I thoroughly enjoyed Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith. This new title traces the journey of Dr. Holly Ordway, a professor of English literature, from devout atheism to orthodox Christianity.
She begins by recounting her background and how her initial indifference to Christianity turned to hostility during college. Her opinion was that “faith was at best a delusion and at worst total hypocrisy.” (p. 17) Years later, her background in English literature and love of poetry, whose greatest works spring from Christian roots, began to affect her, preparing her to investigate matters of faith more deeply.
Eventually she became good friends with her fencing coach and his wife, who also happened to be Christians. Josh and Heidi intrigued Dr. Ordway because they didn’t fit her mental stereotype of Christians as ignorant and intolerant at all. They proved to be intelligent, well-educated, and thoughtful…people she admired and wanted to spend more time with!
She became more and more curious and was amazed as she probed further to find that it is actually possible to have a faith that is based on reason! As she entered into further dialogue on the subject of their faith, she says that,
“At the time, I just knew that I felt safe. I knew that I was respected, that neither Josh nor Heidi would try to convert me, so I could let my guard down like I’d never dared to before.
They offered no Bible quotes. No sharing of how God had worked in their lives. No appeal to my happiness or peace of mind. What, then? Philosophy. Ideas. Dialogue.” (p. 43)
As she began to investigate the claims of Christianity more deeply, she was determined to know the truth, no matter what. For her, truth came above happiness…she was determined to know the truth whether or not it was what she wanted to hear. And she was dead set on investigating rationally and intellectually, not emotionally.
“If it were true that I could pursue this journey as a rational endeavor, then why not do so with as much intellectual rigor as I could muster?” (p. 77)
I found reading as Dr. Ordway shared her journey, first coming to believe in a “First Cause” for the universe, then an “Ultimate Good” from which all virtues are derived, then an actual Person, and finally to belief in the resurrected Christ, very affirming to my faith. The philosophical arguments that she ultimately found convincing are a great encouragement and reminder that our faith is not just based on emotion but has an actual solid foundation in reason and intellect.
Dr. Ordway eventually made a profession of faith, was baptized, and became a member of the Anglican church. She blogs at Hieropraxis and speaks on faith and reason around the country.
The book is fairly short, quick read but packs a punch, providing much food for thought. I found it enjoyable, encouraging, and intellectually stimulating.
Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing my review copy.