Rethinking Human Nature: A Christian Materialist Alternative to the Soul by Kevin Corcoran
Dr. Corcoran is a philosopher teaching at Calvin College and specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is a philosopher who connects philosophy with bible, theology, faith, and science. This book is a development of a view of persons as fully embodied beings.
Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible by Joel B. Green
Dr. Joel B. Green is Professor of New Testament interpretation and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Before that he served on the faculty and administration of Asbury Theological Seminary. When Joel Green became interested in the questions of body and soul he responded by pursuing the topic from biblical, theological, philosophical, and scientific directions. Although trained in New Testament, he began graduate work in neuroscience at the University of Kentucky. While he didn’t finish a degree he has a more complete perspective on the topic than many theologians or philosophers. Borrowing from the product description, in this book he explores “what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife.”
Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson
Dr. Thompson is a psychiatrist in private practice, and this book comes from his study and experience in this context. The book explores the relationship between brain and mind and looks at the impact a better understanding of this relationship might have on both spiritual practices and relationships. As a Christian, Dr. Thompson looks at the impact new findings in neuroscience have on our understanding of Christian practice and transformation.
Post: Anatomy of the Soul
Half the Sky is a powerful book that explores the oppression of women worldwide, from rape, sex-trafficking, and maternal mortality to domestic violence, “cutting” and infanticide. Half the Church takes this and looks at biblical portraits of women and at the need for action.
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by by Tim Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf
If you happen to, oh say, teach at a seminary or pastor in a church it is relatively easy to see how your work connects to Gods work. If, on the other hand, you happen to run a business, work as a secretary, repair cars, or be on the faculty of a major secular University it can be somewhat harder. This book grows out of the experience Keller has had with younger adults (and older adults I expect) as they wrestle with what it means to be Christian in all aspects of life, including work. Every Good Endeavor is an interesting book, exhibiting some of the best of Keller as he focuses on a “merely Christian” approach to work. He draws on insights from Scripture (Both Genesis and Ecclesiastes plays a significant role) and from a broad range of scholars and thinkers, including Christian thinkers such as Dorothy Sayers, Andy Crouch, JRR Tolkien, Mark Noll, and many more.
Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature by Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown
Malcolm Jeeves is a Christian, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of St. Andrews. Of late he has been thinking and writing about the intersection of mind and brain and the relationship of the psychology and neuroscience with Christian faith and religious belief. The first book provides an overview of the relationship between neuroscience, psychology, and religion. In this book Jeeves and Brown survey the history and current state of neuroscience with emphasis on the interface with religion. The second book covers much of the same material but does so in a conversational, question and answer style. This being the 21st century the format of the conversation is not an exchange of long letters, but an exchange of e-mails, short and long, over a course of undergraduate studies. Although the presentation is a fictional conversation, the questions posed by “Ben” represent the cumulative experience of more than half a century interacting with students taking psychology.
Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith. by David G. Myers and Malcolm A. Jeeves.
This book is part of a larger series of books looking at various disciplines “through the eyes of faith.” Jeeves (Professor Emeritus of Psychology at St. Andrews) and Myers (Professor of Psychology at Hope College), tackle many of the tough questions in the dialogue between psychology (or neuroscience) and Christian faith.
The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 by J. Richard Middleton
Dr. J. Richard Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester New York and has specialized in the Old Testament and in creation theology among other things. The Liberating Image explores the meaning of the image of God and what it means for the nature and calling of mankind. This is an academic book – with plenty of footnotes – and the language at times reflects this academic nature. Yet it is interesting and quite readable even for the educated layperson like me.
Posts: Interpreting the Imago Dei, No Text is an Island, The Artistry of Creation, Cosmic Temple, and Imago Dei, All Humanity is the Image of God, Humans Created to Serve the gods?, Genesis 1-10 as Ideological Critique, Babel as Ideological Critique, In the Image of a Violent God?, A New Look at Genesis 1, Richard Middleton: After The Liberating Image.
Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman
Lieberman is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He is a social psychologist specializing in social cognition. The primary message of Lieberman’s book is that we are formed to be social. While it is common to consider our most basic needs to be those related to such items as food, shelter, and safety, Lieberman claims that social connection is in fact our bedrock need. Of course we need food and shelter, but as humans we get food, shelter, safety, and much more through social connection. This is the foundation on which all else rests.
Shermer is an outspoken skeptic of religion.
Posts: Is it All a Trick of the Mind?.
Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist by Christof Koch
Christof Koch is a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at CalTech. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family, son of a German diplomat, traveled a great deal in his childhood and youth: Missouri, Amsterdam, Bonn, Ottawa, and Rabat. He writes, among other things “about the wellsprings of [his] inner conflict between religion and reason” and “why [he] grew up wanting to be a scientist.” In the last chapter he comes back and muses about the relationship between science and religion and the existence of God. He wanders through the experience of some 32 years studying consciousness, neuroscience, and will; 26 of them as a professor at CalTech. He introduces the science and reflects on it.
Neither Gods Nor Beasts by Elof Axel Carlson
Elof Carlson is a geneticist who taught biology for decades at UCLA and at Stony Brook. He calls himself a non-theist, and has little appreciation for religious faith. He is not, however, a militant atheist. The premise of his book is that humans are distinct from other animals in possessing reason and his argument is one for science, science education, and the use of reason.