, the sermon has motivated Americans to fight wars as well as fight for peace. Mighty speeches have called for the abolition of slavery and for the prohibition of alcohol. They have stirred conscientious objectors and demonstrators for the rights of the unborn. Sermons have provoked the mob mentality of witch hunts and blacklists, but they have also stirred activists in the women's and civil rights movements. The sermon has defined America at every step of its history, inspiring great acts of courage and comforting us in times of terror. A City Upon a Hill tells the story of these powerful words and how they shaped the destiny of a nation. A City Upon a Hill includes the story of Robert Hunt, the first preacher to brave the dangerous sea voyage to Jamestown; Jonathan Mayhew's "most seditious sermon ever delivered," which incited Boston's Stamp Act riots in 1765; early calls for abolition and "Captain-Preacher Nat" Turner's bloody slave revolt of 1831; Henry Ward Beecher's sermon at Fort Sumter on the day of Lincoln's assassination; tent revivalist/prohibitionist Billy Sunday's "booze sermon"; the challenging words of Martin Luther King Jr., which inspired the civil rights movement; Billy Graham's moving speeches as "America's pastor" and spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents; and Jerry Falwell's legacy of changing the way America does politics. A City Upon a Hill provides a history of the United States as seen through the lens of the preached words—Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish—that inspired independence, constitutional amendments, and mili-tary victories, and also stirred our worst prejudices, selfish materialism, and stubborn divisiveness—all in the name of God.

    The Measure of God

    The Measure of God
    The Measure of God, now in paperback, is a lively historical narrative offering the reader a sense for what has taken place in the God and science debate over the past century. Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century. It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian world. Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God. In the English speaking world, many had espoused such a project, but one figure stands out. Before his death in 1887, the Scottish judge Adam Gifford endowed the Gifford Lectures to keep this debate going, a science haunted debate on "all questions about man's conception of God or the Infinite." The list of Gifford lecturers is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers and theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, from John Dewey to Mary Douglas.

    By Design

    By Design
    Science and the Search for God
    The triumphal Darwinian Centennial in 1959 seemed once and for all to end the argument between science and religion that had been raging since Thomas Huxley took up the cause of evolution in the Victorian era. As far as science was concerned, God was either dead or irrelevant—case closed. But in the past two decades, as prize-winning science writer Larry Witham shows in this brilliant book of people and ideas, the case has been reopened by an unlikely agent: science itself. Cutting-edge research in physics, biochemistry, genetics, information theory, and neuroscience are now causing thinkers to wonder anew about whether some “intentional” mind, design, or fine-tuning in nature’s laws was required for the development of life, and to challenge Darwinian and materialist strongholds in the laboratory and in public education. The story Witham tells involves two inter-related movements. One is the “science and religion dialogue,” an intriguging conversation that stretches from the laboratories of Nobel Prize winners to the inner sancta of the Vatican. This dialogue attempts to build bridges between two worlds formerly thought to be not only incompatible but implacably hostile. The other is the “intelligent design movement,” a grouping of independent scientists and philosophers, many of them tied to an organization called the Discovery Institute, whose research suggests that material laws as they are now understood may be incapacable of comprehending the subtleties of evolution or of human consciousness. “Deisgn” has been part of Western thought and theology for hundreds of years. But as Witham shows, it has become relevant again today as a resul to four entry into the microscopic and machine-like world of biochemistry, the development of “anthropic” cosmology, and a new willingness on the part of some scientists to mention a cerator in the same breath with scientific theorems. By Design introduces us to scientists of the past, from Nicolaus Copernicus to Louis Leakey and Edwin Hubble. We also meet some of the colorful and provocative characters who dominate the discussions today—figures such as astrophysicist George Ellis, origin-of-life researcher Harold Morowtiz, mathematician William Dembski, and law professor Phillip Johnson, the leading anti-Darwinist of the day. Witham also analyzes the scientific developments that have made it possible to search for God in the world of science. In 1965 for instance, the confirmation of a background glow from a “Big Ban” made the idea of a “creation event” plausible; new neurological experiments have raised the stakes in differentiating brain from mind (or “soul”); and a generation’s probing of genetic codes has shown uncanny engineering at work. The ultimate outcome of the intelligent design movement and the dialogue between faith and reason is still uncertain at the end of Darwin’s century. But after reading By Design we sense that what was once a battleground between God and science has now become a meeting ground.

    The Measure of God

    The Measure of God
    History's Greatest Minds Wrestle with...
    The Measure of God, now in paperback, is a lively historical narrativeoffering the reader a sense for what has taken place in the God and science debate over the past century. Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century. It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian world. Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God. In the English speaking world, many had espoused such a project, but one figure stands out. Before his death in 1887, the Scottish judge Adam Gifford endowed the Gifford Lectures to keep this debate going, a science haunted debate on "all questions about man's conception of God or the Infinite." The list of Gifford lecturers is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers and theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, from John Dewey to Mary Douglas.

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