Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Coming soon: The Language of God by Francis S. Collins

Steven Swinford, writing for The Sunday Times (Britain), reports on a book written by "The scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome...": I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome (June 11, 2006). The headline and lead are a bit misleading, in that they imply that "finding God" is something that just happened to Francis Collins. The 56-year-old scientist is elsewhere described in the article as having been an atheist until the age of 27.

Swinford notes that Collins joins Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein as scientists whose studies deepened their faith in God, and also lets Collins express his disappointment that so many people think science and religion have to be at war, and that shrill voices have "dominated the stage for the last 20 years."

The Times article says the book will be published in September, but Barnes & Noble has it available for pre-order with a July 11 release date. The publisher is Simon & Schuster. Clicking on the book cover will take you to Barnes & Noble, which has more information.

Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

hat tip: The Alliance Alert (June 13, 2006)

In the article, Collins is said to have found his way to belief first by noting the strength that faith gave to some of his most critical patients, and secondly by visiting a Methodist minister, who gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The book changed his life. (I've heard that from other people, haven't you?)

Mere Christianity
Mere Christianity

P.S. While looking up Mere Christianity, I came across this book that is touted as the story behind how Mere Christianity came to be written, and how Lewis first became a household name. The author is Justin Phillips. The publisher is HarperCollins, with a publish date of January 2006. I see the title on the book cover at B&N and the title in the write-up don't match. My best guess is that the publisher had a working title and dummy cover with "C.S. Lewis Goes To War" but changed it after providing mock-ups to booksellers, because at HarperCollins the title is C.S. Lewis in a Time of War.

C. S. Lewis in a Time of War: The World War II Broadcasts That Riveted a Nation and Became the Classic Mere Christianity
C. S. Lewis in a Time of War: The World War II Broadcasts That Riveted a Nation and Became the Classic Mere Christianity

P.P.S. Too funny. I just checked Amazon, and they also have a book cover with one title and text that has another title -- but in the inverse of Barnes & Noble!

Well... too funny, but not really. I feel for the author of this book. It must feel like some kind of curse to have the working and final titles all mixed together for public consumption. At any rate, I'm notifying the publisher, and hope its quality control guys can sort it all out.

In the meantime, the subject sounds interesting. Has anyone seen the book itself? How is it?

Update: Oops. Egg on my face. The author, Justin Phillips, died in 2000, shortly after finishing the manuscript of this book. One of his daughters finished things up for him and brought the book to publication. So, I should say, I feel for his daughter, Laura Treneer...


Michelle said...

I've read Mere Christianity and it is an easy read: very enlightening, and very easy to digest. It's a good overview of what Christianity is all about and since it was directed to the common radio-listening audience, the language is simpler and more direct. This doesn't mean the topics are treated with simplicity, rather that complex topics are explained in a clear manner.

A really good book for those who never had a good childhood catechesis and are therefore a bit deficiant in their understanding of their religion, and also for those who do not have the time or mental energy (like moms) to tackle heavier theology books.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the two titles of the book relate to the UK and USA editions of the book - each with a different title.

Might I also say that I find your amusement at the expense of the deceased author to be somewhat disrespectful. Lets hope his family doesn't stumble accross your blog.

Kathryn Judson said...

Anonymous, What amusement at the expense of the author? I know from personal experience how hard it is to get glitches fixed in bookselling databases (I make my living in bookselling), and I was commiserating. My laughing was at how everybody seemed to have somehow managed to have two titles, but not in the same way. This moved the situation into the solidly ridiculous, and also made it unique in my experience.

I did write appropriate people to get the problem fixed, and I also ordered the book, read it, and have recommended it to others.

I'm sorry if I caused you any distress. I'm still not sure how you read amusement at the expense of a dead person into it, but obviously I didn't do as good a job writing as I should have. My apologies.