To: Prof. Nicholas Wernicki
September 9, 2014 9:32 AM
This reply comes embarrassingly late -- about 6 months after your kind and detailed message, which I appreciate. I recently had my publisher send you a free copy of my book THE END OF UNBELIEF: A New Approach to the Question of God. Did you receive it?
You're a busy professor, and I understand your not having time to review the book. (You said: "I only publish reviews in peer reviewed academic journals and Christian apologetics is a bit outside of my field.") But I must point out that it is NOT a work of Christian apologetics. Though I tell of my ultimate conversion to Christianity I do not urge the reader to become Christian, nor do I argue for Christianity. My approach to the hardcore unbeliever is more subtle, oblique, and tactful.
I argue that philosophical agnosticism -- like mine -- is compatible with religious faith, even a quite passionate faith. This does not sit well with most Christians, who maintain that God's existence is provable and certain. Yet I've persuaded some, including my publisher, a Christian university, that though our views differ on that point, my position makes me better able than they to connect with agnostics and atheists. So more and more Christians are tolerating my agnosticism and valuing my unique mode of outreach to hardcore unbelievers.
The second quite different approach is that I don't argue for ANY ORGANIZED RELIGION, even my own. I argue for what I call Pure Theism. I see it as ONE STEP OUT OF ATHEISM: the belief in a personal and loving God, not otherwise defined. Not the God of the Old Testament, or the God of the New Testament, or the God of the Koran or the Book or Mormon. JUST GOD -- a Creator God who loves what he created and whom we can connect with in prayer, without benefit of any scripture, with no organized religion, and without the intervention of any priest, minister, rabbi, or imam.
This, my friend, is not Christian apologetics. Christianity and Judaism are two steps out of atheism. I had to go through two years of Pure Theism before a second step, to Christianity, became possible for me. So I urge only that the reader try Pure Theism -- and I lead him/her through a thought experiment in how to connect, even through intense skepticism, with... Just God, the God of Pure Theism.
The book also has intensely personal, autobiographical, elements, which blend abstract thought with intimate narrative. It inspired a leading Catholic theologian John F. Haught, Ph.D., Senior Fellow in Science and Religion at Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University and author of 18 books to give this endorsement:
"This book makes the question of God come alive and real in a way that no purely academic work can equal. Its raw spiritual insight and autobiographical frankness will grab hold of you and keep your attention no matter what your beliefs may be. Highly recommended."
It was endorsed by four other PhDs, one an avowed atheist from Swarthmore College, Dr. Thomas H. Blackburn, and by Paul Theroux, one of the best known secular writers in the world, who has authored 46 books, and who is not religious.
If you would ever want to discuss my book or my views with me in a classroom or other academic setting, let me know.
Thanks again for your message of 3/4/14, which I have printed out and will act on.
Good luck with your new school year.
Shane [see aphorisms below]
You must form a sense of the largeness of the world and the urgency of other people's claims. Shane Hayes
Mona will never produce anything genuine because her life is so much more important to her than her art -- and there is no really intimate connection between them. Shane Hayes
The basic factor in physics is force. The basic factor in psychology is the realizable wish. Norman Vincent Peale