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I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning: A Response to Nihilism

Peter S. Williams

Damaris Publishing, (Softcover), 499 pp., 2004

Item# B101
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In the first half of the movie Bourne Identity , Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) tries to figure out who he is after awakening with a severe case of amnesia. And once he figures it out, he discovers he is not so happy about the person he was. In his new book, I Wish I Could Believe in Meaning, Peter Williams uses this movie image as a metaphor for many young people today, who like Jason Bourne spend their time desperately going over and over a small number of clues to try and understand the meaning and purpose of their life.

In fact this book was, in part, a response to just such a question from a student, as well as a response to the popular writings of British scientist, Richard Dawkins. Dawkins claims that the nihilistic truth revealed to us by science is far superior to the alternative of throwing our brains away to believe in God. Williams disagrees with Dawkins� assumption that theists must throw away their brains, and with his definition of science. In response he brings together the expert testimony of philosophers, theologians, and scientists, to build a carefully reasoned case for a theistic understanding of life as both objectively meaningful, and a better explanation of the �clues� available to us at this time.

If you are of the opinion that nothing written by a philosopher can be understood by mere mortals, then you will be pleasantly surprised by this book. Williams extracts interesting nuggets of truth from great thinkers of the past and present and compares and contrasts them with familiar scenes from current TV shows and movies to make his points.

Have you ever wished you could believe in meaning and purpose in life? Or do you believe it, but can�t explain why? Have you been lured into the web of naturalism espoused by Richard Dawkins and others who claim life is the result of the purposeless random acts of nature? Then review the moral and aesthetic arguments presented by Williams, along with the evidence he summarizes for intelligent design from cosmology and biology. See if an answer comes into focus from the clues like it did for Jason Bourne.

Those who are looking to move beyond a general introduction to these topics will also find this book invaluable. The book includes extensive references and a bibliography with related websites, books and videos (including many references to resources on the ARN website).


Anyone who thinks that truth, beauty and goodness might have been condemned without a fair trail should read this wonderfully insightful and encouraging book.

-- Angus Menuge, Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University

About the Author

English philosopher and apologist Peter S. Williams works with the Southampton based Damaris trust (, a organization dedicated to relating Christianity and contemporary culture.� Williams studied Philosophy at Cardiff University (BA), Sheffield University (MA) and the University of East Anglia (MPhil), where he completed his thesis on objective definitions of truth, knowledge, goodness and beauty in relation to the nature of God.

Before joining Damaris, Williams spent three years as a student pastor for a church in Leicester. Williams has been published by: Healing & Wholeness Magazine, Philosophy Now, The Philosopher�s Magazine, Quodlibet Online Journal of Christian Theologyand Philosophy, and the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID).

Table of Contents

Encountering Dawkins: A Personal Account

Chapter 1 In which we meet a Medieval Dumb Ox and discover the Meaning of Meaning

Chapter 2 Meaning, Purpose and Nihilism -- Three Responses

Chapter 3 Unweaving the Rainbox

Chapter 4 From Ideology to Science

Chapter 5 Reducing Reductionism

Chapter 6 Unweaving Beauty

Chapter 7 Beauty and the Last Man

Chapter 8 Over the Rainbow

Chapter 9 Biological Signs of Purpose

Conclusion Getting a Handle on Hope


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