Book Review: Thoughtful Christianity by Ben Daniels

October 22, 2015 5 Exclamations!!!, Book Reviews 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Thoughtful Christianity by Ben DanielsThoughtful Christianity: Faith and Action in the Way of Jesus by Ben Daniel
Published by Westminster John Knox Press on October 16th 2015
Genres: Christian Life, Religion
Pages: 200
Source: NetGalley
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"The next revival must be an awakening in the intellect of Christians ready to mark the life of the church and of the broader society with a thoughtful faith."
Thoughtful Christianity provides a guide to Christian faith that honors tradition while embracing modern thought and valuing critical reflection. Daniel examines the extreme polarization of Christianity in the last century and argues that American Christians are in need of an awakening of the mind. He suggests a way of life that includes commitment to education, high value placed on curiosity, and instruction from "those with the courage to be corrected." Divided into three parts, the book explores how science can inform faith, the marks of a thoughtful life, and some suggestions for living a thoughtful life. Daniel shows us how we can move forward, unbound by labels, to know and serve God better.


My thoughts

I was really excited to pick this book up and even more excited when I started reading it! It’s one that I wanted to divest my time into and for good reason. Ben Daniels is able to take a religion that many (including myself for a time) feel is mired in a year that happened 2k years ago and was able really put a thoughtful spin on it.

What I love about this is that since I became a Christian (only 5 month ago) I have had many, many questions. It is as if I’m questioning someone’s faith just because I am not fully grasping, or fully believing in, the ideas and stories. Without being able to believe the stories and ideals behind Christianity, why be a Christian?

Ben Daniels offers up a strategically and very loving way for not only Christians, but those like me that are completely new to the subject, to ask questions and get honest feedback. He speaks of Genesis, the flood, Darwin, and politics among many other subjects that he tackles in a thoughtful and insightful way.

Sadly, I believe that it may be a bit harsh in the way it points out certain ways of thinking and acting that some Christians are prone to do. Many of which are actually not even in the bible. I think this is going to be a great book for those that are able to keep an open mind and see what Ben Daniels is saying for what it is. It is not good for Christianity to have Christians mired in beliefs that put others down, or force people out, or worse, do the complete opposite of what the bible is trying to tell us to do.

To suggest that thoughtful Christians must set aside idealogical allegiances in favor of a faith informed by empirical knowledge is more than just a call to decent behavior an polite conversations. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that science matters in the real world, where faithful living has a tangible impact.

I wanted to understand Christianity because I believed it to be a loving religion and I have seen with a lot of the politics regarding same sex marriage and immigration, that this religion is at its foundation loving, but many that preach are not. It is important to remember to grow and remain loving as much as we possibly can.

The overall message that Ben Daniels is giving is one of love and growth. I really hope that Christians see this book as a new way of looking at the Bible. Ben Daniels does not come across as trying to change anyone’s mind, or trying to change the ideals of the bible that are so important today, but the ideals that we have pigeonholed ourselves into.

This is a fabulous book that I really hope everyone will give a chance.

The Author


Ben Daniel is a Presbyterian minister in San Jose, California. His writing has been translated into four languages and has been published by a variety of local, regional, national, and international broadcast and print media. His work has been published widely online. His opinions have appeared on The Huffington Post since 2010. He is a graduate of Westmont College and of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Ben Daniel is the author of Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration (Westminster John Knox Press, August, 2010), winner of ForeWord Review’s 2011 religion book of the year award. In 2013, The Search for Truth About Islam, which explores misconceptions of Islam, was published by Westminster John Knox Press.

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