CHOICES: A Different Angle

Ben Tortuga

Publisher: Pages: 111 Price: (paperback) $5.85 ISBN: 9798321604380 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Choices: A Different Angle, by Ben Tortuga, consists of nine essays outlining spiritual lessons for modern life, written from a progressive Christian perspective. Tortuga is particularly concerned with how and why humans evolve belief systems and what impact these have on our sense of connection and morality.

Tortuga notes that this isn’t a “religious writing.” All of the essays are about how our belief systems function in some way, most have some moral dimension, and all could be labeled spiritual. Still, the author’s frame of reference seems to be his Christian heritage. Nearly all of his footnotes refer to biblical scripture, and the line between essay and sermon seems blurred. Whether that’s a strength or a weakness may depend on the preferences of the reader.

What readers won’t find in Choices is any sort of analytical philosophy. The topics (“Is there a God?”; “What is Freedom”; “What is ‘Right?”; “What Makes Life Worth Living?”, etc.) sound like an introductory philosophy text, but Tortuga spends little time providing detailed arguments for his assertions, or leaves the content of them somewhat imprecise (e.g. “God is love” may have intuitive appeal, but the details of precisely what it means are fuzzy). Choices has an approachable, conversational quality but at the expense of the depth a more intellectually rigorous inquiry might provide.

Overall, Choices is a pleasant and largely uncontroversial book. Certainly, biblical literalists may take issue with Tortuga’s approach to interpreting scripture, and even some who share his inclination to view the Bible through a mythical lens might find some of his interpretations a stretch. But the very general moral guidance he advocates (e.g. the “Golden Rule”) appeals to the overlapping consensus of cultural and intellectual traditions.

Those looking for a deeper dive into areas of biblical contention will want to look elsewhere. For others, the book provides a pleasant and largely unprovocative and inoffensive read.

Author's Current Residence
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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