A Short Review of Polkinghorne and Beale’s Questions of Truth

QuestionsOfTruthPolkinghorne and Beale’s “Questions of Truth” uses a Q&A format to answer 51 questions about religion and science. Polkinghorne is a quantum physicist and a winner of the Templeton Prize.

The book includes some very good, pithy answers to common objections about religion and science, and religion in general

It covers a lot of ground within ‘religion and science’, treating issues like evolution, morality, consciousness, and epistemology

Occasionally provides very interesting insights, like the observation that scientific realism favors a close coupling between epistemology (what it’s possible to know) and ontology (what is actually true)

Badly edited. Several times, I noticed that paragraphs were repeated verbatim and there was a lot of unnecessary repetition of ideas.

The writing was too informal and almost breezy in its dismissal of certain objections.

I had numerous theological “cringes”. The authors make very little attempt to bring the Bible into their discussion and a number of their theological solutions to particular problems are controversial, to put it mildly

Interestingly, I think their bent toward theological liberalism weakens their arguments substantially. If I were an atheist, I would absolutely not let them get away with vague appeals to a ‘God of love’ to solve various problems. In contrast, the Bible and historic Christian theology tend to have much more robust answers.


A mixed bag. The theology is enough for me to give it a big ol’ thumbs down. But there are a handful of great quotes, insights, and references to literature that do a bit to redeem it.