Does God exist? Is the concept of a divine and all powerful being a viable explanation for miracles worldwide that have been documented for centuries? If God does exist, then why are we witnessing in the news media famine, diseases, hurricanes, earthquakes, mass shootings, genocide, and so forth? How can God allow this to happen? Does this strengthen the notion that we should instead rely on science to address the countless challenges we face today?
Which brings to mind the age-old, passionate discourse that has raged for years centered on whether God, or science, is responsible for our existence on this planet. One school of thought proclaims that we exist because of divine intervention, while another school of thought proclaims that we descended from simians. Ungerecht explores the discourse in Chapter 8, entitled “Theories of Origin.”
The author explains that the theory of classical evolution centers on the creation of the universe via the Big Bang, which took place 13.8 billion years ago. National Geographic covers this theory by stating that proponents suggest a massive blast allowed the universe’s matter, energy, time, and space to be created from an unknown and ancient energy source. However, National Geographic maintains that the theory has spawned a slew of questions, that are unanswered to this day.
Ungerecht further discusses the theory of intelligent design, which conflicts directly with the theory of classical evolution. In that the theory (intelligent design) centers on God being the underlying intelligent force behind the creation of the universe and our world. The primary proponents of this theory are Christians who profess a devout commitment to the Bible. According to Christian News Wire, NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes in 2004 appeared to confirm the Genesis account of planet formation to be scientifically accurate.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of this book is in Chapter 10, entitled “Religion, Politics, and Science." The author explores the dynamics associated with the intersection of religion, politics, and science, by jettisoning the common avoidance in discussing religion and politics in order to avoid confrontation. Ungerecht reasons that religion and politics have failed in our world, and therefore, it is imperative that we have open discussions about both issues. For example, Ungerecht questions the Christian view of God, within the context of those who practice Christianity with blind faith and passion. The author credits all faiths for contributing treasured traditions, but also notes that religions in some respect reflect zealotry, discrimination, and intolerance.
Michael Shermer, writing in Cato Unbound, supports Ungerecht’s clarion call for open discussions about religion and politics. According to Shermer, the use of reason in an open dialogue forces us to consider the merit of dissenting or alternative opinions and whether or not these narratives make a logical and rational case for an issue or issues. Historically, public discourse gradually chips away at our preconceived notions and helps us form a more intelligent if not salient and useful understanding for the times.
Ultimately, Ungerecht laments that many of us have disconnected with our spirituality and that we need to find it if we are truly committed to a better world for all. His treatise does not necessarily offer an answer to the age-old question, but vehemently supports the necessity of the discussion (i.e. the question) in a society that has expended too much effort in eliminating God.
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