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Faitheism – Why Christians and Atheists have more in common that you think

  • by Krish Kandiah Hodder and Stoughton £14.99 261 pages ISBN 978 1 473 64894 4

In this timely book, Krish Kandiah offers what he calls the ‘Conversation Matrix’. This is made up of made up of four quadrants: contention, collaboration, collision and collusion. He suggests that the interaction between people with diametrically opposed views can be improved If we remember this matrix, and be harmed if we ignore it.  

Our disagreements can be softened if we are honest about differences, learn how to understand the standpoint of those with different views, refuse to project stereotypes, be fair in representing their views, and recognise common ground between us.

Using the four C’s of his matrix, Kandiah tackles 10 issues where Christians and atheists appear to be polarised in their viewpoints. These range from the kind of people faith and atheism produce, to how we read the Bible, to the ways that we seek to make sense of suffering.

The author uses his experience as part of an ethnic minority in the UK, a former Hindu converted to Christianity, a man with a wide range of interests, an influential Christian leader, in the church and society, foster parent, and public speaker, to enrich and inform his case.

With a fresh twist on Martin Luther King’s famous I have a dream speech, Kandiah reimagines the type of attitude required to shape the conversation advocated by this book. The first line puts it well:

“I have a dream that we will believe the best about each other, even when we don’t believe the same as each other.”

This would be a useful book to read if you are looking for ways to engage with others who have a different set of beliefs. We all have conversations everyday that would be improved if we learned to take on board the spirit of a book like this.

John Wood is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex.

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