Paul M. Gould and Richard Brian Davis, ed. Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J.P. Moreland. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014.
I would like to thank Moody Publishers for my review copy of this book. See here for Moody’s page about it.
J.P. Moreland is a Christian scholar, apologist, and philosopher. Loving God with Your Mind is a collection of essays by scholars reflecting on his life, work, and thoughts.
Some of the essays are more difficult than others. The three
chapters about Platonism were especially challenging to me, on account
of their detail, their technicality, and their usage of terms that were
unfamiliar to me. I think that I still understood the main point that
they were trying to make: that there is a world beyond our natural
world, as Plato said, a transcendent world of concepts that the natural
world reflects. This is more consistent with theism than with
naturalism (although, as one essay in the book acknowledges, there are
significant differences between Christian theism and Platonism). A
glossary in the back of the book may have been helpful to those of us
who are not as advanced in the field of philosophy.
Other essays in the book covered whether human beings have a soul,
the challenge of postmodernism to Christianity, how to be a virtuous
learner in the information age, a defense of a classical apologetics
based on reason, the abortion issue, and the meaning of true happiness.
J.P. Moreland wrote the final essay in the book. There were arguments
in the book that I found to be good, and there were times when I did not
think that the authors were effectively refuting the other side (i.e.,
the naturalists, the postmodernists). They did, however, refer the
reader to other resources, in case the reader wanted to learn more:
there is a list of Moreland’s publications in the back of the book, and
Moreland referred to neuroscientists who believe that humans have a
soul. Overall, while the book does interact with contrary
points-of-view, its intended audience seems to be conservative
Christians, as it exhorts them on the importance of classical
apologetics and the need to hold fast to certain Christian ideas (i.e.,
the existence of a soul, the historicity of Adam and Eve, appealing to
nature to argue for God’s existence, etc.).
It interested me that the book did not focus much on arguments for
the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was an acknowledgment in one
essay that such arguments are important, since arguments for the
existence of God (except, possibly, for the ontological argument) did
not necessarily demonstrate that the God is the Christian God. But
there was little attempt in the book to demonstrate that the Christian
revelation, specifically, is true. J.P. Moreland in other works,
however, has discussed arguments for Christ’s resurrection.
My favorite parts of the book were its more personal aspects: the
anecdotes about what Moreland’s life and work meant to some of the
authors, and J.P. Moreland’s struggle with anxiety and depression and
his willingness to be vulnerable about this in his apologetics. I also
appreciated the book’s discussion about true happiness: how it is not us
having pleasure at getting what we want, but rather is the serenity
that comes from a life that is in accord with virtue. Moreland’s
discussion about spiritual disciplines was also worthwhile to read.