With special thanks to InterVarsity Press I received a copy of Jim Sire’s Apologetics Beyond Reason. Although I’m excited to get started reading, I will instead be busy packing, loading, and moving all of my household goods across country. When the whirlwind settles, I plan to get right to this favorite author and look forward to writing down some thoughts on his latest and apparently final book.
I found his answers illuminating to some questions about the book (from the press release).
What was your reasoning for writing Apologetics Beyond Reason?
Sire: I have devoted most of my books on apologetics to rational forms of argument. I have been reticent until the last few years to write much about my own religious experience, believing that religious experience gives only a weak rationale for Christian faith. Most of my fellow apologists seem to have the same “feeling” about the role of intuition and sudden apprehension. This book makes up for this missing element in my own apologetic corpus and perhaps it helps fill the gap in apologetics in general.
What are the important thoughts you are trying to convey to readers?
Sire: The central thesis in the book is that everything that exists is an argument for the existence of God as understood in biblical faith. “Look and see. Listen and hear” is a biblical theme, not just in reference to the Bible. It applies to the Word as embodied in the world God has created and in the amazing complexity and beauty of every human being. In our response to the world and the Word of God we often experience special moments of insight, triggered by what Peter Berger calls signals of transcendence. Os Guinness calls them holes torn in life. When we have these experiences, sometimes they are best understood as a sudden recognition of the presence of God. Even the less spectacular but special experiences are best understood as the presence of God in the world around us. Without God . . . well . . . without God there is nothing. Ultimately everything—good and evil, the beautiful and the beastly, the weak and the strong, the pure and the impure—argues for the existence of God, not only by logic (though by that too) but by sudden apprehension. We “see” and “hear,” and speechless we breathe . . . Aaah!
One distinctive is my emphasis on the eclectic and messy nature of apologetics. There is no best way to do or to think about apologetics.
A second distinctive is my attention to literature. I use it in three different ways to show that: (1) by a story, the autonomy of human reason does not provide a foundation for either apologetics or intellectual endeavor in general; (2) some literature focusing on distinct signals of transcendence provides an important apologetic on its own; and (3) even literature embodying a non-Christian worldview can be seen as a signal of transcendence.
Meanwhile, if you wish to view posts related to apologetics, go here, scroll to the bottom, and click “Next” until you find a title that interests you.
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