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Reviews Comments: I wouldn't recommend it Knowledgeof Angels film/book review by Akumu Soul

Many people who read the book claim it to be an insightful piece of work that most likely changed their lives/outlook.

However, the argument presented by both sides in the book are no more deep or sophisticated than those you'd find in the YouTube comment section (although the book certainly is more verbose- don't read it if you have a short attention span!).

The only arguments the religious side presents are Aquinas's. This is all well and good, if the writer was a 16 year old who'd happened to read an R.E. textbook. It's slightly less impressive coming from a published author. Additionally, Beneditx provides no rebukes to Palinor's counter-arguments other than the odd, easily disproved addendum to the main argument. In other words, the author has set up an argument between a person used to arguing religion (Palinor states himself that he often argues religion with his friends back home) and a person who has only ever read books on the subject, with no opposition. It's like an argument between a physics professor and a 5 year old, and the professor's arguing that the sky's red- no matter how outlandish the professor's argument, he easily outmatches the child, through out-of-context snippets of fact and rhetoric. It misrepresents one side.

Then, on the atheist side, we have Palinor. He provides convincing arguments- he'd have thousands of thumbs-up if he ever followed his true YT calling- and yet as a character, he's quite possibly the most boring, tedious man I've ever had the displeasure of reading about. He doesn't change through the entire story! It makes it extremely difficult to care about him, and by the time he was killed, I actually didn't care enough about him to feel sad OR happy. He was also quite the unlikable character- he goes a couple weeks without his wife before deciding hey, he wants sex, dammit. SOME loyalty to his spouse would have been, well, EXPECTED, really.

Overall, you could view the book as a story or a philosophical paper. If you view it as a story, Palinor has no redeeming qualities, and if you view it as a paper, Beneditx is without virtue. Either way, the whole thing is hideously/hilariously imbalanced.

Long story short, it's only seen as good by people who have no prior knowledge of Christian (or just religious) philosophy. Or of literature.

If you're doing this for Lit., I'm so sorry.

Comments

  • Fireblood
  • 13th Aug 15
I don't agree. While it wasn't perfect, I enjoyed this book. Certainly it was deeper and more sophisticated than a Youtube argument. I think what the author intended to show was a young, inexperienced theologian who relied on one author he loved (Aquinas) with the expectation he could easily convert an atheist and counter any arguments he'd make, then was unpleasantly surprised. This is not surprising given the Renaissance context, when few if any people would openly argue against Christianity and in favor of atheism (especially given the dire consequences the book shows). I don't know whether the author is herself an atheist and intended the book to advance that view, with the scales deliberately titled Palinor's way, or simply wanted to tell a story that happens to involve this. I'd lean toward the former, but if it's the latter the story still has merit for me. You seem to feel some tropes are inherently bad. An author tract, if that's what the book is, can be done well, as I think it was here if that's the case. I didn't find Palinor boring or tedious, but rather calm, humble, and firm in his views. However, I do agree with you that his sudden three-way with the servants was discordant and creepy. Despite that, I don't find him completely unlikable or with no redeeming qualities whatsoever (see above). Personally I view the book as overall good, and this despite my prior knowledge of Christian and general religious philosophy (though I'll claim no expertise). I would recommend this book.

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