Book review: True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense Of Our Complex World

by David Skeel

★★★★

This one is different, but fun. When I think of apologetics, I generally think of logical arguments to prove the existence of God. Skeel is a lawyer, so he doesn’t think in straight lines. He dances around unexpected topics, letting us build a feeling about the truth of Christianity rather than bludgeoning us with hokey evidence.

It’s apologetics with a twist. Soft arguments in contrast to hard science or logic. I like it.

The two topics which most intrigued me were (1) the mystery of beauty and (2) the paradox of justice. The discussion of both was interesting and engaging, if not fully convincing. His goal is not only to defeat materialism but to lift Christianity above other religions as the best fit, and I didn’t quite get there. Yes, Christianity matches our observations of the world, but the fact that Christianity built its belief systems around observations should hardly surprise us. (The universe is beautiful, so a good God must have made it. The world’s justice systems are lacking, so a good God will one day swoop in and make everything right.) Nevertheless, Skeel’s approach leaves us feeling hopeful that something magnificent is behind life on earth, even if we haven’t figured it all out yet.

Skeel is a different kind of Christian than I am; I felt that immediately. He writes often of what “Christians believe” (not this Christian, David) and seems to use the word “faith” in a different manner than I do. This leads to a discussion about heaven in the closing chapter which felt like it just didn’t belong. But again, I realize as I come to the close of the book that I’m not supposed to be drawing equations, but feeling. Skeel is right about this: it feels like there must be more to life than birth and death and purposeless pain in between. There has to be more.

Intervarsity Press, © 2014, 175 pages

ISBN: 978-0-8308-3676-5

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