I have written a number of books over the last few years. My first book is called Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will or whether I was always going to write this book. As the annotation reads:
This book is a fine introduction into the age-old philosophical debate as to whether we have free will, or whether we live determined lives. Pearce approaches the subject in a lively manner, explaining terms clearly and using anecdotes to break down some of the heavier philosophy so that it is available to the popular philosophy reader. Now that we are understanding our genetic heritage and our neurology better, can we account for all our characteristics and decisions? The author also looks at how theories of free will and determinism integrate with religion, particularly Christianity. If we live under the illusion of free will, do religions need reassessing? How does free will work when God knows what we are doing in advance? Does God have free will? How does prophecy interfere with free will? How is our justice system affected if we know exactly why people commit crimes? These and other crucial questions are investigated with a deft touch, and the author uses recent and important scientific findings to support the text supplying a valuable overview to the subject.
It has received good reviews, such as this one:
Great, thought-provoking read
by Frances “book lover”
I recommend this entertaining and well-argued, mind-blowing book in which the author examines a notion we all seem to take for granted in the West, i.e., our dearly beloved notion of free will. In this book we learn that in spite of the overwhelming dominance of this cherished notion deeply embedded in our cultural, legal and religious belief systems, it is clearly scientifically and demonstratively false and does not exist. First, the author gives us the basic definitions of terms, then examples, philosophical and historical arguments, important religious positions and rebuttals. One of the author’s early hypothetical examples is about a couple going out to dinner and trying to decide what to eat. To “choose” to have pizza, the couple has to rely on many reasons determined by a variety of known and unknown facts concerning their biology, psychology, economic status, childhood and the environment causing their preferences and showing their overriding susceptibility to these kinds of influences that leave no room for a free choice on their part. After the author brought up this couple for the third time, I had to put my Kindle down and go to the kitchen and heat up a pizza! I was falling under the discussion’s suggestion that pizza would taste pretty good right now and I realized I was demonstrating the author’s point about human susceptibility to suggestion and lack of free will by my own spontaneous behavior!
The author convincingly shows that determinism is borne out in countless recent scientific discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, biochemistry, physics and genetics which new findings are important and have wide application in all aspects of our lives. There is a new dawn of knowledge exploding around us and our lives depend upon our absorbing many new scientific discoveries in many complex fields. We cannot blame a god or a devil for our circumstances; the author deftly dispatches them from the new matrix. We have to get with the new paradigm and look at how we can improve our critical thinking, how we can make better economic decisions, how we can use our new scientific knowledge to create new art, how we can see one another in a more compassionate light and how we may reform education and the criminal justice system. I recommend this book because we need to make a lot of informed decisions every day and we need all the rational help we can get to understand our common humanity and to develop the full power and beauty of our finite being.
Check it out using the link above or the links on the right hand side of the page.
My second book remained within the philosophical realm, but this time concentrating on philosophy of religion, namely the characteristics of God. The Little Book of Unholy Questions is described as follows on the cover:
Jonathan M.S. Pearce’s second book (after Free Will?) continues along the same philosophical and theological vein, aiming to provide a cumulative case against the existence of God, and more specifically, God’s triple characteristics of omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence. Split into useful categories with an introduction to each category, these are questions that demand to be answered adequately and plausibly in order for the believer to retain a rationally-based faith. Pearce’s easy writing style and explanation of philosophy, theology and science on the popular level make this book as enjoyable to read as it is thought-provoking. Does God change his mind when prayed to, and why has he never produced a miracle since biblical times that couldn’t have occurred naturally anyway, like re-growing an amputee’s leg? God only knows.
“Pearce demands from God a rational explanation to all of the problems that seem illogical or incoherent. These are … damningly challenging inconsistencies in the Christian narrative that necessarily antagonize any rational reader. If you are still or used to be Christian, “The Little Book of Unholy Questions” is an overview of the critical questions you need to be asking yourself.” – Derek Murphy, Jesus Potter Harry Christ
And a review selected from the great reviews on amazon:
Easy reading with a profound content
by S.P. Sider
I met Jonathan in a couple of forums over the internet. When the subject is religion and philosophy you surely expect passion and hot debates. But Jonathan stood apart for his calmness and patience, probably due to his teaching background.
When I learned he wrote this book, I decided to give it a try.
And it was worth it! Don’t be fooled by his philosophy background. Thankfully you will not see any logic equation that would be pretty boring. It’s all in plain English. The format is very interesting: Questions and comments well mixed. You may find some questions very funny, but very often the funnier are the most profound.
It’s a book for the believer and non-believer. And that’s very difficult to achieve, a definitive “plus”. Jonathan’s intention is thought provoking and it’s a must for believers who dare to ask questions, and I am sure I made dozens of them when I was a believer. And non-believers will find a bunch of questions they never thought about.
My suggestion: read it slowly, taste every question for a couple of minutes. You won’t regret it.
My third book moved towards a different discipline: historical analysis and biblical exegesis, being a synthesis of the work analysing the historicity of the nativity accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. The Nativity: A Critical Examination is described as follows:
The nativity of Jesus is an event that carries much cultural recognition. However, is it a narrative which commands much support in the academic world? Is it a story which holds much historical truth? Or were the two biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus an opportunity for the authors to impart a theological truth or otherwise? These are the sort of questions that are often asked of the nativity accounts and questions which are answered in this concise and yet well-researched and informative book. Some twenty arguments are looked at and presented in a clear and detailed manner, building a cumulative case for the objection to the historical nature of the Gospel accounts. The author also questions what purpose these stories do serve if indeed they do carry little or no historical truth. With reference to a wide array of contemporary and iconic works on the subject, Pearce has created a compendium of critical arguments against the historicity of a story which still remains a vital piece of our collective cultural and religious tapestry.
“For anyone beginning to doubt the reliability of the gospels as eyewitness accounts, Pearce’s “The Nativity” will teach you everything you need to know to move past the limitations of biblical infallibility and explore the complicated process that went into the gospel narratives of Jesus Christ.” – Derek Murphy, author of Jesus Potter Harry Christ
And a review from amazon:
Did you think you knew the nativity story
When was Jesus born? What was his birth date? Where was he born and why was he born there? Who knew of his birth? How is Jesus related to biblical characters past? Who thought that baby Jesus was the messiah and why? What important historical events do you expect we should have records of if the bible accounts were accurate?
If you think you know the answers to these questions, think again.
Jonathan Pearce points out how, despite the heartwarming Christmas pageants we are all familiar with, there is no real cohesive narrative regarding the birth of Jesus. It appears that when they originally calculated the year of the nativity in the 6th century, they were averaging two different years as estimated by the two very different accounts of Jesus’ birth given in the bible– both of which seem purposefully manufactured to make Jesus’ birth match the description of the messiah foretold in Jewish prophesy.
Step by step, Pearce shows us how it is impossible for both biblical accounts (Luke and Matthew) to be true, and, as we delve into the finer details of each account, it become increasingly obvious that neither account comports with historical facts.(How can a star guide the “three wise men” towards the birth site when a star would move across the sky as the earth rotates and disappears during the day? Why do people think there were “three” wise men anyway when that is not mentioned in the bible?)
If the Christian would not accept specious reasoning to suffice as an explanation for another religion’s miraculous claims, this book should give a clear understanding as to why an outsider rejects the bible’s miraculous claims. The Jesus story doesn’t make sense from the get go.
This little book is a must-read for Christians brave enough to consider whether their beliefs could be as mythological as conflicting faiths. It’s also a gem for those outside the Christian faith who want to know whether Christianity is built upon a coherent narrative. This, however, is most definitely is not a book for those afraid that their god will damn them to hell unless they believe in the inerrancy of the bible. Before you read this book, ask yourself, “If the nativity story is a myth, would I want to know?”