Through Mud and Barbed Wire

What does the experience of war do to belief in God?  Can faith survive the trenches of Verdun? Should religion be regarded as a form of therapy for those traumatised when their world falls apart?  What can ‘God’ mean in the 21st century?

The sub-title of my new book is ‘Paul Tillich, Teilhard de Chardin and God after the First World War’ – and it’s exactly that.  It moves from the battlefields of the Great War to New York in the 1950s.


This is my first self-published book, after 37 conventionally published titles. I’ve done this in order to produce it quickly and cheaply.  The e-book is only 99p /$0.99 and the paperback £7.99 / $11.50.  No excuse for anyone not to risk buying a copy!

It’s historically based, but also seriously theological, challenging what ‘God’ has come to mean over the last hundred

Here’s how it starts…

‘After they died, I discovered a strange coincidence. Among those who survived the carnage of the Great War, two of the 20th century’s greatest religious thinkers had faced one another across exactly the same stretch of the Front on the devastated hillsides to the west of Verdun in June 1916. Both went on to describe their war service as the most formative experience of their lives and, out of that hell of exploding mud and body-parts, they were to forge radical new ideas about the role of religion and the future of humanity.

They could not have been more different: one was a Lutheran pastor and philosopher, proud to be Prussian and brought up to be politically and religiously conservative; the other a French Jesuit, fascinated by science and evolution and soaked in traditional Catholicism. Separated by no more than a few hundred yards of mud and barbed wire, they struggled, each in his own way, to make sense of their faith in the face of the horrors they witnessed on the battlefield. Paul Tillich served as a Lutheran chaplain, often also as a gravedigger, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as a stretcher-bearer. Their subsequent writings do not simply illustrate their own personal struggles with faith and their courage in the face of opposition, but shed light on some of the ways in which our thinking has changed over the last hundred years.’

For more information about this book, visit its website page here


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