Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense

Francis Spufford

Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense

A brief, witty, personal, sharp-tongued defence of Christian belief, taking on Dawkins' The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great. 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 recognisable, 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 bits of our lives advertising agencies prefer to ignore. It's a book for believers who are fed up with being patronised, 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. 4.4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Religion & Spirituality
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP
Date of Publication September 2012
ISBN 978-0571225217
Publisher Faber & Faber
 

A brief, witty, personal, sharp-tongued defence of Christian belief, taking on Dawkins' The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great. 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 recognisable, 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 bits of our lives advertising agencies prefer to ignore. It's a book for believers who are fed up with being patronised, 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.

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Melanie McDonagh

This is a wonderful, effortlessly brilliant book. However, the author is picky — C of E, you see: he believes in the Nicene creed but isn’t sold on eternal life ... And although it’s fair enough to say that God is unprovable, it’s a cop-out not to say more about why faith isn’t unreasonable. Actually, I part company from him in all sorts of ways. Still, there are only a couple of good Christian polemicists I can think of: Terry Eagleton, the Marxist literary critic, is one, John Waters, the Irish journalist, is another. Now we’ve got Francis Spufford. Thank God.

06/09/2012

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The Sunday Times

John Carey

For me Unapologetic is Spufford’s most fascinating book since his 2002 memoir The Child That Books Built, which is saying a great deal. I don’t think it will convert anyone. I found my agnosticism undented after reading it ... But conversion isn’t the point. He admits he doesn’t know if there’s a God or not. Nobody does: it’s unknowable. What’s on offer here is vehement thought, ardent expostulation, and the conviction that what Spufford writes about is for him the most important thing in the world, or out of it.

09/09/2023

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The Guardian

Richard Holloway

He is at his best when talking about human sin and failure, which he calls HPtFtu — "the human propensity to fuck things up". He is honest about his own fuck-ups and the forgiveness that followed, which is why he believes Christianity, with its doctrine of unconditional acceptance, makes emotional sense. As he puts it: the grief we ourselves cause can be mended. He is also good at describing what it feels like to sit silently in front of the resonant absence and feel beckoned beyond it. This is not a book about religious theory; it is a record of religious experience.

15/09/2012

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The Independent

John Gray

Rightly, aside from a lengthy footnote in which he dismisses "the steaming heap of 'evolutionary' manure raked together by Richard Dawkins", Spufford does not respond to recent attacks on religion. Much more interestingly, he confronts the failings of Christianity — not least its squalid obsession with sexuality. Unapologetic is a rare gem, a book that carries conviction by being honest all the way through. That does not mean it is always persuasive. It is one thing to note that religion has an irreplaceable role in dealing with the flaws of the human animal, quite another to suggest that there is anything special about Christianity.

08/09/2012

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