Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: The Creator Revealed

Introduction

Today I am excited to bring you a review of a book that I have been anticipating for a little over a year and a half. In January 2017 particle physicist and University of Oklahoma professor Dr. Michael G. Strauss (check out his blog and YouTube channel) and I were talking, and he informed me that he had been working on a book about science and faith for a while. He gave me an overview of the content and even let me in on a sneak peek of the book. After reading through what was already "on paper," I was incredibly excited to see it published. Dr. Strauss' goal with "The Creator Revealed: A Physicist Examines the Big Bang and the Bible" was to provide the scientific, theological, and biblical evidence for the big bang in a non-technical and more conversational tone. The book is relatively short (126 pages, not counting the appendices) compared to other works on this topic, and the seventeen chapters are bite-sized. This review will be my usual chapter-by-chapter summary followed by my thoughts (as if the first line above didn't give you an indication). Before we get to the review, check out this interview with Dr. Strauss about science and faith and his experience with scientists and students:



Now, on to the book review...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Is There Meaning To Life?

Is There #Meaning to #Life?
Introduction
An interesting TED Talk came across my Facebook feed a few weeks ago. The talk focused on finding meaning in life. More and more people are discovering that pursuing happiness is leading them nowhere. They discover that every time they think that something obtainable or achievable will make them happy, once that has been obtained or achieved, that happiness lasts only for a short time. Then a discovery is made of something else that is greater than what they originally thought would make them happy, and they pursue that. This process repeats numerous times until they reach the top, then they realize that there is nothing left, yet they still feel unfulfilled. This TED Talk attempts to address that problem by positing that instead of pursuing happiness, people should pursue meaning. Here is a link to the talk, and I highly recommend that you watch it in full before continuing with this post: There's more to life than being happy- Emily Esfahani Smith.

On The Surface
The speaker recognizes the problems that the pursuit of happiness brings: unhappiness, unfulfillment, depression, and suicidal tendencies. The offered solution gives hope to those who are depressed and tired of the pursuit of happiness. From a pragmatic perspective of survival, this talk was quite encouraging and invigorating. However, regardless of the survival advantage that it provides if one believes the claims, if the claims in the talk do not reflect reality (are not true), then the person who believes them has traded the truth for a lie in the name of mere survival- a delusion that is evolutionarily necessary to believe if we wish to win the survival game. If the speaker is presenting a delusion, then, for those who value truth and knowledge as well as survival, the talk is truly as useless as the solution it wishes to supplant. So, for the sake of truth, the claims need to be investigated and analyzed at a deeper level.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Wounded Healer: Finding Ultimate Purpose in Your Suffering

The Wounded Healer: Finding UItimate Purpose In Your Suffering

Introduction

The other day, I heard a podcast that I want to highlight for anyone who is a victim of the evil and suffering of life and questions God's purposes, His love, or even His existence. Whether our experiences are singular traumatic events, day-in and day-out pain, or a combination of the two, suffering often feels completely unbearable. These experiences can be so painful that many people are compelled to honestly question and seek legitimate answers to how an all-loving and all-powerful God could and would permit the suffering that we experience in our lives and see others experience in our world. This is called the logical problem of evil and has been long recognized as having been resolved, even by atheists (click or tap the link to see how).

Some, though, have wondered if that given the amount of evil and suffering, it is likely that an all-powerful and all-loving does not God exist. Simply stated: "There is too much gratuitous suffering in the world for an all-loving and all-powerful God to exist." While this is a more modest concern that seems reasonable, if it is to be granted, such a denial of God's existence based upon gratuitous suffering is necessarily reliant upon the idea that God does not have reasons to allow the amount of suffering that He does. Further, that depends upon knowing God's purposes (or lack thereof) and how those purposes could (not) be accomplished. However, both the purposes of God and the methods of their fulfillment would have to be extremely limited for one to reasonably conclude that the amount of evil and suffering in the world is gratuitous. God's purposes and methods are not so limited, so evil and suffering cannot be used to reasonably conclude that God does not exist. Yet, even though this answer is reasonable, it does not really answer the question of what the purpose of evil and suffering actually is. That is where I believe that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs picks up from the logical answer to the problem of evil and suffering and makes a deeply personal connection to their purpose.