God and A Life of Meaning

This month, J. P. Moreland, the distinguished professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, releases a new book dealing with the search for meaning and the existence of God: The God Question. If there is one thing that both theists and skeptics can agree on, it is that we should all endeavour to answer the question of life’s meaning. For a philosophy that takes God as the starting point, life is defined by the ideas and precepts that are revealed by His character and purpose for humanity. For a philosophy that views life apart from God, there may seem to be a kaleidoscopic array of choices, but ultimately no way in which to judge one better than the other.

Moreland writes at a time when he sees the West increasingly unable to live with its decision to exile God into the periphery of its consciousness. With a dizzying panoply of infatuations and celebrity-endorsed pleasures, many in the West still struggle with the gnawing realisation that a life lived solely for the high-speed pursuit of success has not delivered the meaning it was meant to. Although we grow richer, garner more leisure time, and enjoy a higher standard of living, many have become unable to find happiness and, instead, are much more likely to be depressed and anxiety-filled than people of other generations.

In his book, Moreland, draws attention to several features identified in a study on anxiety and depression by psychologist Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano: (1) the pace of modern life: our resistance to depression and anxiety that is weakened by the breakneck speed of our lives. (2) the loss of a sense of community and deep connectedness with others beyond the superficial: we don’t have the relational connection we need for support and strength in finding a way out of unhappiness. And finally (3) the emergence of moral relativism: we lack the intellectual framework required to admit that there is a right and wrong way to approach life and to fuel the energy we need to seek, find, and live in light of the right approach.
The God Question is an endeavour to approach these issues with the conviction that it is the loss of confidence in the truth and knowability of a biblical worldview that lies at the root of our cultural condition. Moreland writes with the express purpose to show that we can know that God does exist and this matters. With God and an abundant, grounded life encountered in a relationship with Jesus Christ, every decision becomes ultimately meaningful, anchored by this reference point. The book is not an inacessible, technical one. Unlike Moreland’s Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview or Scaling the Secular City, it is an approachable reflection of conversational apologetics that is similar to Lewis’ Mere Christianity or Strobel’s The Case for Christ. Moreland is a sharp thinker and one of the most gifted apologists in Evangelicalism, and this would be the kind of book that would be great to give away to a friend who might be searching for answers.

The Chapter headings:

Part 1: Why Can’t We Be Happy?
1. Why Can’t I Be Happy?
2. Hope for a Culture of Bored and Empty Selves
Part 2: Is There a Real Solution to Our Dilemma?
3. The Question of God, Part 1
4. The Question of God, Part 2
5. The Luminous Nazarene
6. My Own Journey as Jesus’ Apprentice
Part 3: How Can the Solution Help Me Change?
7. Rethinking the Whole Thing
8. Two Essentials for Getting Good at Life
9. Avoiding the Three Jaws of Defeat
10. How to Unclog Your Spiritual Arteries and Develop the Heart to Work with God
Part 4: Is This Life All There Is?
11. From Here to Eternity

J. P. Moreland has degrees in philosophy, theology, and chemistry, and has taught j-p-morelandtheology and philosophy at several schools throughout the U.S. He has authored or co-authored books including Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview; Christianity and the Nature of Science; Scaling the Secular City; Does God Exist?; Immortality: The Other Side of Death; and The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues of Our Times. He is co-editor of Christian Perspectives on Being Human and Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. His work appears in journals such as Christianity Today, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and The American Philosophical Quarterly. He has served with Campus Crusade for 10 years, planted two churches, and has spoken on over 200 college campuses. (Source = the Biola website).

Read Moreland’s brief introduction to his book here.

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