Interview with Author Jim Agresti

Dear Power Writers,

I have a special surprise as we begin the new year. Author Jim Agresti is here with us today to discuss his newly published book, Rational Conclusions. Jim is a co-founder and president of Just Facts, a research and educational institute dedicated to investigating, documenting, and publishing facts about public policy issues. 

MARYANN:

Hello, Jim! Welcome to The Write Power Blog. It is a joy to have you with us today!  

JIM: 

Thank you MaryAnn. It is a great honor and pleasure to be your guest. 

MARYANN:

Jim, please tell us a little about yourself.

JIM: I was born and raised in New Jersey, received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University (‘88), and have previously worked as a designer of jet aircraft engines, a technical salesprofessional, and a chief engineer of a firm that customizes helicopters. I have been married for 13 years to an incredible woman and have two wonderful children who keep me surprised and smiling. 

MARYANN:

Jim, you are a former atheist who became a Christian through reading the Bible and discovering objective evidence for its accuracy. As a result, you’ve written a magnificent, recently published book entitled Rational Conclusions. Please tell us about your journey from atheism to Christianity and what prompted you to write your book. 

JIM:

I detail much of this throughout Rational Conclusions, but the condensed version is that two good friends gave me a Bible; I read and studied it over the course of year, and through this process, went from being a skeptic who considered the Bible to be a book of myths to being a firm believer in the Bible’s truthfulness. 

MARYANN:

What is the overall premise of your book, and is it targeted to the atheist, to Christians, to academics, or to the general public? 

JIM: 

Rational Conclusions shows how a broad array of academic disciplines support the Bible. This includes disciplines such as history, archaeology, physics, genetics, microbiology, and many other sciences. The book was primarily written for readers of a scientific disposition (both atheists and Christians), but I employ a special format designed for readers with varied levels of education and interest. My objective was to have as broad an appeal as possible without sacrificing thoroughness and accuracy. 

MARYANN:

What were some of the most surprising things you discovered while examining the relationship of these various disciplines with Scripture? 

JIM:

One of the most amazing things to discover about the Bible is its pinpoint accuracy on various matters relating to time. Whether we examine chronological details linked to historical events or the very nature of time itself, the Bible provides some remarkable insights that are firmly supported by historical and scientific data. 

MARYANN:

Did you find any areas that you were unable to reconcile, and is it possible for one still to have faith if one is unable to reconcile? 

JIM:

In Chapter 4 – which is entitled “Continuity” – I examine some seeming discrepancies in the Bible and show how they evaporate in the light of historical data that provides a fuller context for the Biblical texts. I also, however, provide an example of an apparent contradiction for which there is no known solution, but explain how this may in fact not be a conflict considering certain highly plausible circumstances. Thus, I think it is possible for one to have faith if one is unable to reconcile, but this faith need not be blind. 

MARYANN:

How would you describe the “leap of faith” necessary to move from reason to faith? 

JIM:

The Bible says that God calls to us to Himself, and I think He does this through our heads as well as our hearts. However, if our hearts are hard, all the reason in the world is fruitless. As the saying goes, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Hence, I think the leap from reason to faith occurs when we simply open our hearts to God. 

MARYANN:

What suggestions would you offer to a Christian discussing Christianity with an atheist? 

JIM:

The Scriptures tell us to be truthful, patient, and loving – and this is a great recipe for human relations –though it is not always easily prepared. 🙂 I’d like to elaborate on being truthful and point out that this entails a responsibility to find the truth before we speak. Don’t get me wrong – everyone is guilty of making honest mistakes, but we should be diligent about getting the facts straight before we make assertions. One should always bear in mind that God doesn’t command us to speak what we think to be true, but to speak the truth. 

MARYANN:

Your book took several years to write. What advice would you give to writers tackling a monumental book project such as yours? 

JIM:

Make sure it is a work you have been called to, often check your intentions and motivations to be sure they are pure, ask for the support and prayers of family and friends, and turn off the computer one day a week. God gave us the Sabbath for our benefit, and I found I got far more accomplished working six days (and nights) per week rather than seven. 

MARYANN:

Thank you so very much, Jim, for being with us today. You are an inspiration to all of us who write for the King of kings. Many blessings to you in your future writing endeavors. 

JIM: Thank you MaryAnn. I appreciate your time and would like to give credit where it is due by saying that your daughter Gina (http://libertywritingsolutions.com/) did an incredible job of editing this book. She was professional, tireless, and extremely helpful. I’ve already said this to you, but others should know that Gina made the book immeasurably better through her feedback, suggestions, and literary skills. 

MARYANN:

I encourage you to learn more about Jim’s book at Rational Conclusions and visit his web site at Just Facts, a research and educational institute dedicated to investigating, documenting, and publishing facts about public policy issues. You may contact Jim at http://justfacts.com/contactus.asp

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Author Jim Agresti

  1. Congrats, Jim ~ what an undertaking! Regarding the things you can’t understand or seem illogical, our pastor always says, “The secret things belong to God.” There are things we simply aren’t priviledged to know. That’s hard on our human pride, but I agree with you, we need to have faith.

    Thanks for sharing!

    January 4, 2010 at 9:08 AM