Christians will tell you that there is only one way to have peace with God — a relationship with Jesus Christ. But for many people, the Christian worldview is not intellectually satisfying, as there are so many aspects of Christian doctrine that don’t seem to make sense.
In this 70 page essay by British philosopher and author Steven Colborne, the arguments for and against Christianity are weighed up and scrutinised, with passages of Scripture cited and personal testimony expounded. At the heart of the essay is the free will problem, which for Colborne is the make-or-break issue when it comes to deciding whether or not one should accept the Christian worldview.
Written from an agnostic viewpoint, the essay examines the Christian worldview respectfully and with an open mind. After reading all of Colborne’s arguments on both sides of the debate, readers will feel better equipped to make a decision about Christianity for themselves.
Steven Colborne is the author of several acclaimed books in the philosophical theology genre. His work offers deep insights into all of the big problems of philosophy and theology, with a focus on the divine sovereignty versus human free will predicament, especially as it relates to the Christian worldview.
Steven is a first-class BA (Hons) graduate of the University of Westminster and holds a PG Cert in Philosophy and Religion from Heythrop College, University of London. He was born in Cambridge, grew up in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, and currently lives in London, England. The son of an English father and a Dutch mother, Steven has had a quite remarkable spiritual journey which has involved immersive explorations of both Eastern and Western spirituality, as well as several spells in psychiatric hospital following episodes of psychosis.
Among other books, Steven’s catalogue of releases includes a spiritual memoir (The Philosophy of a Mad Man), a compilation of academic essays (A Collection of Essays by Steven Colborne), and a systematic presentation of his philosophical perspective (God’s Grand Game: Divine Sovereignty and the Cosmic Playground). As well as being a prolific author, Steven also runs the popular philosophy blog Perfect Chaos, where he has written over 500 articles for an audience of over 6000 subscribers from more than 200 different countries.
The new atheism movement has highlighted many of the theological problems related to Christianity and other religions, and as we move into a 'post-truth' age, many people are wondering whether there is still a place for God in society. Has science consigned God to the evolutionary scrapheap?
In this bold and insightful book, British philosopher Steven Colborne strongly argues that God exists, but also criticises many of the key doctrines of Christianity and other world religions that present, in his view, a mistaken understanding of the nature of God.
Tackling subjects such as free will, suffering, morality, and the afterlife, Colborne presents a grand vision of reality with God at the centre. The book looks not only backward at the religions that have shaped our world, but also to the future — a future in which Colborne believes science, technology, and a new kind of religion, will all have a meaningful role to play.
Colborne's spiritual journey has been quite remarkable. An atheist during his teenage years, Colborne used to hate the idea of God, believing it to be foolish and naive. After his mother became ill with a serious disease, Colborne was forced to confront the issue of suffering in depth for the first time. His mother's death sparked a spiritual yearning in Colborne which led him to explore both Eastern and Western philosophy and various associated religious practises. As part of these explorations, Colborne read authors such as Alan Watts, Deepak Chopra, Brandon Bays, Ramana Maharshi, and Eckhart Tolle, but none of these teachers brought solace to Colborne, who found himself suffering from deep depression and spiritual confusion.
At the age of 25, during an admission to psychiatric hospital following an episode of psychosis, Colborne unexpectedly requested that he be brought a Bible. Upon reading the New Testament properly for the first time, Colborne was persuaded of the veracity of the Christian faith and he became a Christian.
Despite immersing himself in Christian life in the years that followed, Colborne struggled with several areas of Christian doctrine that to him seemed highly illogical. He was especially troubled by the divine sovereignty versus human free will problem, which seemed to present a logical contradiction at the heart of the Christian worldview. It is this problem — the so-called 'free will predicament' — which is central to Colborne's arguments in The Only Question You Ever Need Ask.
The following essays are included in this volume:
A Listener-Centred, Dialectical Model for Popular Music Analysis
Heraclitus and the Nature of Change
The Schopenhauerian Concept of Will
The Soul in Christianity and Platonism
George Eliot and Feuerbach on God and the Good
Karl Rahner’s Anthropology
Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election
The Trinity and Suffering
A Letter to George Eliot about God and the Good
God and Suffering: Approaches and Issues
An Almighty Predicament: A Discourse on the Arguments For and Against Christianity
The Only Question You Ever Need Ask
The opening essay in this volume is Colborne's first-class undergraduate dissertation, written during his final year of study at the University of Westminster. The essay presents a radical approach to music analysis.
The majority of the included essays were written during Colborne's postgraduate studies at Heythrop College, University of London. The Heythrop essays include a discussion of the nature of the human soul, as well as various discourses related to the subject of suffering. Colborne also examines the ideas of several important figures in Western philosophy, including Plato, Heraclitus, and Schopenhauer. The ideas of various contemporary writers and theologians are also explored, including Karl Rahner, Karl Barth, George Eliot, and others.
The final two essays in this volume are what might be referred to as Colborne's 'mature' essays. These essays, written between 2017 and 2020, offer profound insights into the divine sovereignty versus human free will predicament with specific reference to Christian theology. As with so much of Colborne's work, the problem of suffering is a key focus.
This book presents some of Colborne's finest work, and readers will finish the book having gained a thorough understanding of Colborne's philosophical worldview and most important academic contributions.