Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Finding God

My online friend Bill (who posts at Cycleguy's Spin) asked me to review a book for him that he wanted to give to a relative who struggles with squaring away Christian arguments with theories from modern science. The book is entitled Finding God in the Questions by physician, journalist, and theologian Timothy Johnson. If you look at the book's cover, you might recognize Dr. Johnson, who for some time has been a frequent on-air "medical expert" for ABC news. The book begins with the following statement:

"For many people, religion provides answers to the big questions of life. For others, the absolute claims of religion raise more questions than they answer."

The book was written as Dr. Johnson looked back over his lifetime. He had been a Christian his whole life, but was amazed at how his Christian life and his secular life were so separate, so compartmentalized. Euler circles that did not seem to overlap. It was this realization along with considerations of what he had done with his life that led him to write this book.

"I want to discover what I really do believe and then decide honestly what it means for how I live the rest of my life."

In his approach, Dr. Johnson is very much like me. Sometimes you don't sit down and think about something in depth until you sit down and think about it in depth. With his longing to explore his faith and how it had been reflected in how he lived his life, Dr. Johnson wrote the manuscript that ultimately became this book. The only true connection with "modern science" in this work is really just that the author is a highly educated man, a reasoned observer, with more than a passing understanding of modern scientific theories in fields like cosmology, biology, and particle physics. He also completed seminary. As such he has an interesting perspective for many folks who wonder how an obvious member of the intelligensia can congruously hold his secular wisdom and his Christian beliefs in balance, especially given the bold claims regarding God and Jesus in the Bible.

"In my experience, find God in the questions does not mean finding complete answers. In fact, you may discover that along the path of faith, you pick up more questions than you started with. But you might also discover that you need fewer answers, and those you do find are enough to live on."

A humble and reasoned work that touches on many of the big questions that folks wrestle with, whether they are Christians or not. I should think that this book might help folks to gain some measure of perspective about the many unanswerable questions and how to make peace with them.