Questioning Spirituality by Dr. Eldon Taylor book review
book review

Book Review: Questioning Spirituality

QUESTIONING SPIRITUALITY by Dr. Eldon Taylor is a thought-provoking investigation of the assumed irrationality spiritual beliefs. Check out what Timothy Thomas has to say in his book review of this indie nonfiction book.

Questioning Spirituality

by Dr. Eldon Taylor

Genre: Nonfiction / Religion & Spirituality

ISBN: 978-1803413013

Print Length: 184 pages

Reviewed by Timothy Thomas

A thought-provoking investigation of the assumed irrationality of spiritual beliefs that honors both sides of the debate

In a world where science and religion are often seen as antithetical to one another, Dr. Eldon Taylor dares to question whether religion is as irrational as some anti-religion advocates would have people believe. 

The result is a surprisingly direct and pragmatic conversation that handles peoples’ experiences as they relate to their beliefs with respect. When belief in a higher power is taken as seriously as the scientific worldview, does religion appear as irrational as is commonly believed, or is the alleged rational superiority of the scientific worldview unjustified?

Questioning Spirituality is divided into three parts. Part 1 looks at spiritual beliefs through the lens of the atheist. Here, the unavoidably difficult problems with religion are faced head on with candor. For example, how can God be omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and all good (omnibenevolent), yet we still have free will and our world have so much negativity in it? 

The assertion that there is a higher power raises many questions that, from the perspective of many religious opponents, have not been answered adequately, provoking a reasonable doubt in the notion of God. 

Part 2 addresses the opposing side. Importantly, this section is not a response to the doubts raised in the first section, but rather an examination of the many good reasons there are to believe in a higher power. As such, the answers to the questions addressed here point to religion as rational based on its quality of life benefits (hope and health), our neurological makeup, and the preponderance of people’s personal experiences with things that cannot be explained rationally. 

Part 3, synthesis, takes the thoughts and ideas of the previous two sections and synthesizes them. The ensuing discussion focuses primarily on how one’s beliefs can improve their quality of life. It does not give definitive answers to questions of what to believe, for the book accepts that people’s experiences will define their beliefs and leaves open that door. Instead, it suggests we interrogate our beliefs frequently and offers tools for improving one’s quality of life introspectively. 

This book is interesting in that its goal is not to persuade readers to one side or the other. Instead, it stands competently in the middle of the debate of science or religion, attempting to fairly examine the oft-hurled claim that religious beliefs and spirituality are rationally inferior or downright irrational. It takes this job seriously, concluding with reasoning and evidence from scientific literature, that such beliefs are not irrational, in spite of people’s perception of them. 

Dr. Eldon Taylor makes clear from the beginning what he believes in regard to the question, and his biased perspective is seen most concretely in the attention paid to each section. Part 1 is the shortest of the sections, its page count exceeded by part 3 and more than doubled by part 2, resulting in a book that is lopsided in its consideration of the two sides of the issue. Whether this is the intended result of the writer or an unintended consequence of his beliefs is for the reader to decide. While the book does not treat the scientific worldview with any less respect than the religious worldview, it does have significantly less content than its opposition. 

Questioning Spirituality is a good read for anyone interested in whether or not evidence supports the supposition that it is irrational to hold spiritual beliefs. Despite the lopsided content, it does take the job seriously and strives to honestly and respectfully represent both sides of the issue, making it well worth the read regardless of which side of the aisle the reader falls on.

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