There are very few books that I’ll read twice or more. This will be one of them. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must state that I consider myself a *very* hopeful agnostic. I long for something more, something after this life, someone to thank for the life I am living and for the people who are living it with me. Sometimes I am *sure* that such a something exists, something I am *sure* it does not. Most of the time, I have not the foggiest idea.
Enter this book. Dr. Andy Walsh has written one of the most lucid examples of how one can combine the majestic reality that science reveals about the known universe with the human longing for transcendence. The author is a Christian, and naturally the book is written from the point of view of the Christian faith, particularly finding concordances between biblical teachings and scientific principles. Nonetheless, I suspect that people of other faiths will find beauty on the parallels between science and faith that the book explores.
If you are a science/mathematics/science fiction/comic book/video games/movies (and many other nerdy things…) enthusiast and want to be hopeful about finding faith, this is the book for you, no doubt about it. Mind you, this is not a hard theological or scientific work, it does not feel too much like apologetics, and it is most certainly not “preachy” (thank God!). It reads like a very pleasant conversation with Dr. Walsh (he would insist you call him “Andy”), a conversation between two enthusiastic, unapologetic nerds.
I have seen no other book where you can read about so many different areas of science, from molecular biology to ideas about consciousness, from the physics of the Big Bang to fractals, from mathematics to computer science (and more), in the light of science fiction and eventually, faith. Moreover, you do not have to be an expert in any of these scientific areas, since Andy masterfully give you the precise amount of detail that you will need to fully grasp the gist of them. Also, at the end of the book there is a pretty good list of “further readings”. As a scientist, scholar, and writer, I am quite impressed with the breadth of knowledge and the amount of research and thinking that Andy must have invested to write this book. He must have had a lot of fun, but it certainly reads as a labor of love.
This book is uplifting, period. To a person like me who delights on the majesty and mystery of the natural world and also has spiritual longings, this book is pretty close to perfect. One of my favorite examples of these thoughts on science and faith is the illustration of sin using relativity, the speed of light limit, and Christ. This illustration got me misty-eyed, and it was not the only part of the book that did (the very last paragraph almost made me cry properly). I will let you read these examples by yourself and find all other examples that might resonate with you. I suspect that you will not be disappointed.
The book is also *funny*; it made me laugh out loud more than once. It also made me think. Deeply. Here’s some of my favorite quotes; I will not tell you where to find them in the book though, as most of the fun is to let them surprise you while reading:
“God is not Voltron…”
“But naming the quantum vacuum with its specific properties ‘nothing’ does not make it not a thing any more than calling myself ‘no one’ makes me not a person.”
“Of particular concern of me is the representation of the scientific and the nerdy within the church.”
“The basic hero process is:…” (I guarantee that you will laugh out loud with how Andy defines it).
In summary, I wholeheartedly and unapologetically (see what I did there? (:-)…) recommend this book. Give it a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.
Faith across the Multiverse: Parables from Modern Science
Dr. Andy Walsh
Picture credit: Hendrickson Publishers
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