Making Sense of Brief Lives
A bracing and ambitious work of practical philosophy.
There are some questions we can’t avoid. Questions about meaning and morality, about belief and evidence and truth - about things that are reflected in our lives, whether or not we ever analyze them explicitly. This is the conviction that drives Making Sense of Brief Lives, first to identify with stark clarity the practical philosophical questions we face in life, and then to drive toward decisive answers.
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I would love to see Making Sense of Brief Lives on the syllabus for all first year seminary students. Smoke does readers a service by repeatedly focusing attention on matters of utmost existential relevance and providing clear and simple tools to address them. In doing so, Smoke is uncompromising in his honesty and merciless in assailing wishful thinking on all fronts. In an age when so many in our culture cannot muster the internal resources to reflect critically on their commitments, this is a call that needs to be made again and again. A supernaturalist account of religion is regularly examined in these pages. Like many students entering seminary, he has rightly discerned that the gods of religion are, without exception, human creations. There are a few classic ways that people respond to this realization. Smoke shows us the path of the nihilist. He feels compelled to drive the shock of existential abandonment from God’s death straight through the heart of all reality. There are other paths that people of radical honesty have open to them, even—capitalizing on Golgotha—quite Christian ones. I hope that someday Smoke finds one. Like a young Saint Augustine, he has much of true value to teach us. ~ Alexander Blondeau, PhD in Systematic Theology