In A Skeptic’s Guide to Faith, previously titled Rumors of Another World, I write: “I am where you are . . . an ordinary person trying to figure things out. I love, I experience beauty and pain, my friends die, I weep, I live. And as I live I try to figure out if there is a God, and what difference would that make . . . This book comes out of my own search and is written on behalf of those who live outside of belief—that borderlands region between belief and unbelief.” In this book I attempt to explain why I believe, keeping in mind a person who does not share my faith. If this is God’s world, why doesn’t it look more like it? Does faith really make a difference day to day?
“Reading it is like sitting in a darkened room and watching it slowly fill with light. It’s Philip Yancey at his most stirring and insightful.”
Steve Chalke, British pastor and author
In a work that is startling and original, Yancey (What’s So Amazing About Grace?; The Jesus I Never Knew) writes for people on the “borderlands” of Christian faith: those who may have been scarred by bad church experiences, or those who simply have more doubts and questions than they have faith. Most people, he says, perceive “rumors of another world” while inhabiting this one; they long for something more, and yearn for belief in God’s transcendence. We substitute other things for God in order to fill this void. (In a chapter that by itself is worth the price of admission, Yancey claims that our culture’s fascination with sex stems from the fact that sex is one of the only transcendent, mysterious experiences remaining in the contemporary West.) The quality of Yancey’s writing—and his thinking—are simply superb. He is fond of modern literary giants like Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf and Evelyn Waugh and is apt to defer to the insights of 20th-century poets such as T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden. He also draws from his understanding of God-in-nature (shades of Annie Dillard here) and from his travels all over the world, using Tasmanian sheep to illustrate a point about human freedom and Costa Rican leatherback turtles to demonstrate “the mixed messages in nature.” One particularly powerful chapter discusses the thorny—and unpopular—topics of guilt and repentance. Yancey, one of the Christian market’s best writers, shows a marvelous ability to speak to the world outside that market.
Publisher’s Weekly, Sept. 2009