10 copy price £5.00
It’s one thing to have Ultimate Questions or something similar to freely hand out to anyone, but what do you give to the thinking,serious person who is wrestling with the Christian faith and its relationship to the meaning of life? John Blanchard provides the answers in this new book, written for Christians to give to enquirers.Dr Blanchard deals with the scientific and philosophical issues in his inimitable style, leading at the hear of the book to a full–orbed presentation of the glories of the gospel.
Professor Sinclair Ferguson says:You can trust John Blanchard. In addition to the sheer clarity of what he writes, he is honest and he is gracious. At no point will you find yourself asking, ‘What is he trying to say!’ Nothing here is dull,merely ordinary or interesting. He has that special gift if being insatiably curious about things, and – this is his genius – he always seems to be asking if and how and why things happen. Why are you here? will help you to connect the dots so that the big picture,although composed of seemingly endless millions of facts,really does begin to make sense.Dan Walker, presenter of BBC Television’s Football Focus adds:The journalist in me loves asking the ‘big’ questions. Mine are normally posed to famous faces who have just met with triumph or disaster or are preparing to. I love getting the answers.There are some questions in life that are REALLY important though and they don’t come much more significant than ‘Why are we here’?It’s a subject which gets to the heart of what makes us tick, keeps us going, governs out relationships and dictates what happens both during life and after death. It sounds serious doesn’t it? Thankfully John Blanchard has an incredible ability to strip away the guff, cut through the rubbish, and point towards the light.This is a book that will make you think hard about what you consider to be true and, if the author is right, it’s life–changing life–affirming truth. That has got to be worth some of your precious time.
It cannot be often that Kim Kardashian, Karl Popper and King Solomon are all quoted in the same book. Nonetheless, these three are among the 800–plus references in John Blanchard’s new exploration of the old philosophical question, why are we here? As ever, Blanchard writes in an erudite yet conversational tone. His style is immediately engaging and clear – academic but not technical, thoughtful but not obscure. Refuting the trendy and tricky philosophy of relativism, for example, Blanchard deftly writes ‘…if there is no absolute truth, how can we know that postmodernism itself is true? The whole idea trips over its own feet’. What of the content itself? The book begins with a chapter on the physicist Stephen Hawking. In a recent documentary Hawking declared that supposed meanings to life were simply constructs of the mind – ‘meaning’ was merely what one chose it to be. It was this view, Blanchard reveals, which incited him to write this book. The shortcomings of science in answering transcendent questions of meaning are then explored. Next, Blanchard presents arguments that the universe, in light of its grandeur, calls for a designer and creator. Darwinian evolution is repudiated in the following chapter, before the ubiquitous human desire for meaning is charted in a chapter called ‘The restless search’. Sticking more with philosophy than theology, Blanchard proceeds to outline the aspects of humanity which make it distinct from the animal kingdom. Among other factors, these include our sense of dignity, our self–consciousness and our moral dimension. At this point I realised that a fair amount of material from Blanchard’s earlier apologetic work (such as Does God believe in Atheists?) was being revisited. Readers should be aware that familiar ground rather than new territory is often the focus. ‘People die. That’s life.’ This quotation from ‘Schindler’s List’ is used by Blanchard in a chapter exploring how the inevitability of death informs the meanings given to life. The chapter encourages readers to lift their eyes beyond the here–and–now in order to find the true source of meaning and fulfilment. Indeed, like a welcome dawn following night, Blanchard moves from the chapter on death to a beginner’s guide to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ – who he is and why he came. It is from this point (the final quarter of the book) that the biblical answer to the book’s title question is presented. In Blanchard’s words, ‘We were created by God and for God, and we will never have life in its right perspective until we grasp this’. All–in–all, this is a well–written and fascinating read. It is showered with a range of different anecdotes and references from interviews, films, songs and books. A great strength is that the book does not presume readers to be knowledgeable of Christianity. Blanchard appeals to common sense as much as Holy Scripture to make his points. Although ideally suited to newcomers and thoughtful sceptics, this book would also help mature Christians understand the philosophical poverty of life without God and the spiritual richness of life with him.
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