Deepest Differences

A Christian-Atheist Dialogue

by James W. Sire and Carl Peraino

Deepest Differences
paperback
  • Length: 203 pages
  • Published: March 2009
  •  Discontinued
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3358-0
  • Item Code: 3358
  • Case Quantity: 48

If you're looking for clear-cut answers to difficult questions about God--or for your guy to score a quick knock-out of a toughened sparring partner--then this book is not for you.

But if you're open to an authentic, no-holds barred, respectful dialogue about one of life's most important issues, then take up and read. There are no straw men here.

Sparked by a chance meeting between two book-club acquaintances and their discussion of Kurt Vonnegut's obituary, this dialogue between long-time Christian Jim Sire and forthright atheist Carl Peraino developed through extended email exchanges exploring minds and brains, science and morality, faith and reason, God and violence, doubt and rhetoric.

You'll find much to ponder, weigh and explore in this lively, down-to-earth book. A study guide is included if you wish to delve deeper into any of the issues raised.

Both enlightening and entertaining. If you're open to an authentic, no-holds-barred, respectful dialogue between an inveterate nonbeliever and a confirmed believer about life's most important subject--God--then you will love it.

Jim Miller, Jim Miller Book Review, May 28, 2009
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CONTENTS

Acknowledgments
Preface
Editorial Note

Part One: Slipping into Dialogue
1. Mozart, Bach and Vonnegut: Signals of Transcendence
2. Signals Disallowed
3. Vonnegut: Humanist or Nihilist
4. Almost Human, Sometimes Smarter
5. Animal Morality

Part Two: From Morality to Worldview: The Argument Morphs
6. Morality, the Divine and Everything Else
7. An Objective Foundation for Morality
8. Scientists and Religious Commitment
9. A Colloquy on Morality

Part Three: The Theological Dimension: God in the Dock
10. Good and Evil and the Character of God
11. God Almighty
12. God, His Human Creation and Heavenly Bliss
13. God and Human Free Will
14. Speculation: What If? It Seems to Me . . .
15. Carl's Sabbath: A Personal Reflection

Part Four: Intelligent or Unintelligent Design
16. Scientists and Intelligent Design
17. Intelligent Design
18. Unintelligent Design
19. Passionately Antireligious
20. Jim's Sabbath: A Dizzy Dream

Part Five: Our Age: Sacred or Secular?
21. Remembering Secularism
22. Secularism Is Not Dead
23. In Defense of Novak

Part Six: Doctorow: The Power of Doubt
24. A Highly Evolved and Beautifully Stated Religious Point of View
25. An Unbridgeable Gulf
26. Doctorow Reconsidered
27. Doctorow: Pro and Con
28. Battling the Antitechnological Spirits
29. Computers Don't Forgive
30. Case Closed!

Part Seven: The God Question Once Again
32. Getting God Off the Hook
32. A Colloquy on the God Hypothesis
33. The Scandal of the Particular
34. A Believer's Crutch

Part Eight: Rats and Humans: Minds and Brains
35. Rat to Rat, Kindness Takes Hold
36. Chimps Too Are Kind
37. Show Me Kindness
38. Minds Emerge from Brains
39. Dualism Is Not Dead
40. Subtle Distinctions

Part Nine: The Source of Our Deepest Differences
41. A Change of Focus
42. A Way Forward
43. Carl and Jim in Ancient Greece
44. A Final Colloquy: On Faith and Reason

Part the Last: Winding Down
45. Enough Is Enough
46. Sure Is!

Afterword: Agreeing to Disagree
Carl's Comments
Jim's Comments
Study Guide
Relevant Readings
Biographies
Subject Index

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James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely-respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages.

Born on a ranch on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills, Sire served as an officer in the Army, a professor of English literature, philosophy, and theology, and a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia. He received a PhD in English from the University of Missouri, an MA in English from Washington State University, and a BA in chemistry and English from the University of Nebraska.

Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. He focused on the application of worldview thinking to the integration of Christian faith and the academic disciplines, as well as the nature of "signals of transcendence" and their relation to Christian life. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.

For further information and a complete biography, see the IVP press release: James W. Sire, “A Keystone in the Intellectual Renewal of Evangelicalism,” Dies

Carl Peraino (PhD, University of Wisconsin) is a retired senior biochemist at Argonne National Laboratory. He is author or coauthor of approximately one hundred research articles, including "Reduction and Enhancement by Phenobarbital of Hepatocarcinogenesis Induced in the Rat by 2-Acetylaminofluorene," coauthored with R. J. Michael Fry and Everett Staffeldt, Cancer Research 31:1506-1512, October 1971. This paper signaled a significant shift forward in cancer research.

BY Carl Peraino

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