The Great Partnership God, Science and the Search for Meaning. Jonathan Sacks

The Great Partnership God Science and the Search for Meaning Jonathan Sacks Jonathan Sacks sets out a clear and forceful argument for the complementary nature of science and religion drawing on an eclectic range of historical and philosophical arguments to prove the necessit

  • Title: The Great Partnership God, Science and the Search for Meaning. Jonathan Sacks
  • Author: Jonathan Sacks
  • ISBN: 9780340995259
  • Page: 409
  • Format: Paperback
  • Jonathan Sacks sets out a clear and forceful argument for the complementary nature of science and religion, drawing on an eclectic range of historical and philosophical arguments to prove the necessity of both if we are to understand the human condition.

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    About “Jonathan Sacks

    • Jonathan Sacks

      Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi.As the spiritual head of the United Synagogue, the largest synagogue body in the UK, he is the Chief Rabbi of the mainstream British orthodox synagogues, but not the religious authority for the Federation of Synagogues or the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations or the progressive movements, Masorti, Reform and Liberal Judaism.

    700 thoughts on “The Great Partnership God, Science and the Search for Meaning. Jonathan Sacks

    • "Science takes things apart to see how they work, religion puts things together to see what they mean."That's the overarching perspective that Rabbi Sacks applies in this book which is part defence of the compatibility of science and religion and part assertion of the value of religion and its meaning and values – particularly the irreducible mystery of love – in the face of atomistic individualism and reductive ideologies.Sacks notes that the meaning of a system does not inhere within the [...]


    • My brother was so worried about me reading my first Richard Dawkins a couple of weeks ago that he bought me this as a present. It's the perfect counterpoint. Rabbi Sacks makes a very strong case for the co-existence of religion and science and how each one offers us something different but vital. Brim full of great anecdotes and wisdom both secular and divine, this was a gentle, non-confrontational read. That approach alone puts it ahead of Dawkins's slightly more belligerent framing.


    • It was difficult to decide how many stars to give this book because it was incredibly strong and important in some parts, but in others, merely laborious and repetitive.Let me explain.First, it's important to say from the outset that I think is Rabbi Sacks is incredibly learned, maybe a genius, and his facility to weave Biblical texts with those held sacred from the Western canon is always thrilling for this English teacher.Also, as a response to recent works by New Atheists (Sacks's term, not s [...]


    • I think that this is a wonderful book, as brilliant a synthesis of science and religion as one could hope to find today.I thought the theological interpretation of Darwin's theory was an interesting and original one.I also admire Rabbi Sacks' humility and respect for the various religions and social groups (such as scientists), while at the same time still being able to firmly articulate ideas.Having read a few of his books, I wasn't sure if this one would contain original ideas, but that fear w [...]


    • Well worth the read for anyone who takes religion and science seriously; doesn't matter whether you're affiliated with Judaism. Rabbi Sacks's central thesis is that no system contains meaning inherently; it is imposed from without. In this context, he takes it to mean that the physical universe (as governed by laws of nature, which he apparently takes for granted as autonomous) is in itself meaningless; it is only outside agents of sentience (such as religion) which ascribe meaning to it. All at [...]


    • The title is incredibly misleading. This is nothing more than a defense of Christianity. Not only does the author make wild generalizations about practically everything, he also does not bother to discuss any other major world religions besides his own. How is it possible to discuss the intersectionality of faith and science when the word "faith" is only defined as a single religion? It isn't possible. The concept is great, but Sacks' argument is deeply flawed. I couldn't even make it through th [...]


    • This is the best book on science and religion I have read. I'm also very moved and impressed with Rabbi Sacks view of religious faith, particularly within Judaism. It restores my faith that the Jewish people are not condemned to a perpetual internecine, self-destructive warfare. Well written, erudite and well up argued.



    • How to form questions about god in the modern science? The atheistic and rational side of me asked first about the existential question “does god exist”, then the value question “how does god relate to my life”. Set aside textual records, there is no way to prove god’s existence, scientifically. In such path of inquiry, the second question becomes moot. We live through birth, growth, and death; “the rest is silence”. I had long put the god question in the pile of myth, superstition [...]



    • This book argues for the benefits of belief in God and religion. Religion binds people into groups,creates altruism and defeats egotism (p.156). I was reminded of a Psych 101 experiment with the 5 monkeys, banana and cold water where the monkeys are forced to consider how an act by an individual monkey affects the group. The advantage of religion is that one's acts are related to the impact on the group and thus one must act in a moral sense.(P.155). He contrasts left brain, linear, scientific ( [...]


    • At times, the best I've ever read on religion and its important connection to all of life, especially science. At other times, so incredibly wrong about God and salvation--understandably given his Judaism. Worth a read, no doubt. But not a complete endorsement.


    • The best book on religion and science I have ever read. Rabbi Sacks is humane, educated, and open to both wonder and reason. He makes the combination make perfect sense.


    • This is a very good book! Rabbi Sacks is very thoughtful and articulate in describing the importance of both science and religion and pointing out how well they work together. Both are necessary. He says that science analyzes and pulls things apart to explain how they work, while religion brings things together and gives meaning to life. We must be thoughtful and search and study and learn all that we can through the scientific method, but religion endures and gives purpose. This is a critical t [...]


    • I did not fall in love with this book from the beginning. As I trudged through the introduction and the first few chapters, I found the tone of the book overwhelmingly analytical. "All the proofs in the world will not get them to change their mind." Pg 31, said in reference to people who are unable to gain trust in the world based on past experiences. On the next page he says, "we cannot prove that life is meaningful and that God exists," yet this is exactly what he seems to be trying to do. Ini [...]


    • Prior to reading this book, I either skimmed through an entirely good book, web searched a summary, or just never read the book. This book was different. It was filled with knowledge and lessons and powerful elements of life that needed to be discussed. Jonathan Sacks dispersed information in an elegant way, with the occasional biased thought that some of my peers thought to be frustrating. It just a few pages, Sacks explains the purpose of his book."Science takes things apart to see how they wo [...]


    • Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks' marvelous, intelligent book on the relationship between science and religion is a wonderful if meandering explanation of why God (particularly the God of Abraham which he distinguishes harshly from the God of Aristotle) is meaningful for us as 21st Century folks. His reflections on such themes as the problem of evil, religious fundamentalism (and indifferentism) around the world, Darwinian biology, relationships, and the sources of meaning within our lives are compelli [...]


    • I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, and its argument for the development of right-brain/left-brained separated search for meaning in religion and science (who knew that the Jews invented biblical interpretation via right-to-left Hebrew and the Greeks invented scientific objectivity via the left-to-right Hellenic languages, and later, English). The middle-to-end, though, became sort of an overall argument for "why not?" spirituality, which I can certainly understand and relate to, but th [...]


    • A very important book. It reminds you the basic truth, that "facts" as revealed by science, don't provide meaning to human life. Echoing Victor Frankel, you don't have to be religious to realize that meaning comes from a sense of purpose. He also stresses the often too forgotten fact, that Western civilization owes its political and scientific outlook the Bible. The Greeks may have helped in phrasing ideas in Philosophical terms, but the moral origins were in Jerusalem rather than Athens.


    • I don't think I scratched the surface of everything this book has to offer. For now, I'll put it back on the shelf, but I'll definitely pick it back up again and read it at least one more time.


    • Mixed bag. First of all, I very much like Jonathan Sacks' tone and perspective. He's the Chief Rabbit of England and, like Rowan Williams, current Archbishop of Canterbury, he has an encompassing vision of spirit and intellect working in concord in the interests of a kinder, more harmonious world. He sees no inherent conflict beween science and religion and, in the first of the three major sections of this book, does a very good job presenting his vision. Beginning with some really interesting m [...]


    • I have just started this book. Gifted by my son for my birthday, I am absoutely overwhelmed by the intelligence and the philosophical reasoning that this book as presented. I'm only half way finished and I am completely stunned by this author's brilliance. Full review after I'm finished.And finallyThis author is highly intelligent, impeccably moral, and has the wisdom of a saint. In all of the morality vs. religion AND science vs. religion books that I have read over the last few years, this one [...]


    • I often found this book very annoying. For one, he says he's not trying to convince anyone but I wasn't convinced of that. Why write a (non-fiction) book with arguments if not to convince your readers of something? I gave it 4 stars despite my annoyance because he says some important things I don't hear anyone else saying. It cannot be said often enough that religion isn't meant to be an alternative science--one that doesn't work as well. Religion has a completely different purpose--one the auth [...]


    • Scholarly, lucidly written and even-handed, Rabbi Sacks' book has much to offer skeptic and theist alike on the relationship between science and religion. Rabbi Sacks' overarching thesis is that science and religion complement one another: "Science takes things apart to see how they work," he writes, "religion puts things together to see what they mean." Sacks also likens this complementarity to that holding between the left- and right- hemispheres of the brain, as well as the complementarity he [...]


    • This is an extraordinarily eloquent argument that science and religion are not conflicting or mutually exclusive areas of intellectual inquiry. Instead, this book argues that Science "takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean." Or put another way "Science is about explanation. Religion is about meaning." In essence the two areas of inquiry are complimentary rather than contradictory. In the face of world where religious extremism captures headli [...]


    • This is a brilliant discourse on the relationship between science, faith, and religion. It should be read by three groups of people: 1) religious fundamentalists who have rejected science; 2) secular fundamentalists who have rejected religion; and 3) everyone in between.The author, Jonathan Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi.In THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP Sacks rejects the extremism of both religious and secul [...]


    • I found this book to be an enjoyable read, a book that significantly improved my understanding of the topic, and an interesting contribution to the debate between theism and atheism.Let's start with the last point. Despite his profession, Rabbi Sacks' genuine care and respect for non believers and other religions lends tremendous credibility to his argument. Rather than attempting to convince the reader of a particular religious or personal view, he conceptualized the book as a contribution to t [...]


    • Like all books, there are good and bad things one can say about this book. First the good.Rabbi Sacks writes very well. He is both eloquent and accessible. Aside from his writing style, Sacks also presents some rather striking points within his book regarding the relationship between science and religion. I admire his commitment to demonstrating the mutual relationship the two can share. Although not the first writer to present this idea, Sacks emphasizes the different ways these two strands of [...]


    • To preserve my objectivity, I've had to rate this down a star.It really is a four-star book. Clearly and cogently written, it tackles big questions about the role of faith and science in explaining the world and the meaning of life. The only problem is that Rabbi Sacks sells it as an examination of the great partnership between the two. How these two spheres of human belief and endeavour work together. What it actually is, is a brilliant exposition of the discrete spheres that faith and science [...]


    • Based on the case presented by Rabbi Sacks, I assigned three stars to this work in 2011. The definition of science as the search for explanation and religion as the pursuit of meaning seems lame: explanation v meaning. Okay, if mortals are "meaning-seeking animals" then it follows that science and religion are two sides of one coin. We are well on our way in the search for meaning. Later, he describes Judaism as a combination of universality (God) and particularity (the variety of religious expe [...]


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