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The Big Questions

RRP $22.95

I had just picked up the The Big Questions and was standing outside the Trinity College Library when a wag came up and told me if I could find a book called “The Big Answers”, he would be interested.

While I am aware of the risks of judging books by their covers, the chicken and the egg below the title well symbolise the content of the book.

This is not a book about easy answers; the author is quite clear in the introduction that this book is interested in exploring ten questions common between philosophy and Christianity, an area in which the author is well-credentialed.

In terms of style, this book reminded me to a large extent of Jostein Gaarder’s popular philosophical novel Sophie’s World.

It does not contain the engaging background story of the former book, but similarly gives summaries of different philosophical discussions starting from the original thinkers.

Hill draws on original source material to demonstrate the styles of philosophers and theologians ranging from Augustine to Barth to Dawkins but also uses good analogies and draws on modern examples such as The Simpsons and Douglas Adams.

This is a book for those who wish to inform their opinion on some of the biggest issues of our faith.

To address the topic “Who is God Anyway?” as the first chapter in under 30 pages of a paperback is an achievement in itself.

While I do not have the breadth of knowledge to give a full critique, it seemed at one point that an element of a theologian’s worldview was omitted as it may have disrupted the flow on to the next philosopher’s point of view.

However, the book gives enough information to allow readers to determine if a particular point of view is worth further investigation and provides good references to assist this.

All in all The Big Questions is a good read for those interested in the topics, but one that demands time and effort to wrestle with the issues.

Perhaps a good one to do with a group, but you’ll have to read separately and generate your own questions.

Reviewed by David Ferguson a scientist and candidate for the ministry at Trinity Theological College in Brisbane.