If you’ve ever grappled with the questions of where the universe comes from, if there is a deity, how does science reconcile itself with faith and the ultimate why of the origin of the universe – this is the book for you. This book is filled with philosophical debate set in conversational form making it much more accessible and less dry than a didactic text. IF you’re interested, grab a dictionary and a large pot of tea and settle in to this relatively short read.
My reaction upon reading the book, copied from my journal:
We (mankind as a whole) have always come up with theories to answer the unending whys of the world. We have nearly always and universally held our theories to be self-evident truths. As technology and the breadth of human understanding grows, these self-evident truths have largely fallen by the wayside as scientific explanations overtake them – why not the idea of an omnipotent GOD? I do not think this belief can ever be truly refuted by science as religion has always adapted and the mysteries of the universe will always remain too large for any single human mind to comprehend (maybe Stephen Hawking? R.I.P.) Should we someday find a final cause, a final truth to where the universe comes from, there will always be a why? And a GOD who created a big bang, or divine creation – take your pick – is as likely as close to an answer as we will ever get. If we accept GOD as the “immutable” question mark of the beginning of everything, even science itself can fall under GOD’s purview. GOD need not even be religious in this basic sense, GOD can simply be the acceptance that there will always be an unknown. “I don’t know,” to me, is the essence of GOD (and also why I love Inspector Gamache). It is the end of human understanding combined with the acceptance that we will never fully understand where or why we come from. At some point, in religion and science – in life, there is only faith – whatever or whomever you decide to put that faith in is up to you.
QUOTES AND REFLECTIONS
“Reasonable men may be allowed to differ, where no one can reasonably be positive”
Yes. Can we please remember this and be a little kinder? It’s OKAY to disagree with someone and it’s OKAY to allow someone to hold a different opinion than you – it doesn’t threaten your existence. Calm down.
“Nothing exists without a cause; and the original cause of this universe (whatever it be) we call GOD; and piously ascribe to him every species of perfection.”
“Our ideas reach no farther than our experience”
Read EDUCATED by Tara Westover if you ever want another reason to keep experiencing new things.
“Look round the world: Contemplate the whole and every part of it. You will find it to be nothing but one great machine, subdivided into an infinite number of lesser machines, which again admit subdivisions, to a degree beyond what human senses and faculties can trace and explain. All these various machines, and even their most minute parts are adjusted to each other with an accuracy, which ravishes into admiration all men, who have ever contemplated them.”
I agree with the whole being ravished in admiration part… I feel like someone with a knowledge of chaos theory or stats on the destruction of the rainforest could probably dismantle the rest….but I don’t know.. not an expert, just like to read!
“Is there any reasonable ground to conclude that the inhabitants of other planets possess thought, intelligence, reason, or anything similar to these faculties in men? When nature has so extremely diversified her manner of operation in this small globe; can we imagine that she incessantly copies herself throughout so immense a universe? And if thought, as we may well suppose, be confined merely to this narrow corner, and has not even there so limited a sphere of action; with what propriety can we assign it for the original cause of all things?”
“The world, therefore, I infer, is an animal, and the deity is the SOUL of the world, actuating it and actuated by it.”
I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone sum up my idea of spirituality so well.
“Our experience, so imperfect in itself, and so limited both in extent and duration, can afford us no probably conjecture concerning the whole of things.”
This is a hard truth to accept. We’re so self-centered…
“Man is the greatest enemy of man. Oppression, injustice, contempt, contumely, violence, sedition, war, calumny, treachery, fraud; by these they mutually torment each other: And they would soon dissolve that society which they had formed were it not for the dread of still greater ills, which must attend their separation.”
“We are terrified, not bribed to the continuance of our existence.”
Both of the two above quotes are striking, but far too negative. What about family, love, the small moments of happiness that make up each life? For many people the above sentences are true and that is an awful truth of our world, but for more I think we love life and that is why we fear death. I don’t feel terrified into continuing my existence…
“There is nothing so advantageous in the universe but what frequently becomes pernicious, by its excess or defect.”
PREACH that moderation.
In conclusion, I learned a lot about myself by reading this book – always a good thing, is self-reflection. I also was exposed to some new ideas that will take a while to work themselves out in my brain. I will probably read this again at some point in my life and I’m interested to see my take on it then. My husband loves this book and our conversations the past few days have been excellent. The couple that reads together, stays together, and doesn’t feel terrified into not committing suicide.
1/5 – Awful / would not read again / maybe could not finish.
2/5 – Low quality work / some enjoyment / not worth the time
3/5 – Don’t regret, Don’t love / would add to my shelf if it is a piece of literature
4/5 – Would read again / Definitely would add to my shelf because BOOKS!
5/5 – Would definitely read more than once / Must buy / Gives you the happy book love feels.