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Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Senseby Francis Spufford
Synopses & Reviews
Francis Spufford's Unapologetic is a wonderfully pugnacious defense of Christianity. Refuting critics such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the "new atheist" crowd, Spufford, a former atheist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, argues that Christianity is recognizable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the grown-up dignity of Christian experience.
Fans of C. S. Lewis, N. T. Wright, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Karr, Diana Butler Bass, Rob Bell, and James Martin will appreciate Spufford's crisp, lively, and abashedly defiant thesis.
Unapologetic is a book for believers who are fed up with being patronized, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made.
"Unapologetic rhymes with splenetic, and that's one aspect of British writer Spufford's (Red Plenty) rhetorical tour de force, in which he not only takes on the new atheists but also the secularism of his own culture (6% of Britons regularly attend church, the author notes early on). Spufford stakes out ground for arguing the value of Christianity that is neither ontological, teleological, or any-ological. God, he asserts, is the ground of being, experienced emotionally, as one might experience Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. Having moved the boundaries of the argument, Spufford has at it, swearing, skewering, and bringing a sense of humor to bear on the question, 'Why bother to be Christian?' A gifted writer, the author is closer to the American William James, who grasped the psychological payoff of religious belief, than he is to fellow Englishman and revered Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. The rhetorical pileup is wearing at times, as are so many contemporary arguments about religion. Spufford's style is as bracing as a cup of real English breakfast tea — strong enough to satisfy believers. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
First published in the United Kingdom to great acclaim, Unapologetic is a wonderfully pugnacious defense of Christianity. But it isn't an argument that Christianity is true—because how could anyone know that (or indeed its opposite)? It's an argument that Christianity is recognizable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the grown-up dignity of Christian experience.
Unhampered by niceness, this is a book for believers who are fed up with being patronized, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative, and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made.
About the Author
Francis Spufford, a former Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year (1997), has edited two acclaimed literary anthologies and a collection of essays about the history of technology. His first book, I May Be Some Time, won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of 1996, the Banff Mountain Book Prize, and a Somerset Maugham Award. His second, The Child That Books Built, gave Neil Gaiman "the peculiar feeling that there was now a book I didn't need to write." His third book, Backroom Boys, was called "as nearly perfect as makes no difference" by the Daily Telegraph, and Red Plenty was one of Dwight Garner's New York Times 10 Favorite Books of 2012. Spufford is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and teaches at Goldsmiths College in London.
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