Author of Stories We Tell Ourselves, Richard Holloway, a former Bishop and prolific author, is looking for the meaning of life.

“For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul’” (Mark 8:36)  or, in the writer’s words, “What does it profit us if we resolve all the questions the existence of the world poses for us, and destroy ourselves in the process?’”

In his latest book Holloway looks at all these issues from a chiefly scientific point of view and asks the reader to travel with him on a journey starting with the Big Bang.  He admits that “the emergence of humans and other living creatures is best explained as the intended result of an intelligent mind”, and that even a tiny shift in the orbit of the earth round the sun and life would never have emerged, but he continues to hold on to evolution and suggests to the reader that the Bible version is a myth.  While researching many different belief systems he allows spirituality (other worldliness) to creep in under the heading of mysticsm but seems reluctant to link it to any form of deity. He agrees that people can reach different conclusions from reading the same science.

Ultimately, Holloway asks more questions than he answers. He flirts on the edge of spirituality while denouncing creation. He sits on the fence between faith in God and total atheism but seems unable to completely abandon either belief system preferring to keep a foot in both camps. Finally he asks what story do we choose to live by and how does our response affect our lives.

Stories We Tell Ourselves is a disturbing book which may be rejected by Christians but not go far enough for fundamental humanists. He does, however, introduce us to the work of Nietzsche, Bonhoeffer and Dostoevsky  for further reading on this topic.