Truth and Consequences

Truth and ConsequencesReviewed by: Benjamin McKinney, professional writing major at Taylor University



Title: Truth & Consequences

Author: Ralph E. Carlson

Publisher: iUniverse

Publication Date: August 7, 2015

Format: Paperback

Length: 99 Pages


Have you ever seen a misunderstanding that masqueraded as an argument? Two friends strike up a discussion that starts to go south, and battle lines are drawn before anybody quite realizes it. As you listen to what each is saying, however, you realize that they don’t really disagree at all. They think their positions are diametrically opposed, but they aren’t. Each is fighting against what he thinks the other is saying—not what his friend actually is defending. It’s a simple misunderstanding, but breaking up the argument will call for some clear statements and genuine listening from all involved.

This sort of reasonable understanding is exactly what Ralph E. Carlson strives to facilitate in his book, Truth & Consequences. Our culture is a captive audience to the supposed battle between faith and reason—you’ll find evidence of it plastered all over headlines and trumpeted by supporters on both sides. Carlson, however, sees a misunderstanding rather than a true contradiction.

Truth & Consequences seeks to reconcile faith with reason, showing the logical possibility and even probability of Christianity’s truth. Carlson puts forward his reasoning in clear, methodical ways, cutting through strata of cultural confusion about issues of science and religion. The deceptively slim book takes the reader from basic propositions about the origins of the world all the way to complex speculations about God’s relationship with America and God’s role in recent world history. Carlson provides evidence for his case throughout, and occasionally works to enliven his logical prose with philosophical appeals, the testimonies of believers, and even references to outside works such as Macbeth.

It bears noting, however, that at times the target audience of Truth & Consequences is hard to pin down. Carlson uses the first several chapters to argue carefully that a Creator exists, that there is life after death, and that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. It seems to be a pitch aimed at a skeptical non-believer seeking clarity and substance—the lengthy sequence of propositions would likely come across as rather dry to one who already supports Carlson’s conclusions. This is perfectly acceptable, and would be true of any book of this nature. As has been mentioned above, however, Truth & Consequences takes a bit of a surprising turn. Once Carlson has worked to convince the reader of both the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ, he quickly shifts his focus toward contemporary concerns in the American church. Though an established Christian might appreciate the points he raises, a seeking reader—one who, in theory, has only begun to entertain the possibility of Jesus Christ as a real figure in history—will likely become confused.

Ultimately, then, Truth & Consequences is a serviceable defense of Christianity’s logical integrity and a surprisingly clear exploration of faith’s relationship with reason. In these roles, it is concise and competent, even if not always exciting. In the book’s latter half, however, Carlson suddenly directs his attention toward the future of America and the interpretation of American law, and he discusses the role of religion in the classroom. This bewildering shift in tone may leave many readers lost—particularly those most likely to benefit from Carlson’s earlier arguments.


Rating (1 to 5)

3 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians and seeking adults

Christian Impact

In this work, Carlson defends the logical viability of the Christian faith and speculates about God’s relationship with the American church.

Benjamin McKinney is a professional writing major at Taylor University and a freelance writer for The Aboite Independent.

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