Religion And Science
Human beings have always wanted to know the answer to two questions. How does our  
world work and why does our world exist? Before the age of science, both these questions
were answered by religion and philosophy. In this modern age science has answered a lot  of
the first question about how the world and universe function. It turns out that religion and
philosophy weren't very good at answering the first question. If we thought up things in our
heads about the material world and universe without checking it out with observation and
experimentation, we were usually wrong. But science can't answer the second question. Why?
Why is there a universe? Why do we or anything else exist? And that leads to the question of
God. Is there a creator? If there is what is god like? Does he care about us? These are
questions that religion and philosophy will try to answer. I am going to review some recent
books on religion that try to answer some of these questions. As a reviewer, I am not going to
tell you what to believe. I can only point the way to books that might answer some of your
questions. Just remember that all these books were written by other mortals, mortals with
opinions, you have to decide what to accept. I have studied all religions but will start with
Christianity, as that was the religion I was born into .
Concepts Of God
Human beings have had many different ideas about what god or the gods are like. Polytheism
is a belief in many gods. Each of these gods have different jobs to do with usually one being
the boss god. The gods of the early Greeks and Romans is an example of this concept. A later
development was the concept of one god. This is the concept held by Jews, Christians and
Moslems. This is the God of the Old and New Testaments and the Koran. We are all people of
the book. Why can't we get along? The fact is that small differences in religious concepts
make enemies, not just between Jews, Christians and Moslems but also between different
groups within each religion. There are other major religions but for now I am going to focus
on people of the book and in particular the one that I grew up with, Christianity. For people
who believe in god there are two main concepts. The Theist god is the god of Jews,
Christians and Moslems. This is a god who has a relationship with us, a god who hears our
prayers, a god who can interfere in human affairs. Many scientist, if they believe in god at all,
believe in a deist god, a god who created the universe and the laws that make it work but a
god who doesn't tinker. This god does not interfere or interact with the universe after having
created it. Finally there are atheist who don't believe in god at all and agnostics who say they
just don't know.
The God Factor
A fascinating book that deals with the subject of God is called "The God Factor." The author
is Cathleen Falsani, the religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. This book is not what she
thinks about god. She interviews famous people from many walks of life to find out what their
concept of god is. They are musicians like Bono, Billy Corgan, Annie Lennox, Melissa
Etheridge and Kurt Elling. People from all sides of the political spectrum such as Senator
Barack Obama,  and speech writer and advisor to George Bush, Michael Gerson. From sports
we have Dusty Baker, Chicago Cubs manager and Hakeem Olajuwon, the seven foot tall
Nigerian and former center for the Huston rockets. From the literary field, movies and the
arts, we have too many to mention. In a category by himself, we have Hugh Hefner. We also
have well known people from many different professions. Their religious traditions range from
the religions of Abraham, Jewish, Christian, and Moslem, to religions of the east, or atheist, to
agnostic to seeker to non traditional. Many no longer follow the religion they grew up with. If
you would like to find out how famous successful people deal with the question of God, you
should read this book. It is a fascinating read.
Paradise Mislaid (A Kindle Edition)
Before the seventeenth century it was easy to believe in God and Heaven. Humankind had not
yet begun to understand and control the world through science. With each new discovery in
the many fields of science, it became easier for those who would refute God and Heaven to
make their case. The book "Paradise Mislaid" or "How we Lost Heaven And How We Can
Regain It" just might help you get it back. The author Jeffrey Burton Russel is Emeritus
Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is not a light read
book. It is a Scholarly work complete with Chapter Notes, References and Bibliography. The
Bibliography contains the works of modern writers.  Writers earlier than the twentieth century
are referenced in the end and chapter notes.  This allows you to go to original sources and
make up your own mind.  Professor Russel explores the history of scientific, philosophical,
and psychological thought as it relates to concepts of God and Heaven. He examines the many
arguments for and against Christen beliefs from the seventeenth century to today. Right now
there are more against than for based on the idea that only science can find truth. He exposes
the flaws in these arguments. He explains how Science can't prove or disprove existence of
God and Heaven. It simply answers different questions. Not light reading but well worth the
effort of a serious reader who wants answers to these questions.
The Many Faces Of God
This main focus of this book explores how the concepts of god have changed in response to
the advances of science over the last 400 years. Although ideas of Jews and Moslems are
discussed, it is mostly about Christians ideas as they went from Catholicism to the many
flavors of protestant expressions of religion. When the earth was considered the center of
creation, with the heavens above and hell below, all created by god as a special creation for
human kind, it was easy to believe in the concepts of god as found in the bible. But even the
bible shows us more than one face. With earth demoted to one of a number of planets, a
planet rotating about a star called the sun, one of many stars in one of many galaxies, in a vast
universe, it became harder to define god. Where is god? Is God a part of this universe or
outside it? What about Jesus? Do we need go betweens human or spiritual or can we
communicate with god directly? Is there a god? No say the atheist, maybe say the agnostics.
Is it a deist type of god who created the universe and the laws by which it operates but
doesn't interfere or interact with it or do we have a personal god that cares for us and
interacts with us on a daily basis? Is god love or power or both? Does god have to obey
natural law? What does this say about god's power? This book discusses many of these
questions. It explores all the different faces of god as religion attempts to come to terms with
scientific discovery, from Newton's mechanics to Einstein's relativity, to quantum mechanics,
to string theory and multiple universes. It also explores how scientist have come to see god.
Early scientist were very religious and down through the ages and even today there are many
who have some concept or belief in god. The author, Jeremy Campbell, is a graduate of
Oxford and a former Washington correspondent for the London Evening Standard. He as
authored five other books including Grammatical Man and The Liar's Tale.
What Jesus Meant (A Kindle Edition)
You don't have to find secret scrolls or suppressed books of the bible. The new testament, as
it is, gives a Jesus very much different from what most churches lead us to believe. Just
reading the words and actions of Jesus, as reported by those who knew him, gives us a Jesus
so radical and outrageous, that very few have actually done what he said. Garry Wills is a
catholic and actually studied for the priesthood. He is currently Professor of History at
Northwestern University. Yet he tells us that if Jesus were here today, he would most likely be
as critical of the leaders of Christian churches today,  as he was of the leaders of his faith in
his time. Jesus was after all a Jew. He was exposing the hypocrisy's of his own religion.
Garry Wills tells us how to read the words of Jesus to understand what he was really saying.
He explains that if you want to get close to the beginnings of Christianity and those who were
really trying to follow Jesus read the Epistle's of Paul. Unlike the other apostles he was
educated and writing during the time of the building of the early church. He did not know
Jesus before the crucifixion and was actually persecuting Christians until, he claims, Jesus
spoke to him. He came to know those who followed Jesus when he became one of them. In
early Christianity there were no Popes, and Cardinals, or even priest and ministers. People met
in homes and woman were not excluded from leading roles. This book has been a eyeopener
for me and is helping me to read the bible with new understanding.
The Language Of God (A Kindle Edition)
Can a scientist believe in god? The answer is yes. Francis S. Collins is the head of the Human
Genome Project, This project was the major player in the deciphering human genome, the
DNA code that makes us who we are. This book is called "The Language Of God" because, if
there is a god, the creator, DNA is the language that is used to define all living things. Dr.
Collins was not brought up religious and as a scientist of the first rank in a field dealing with
the code of life, You would think him the last person in the world to become a believer in God.
Darwins theory of evolution is the scientific theory that religious people have the most
problems with. Yet our new understanding of DNA only reinforces the truth of this theory. So
how does Dr. Collins resolve this conflict between religion and science. Part one of the book
discusses the conflict. Part two of the book presents the science, the origin of the universe,
life on earth, and the human genome. Part three of the book presents the arguments from both
sides, with their fallacies and a solution to bring science and religion in harmony. The chapter
headings tell the story, "Genesis, Galileo, and Darwin", "Atheism and Agnosticism"
"Creationism", "Intelligent Design". Part three ends with his solution with two final chapters,
"BioLogos" and "Truth Seekers". He ends the book with a discussion of bioethics. For anyone
who wants to accept the truths of science but still believe in God this book is a must read.
This book has been as much of an eyeopener to me as the above book "What Jesus Meant".  
Religious Books
Lord Or Legend
Is the new testament of the bible, history or legend? Coauthors Gregory A. Boyd and Paul
Rhodes Eddy are well qualified to tackle this question. Doctor Boyd (PhD, Princeton
Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor of the Woodland Hills in St Paul,  Minnesota. Dr
Eddy (PhD, Marquette University) is professor of biblical and systematic theology at Bethel
University in St Paul, Minnesota. Both have authored and coauthored several books, some on
this topic. As Christians they have some bias but point out that as educated men they have also
had some periods of doubt of the truth about Jesus. As they have proved to themselves and
seek to prove to us, the new testament passes many test of historical authenticity as well as if
not better than most 2000 year old historical text. They also point out that many historians
who reject the bible as history have their own bias. No matter how good the historical
evidence, they will reject it because it talks of miraculous events and they just don't believe in
the possibility of miracles. This is a well referenced book that is accessible to the average
reader. It's references point to rich sources of material for further study. For anyone
interested in this topics this is a must read.
This book Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, The Private Writings Of the Saint Of Calcutta
reviews the private writings of Mother Teresa. These are mainly letters to her superiors and
confessors. Mother Teresa wish was that these writings be destroyed. She wanted nothing of
herself to be in the works but only all credit to Jesus. Her confidants felt that these writings
were too important to be destroyed. These letters are compiled and presented with
commentary by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk . He joined the male branch of the Missionaries Of
Charity at it's founding and knew Mother Teresa for twenty years. Through her letters we
come to know the life of this remarkable woman. In her early years she felt a strong
connection to Jesus and she went to India to join the Lorento Order of sisters. It was there
that received a calling to found the Missionaries of Charity to go to work among the poorest
of the poor and bring them to Jesus. The church being very careful in these matters took a
long time to approve. Mother Teresa's connection with divine became even stronger with the
voice urging her to begin the work. The amazing thing is that when she was approved and
finally began she experienced an inner darkness and lost all felling of contact with Jesus. Yet
she continued the work with everything and all for Jesus, with few but her confessors
knowing of the darkness within. How could she do all that she did with this inner crisis of
faith. Get to know this remarkable woman through her own writings by reading this book.
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (A Kindle Edition)