Mathematician, physicist, inventor, and philosopher Blaise Pascal once noted that God has provided evidence sufficiently clear to convince people with open hearts and minds, yet sufficiently vague so as not to compel people with closed hearts and minds.
However, popular philosophical biases and misrepresentations, as well as the onslaught of world evil reported in today's media, distort and confuse the "sufficiently clear" for many. Such inputs can create doubt even in open hearts and minds -- and in honest skeptics, who believe truth exists, seek truth, and are willing (or willing to be willing) to embrace truth when they find it. As a scientist, and former honest skeptic, I feel the need to expose and rebut such distortions -- including self-refuting special pleadings of scienTISM against any evidence that doesn't fit into a science-as-ultimate-truth 'box'.
In this phone-friendly, graphically illustrated* volume I present substantial evidence, scientific and philosophical arguments, and factual corrections that I hope will 1) help to build bridges over doubt roadblocks of honest skeptics, 2) strengthen the confidence of less-skeptical doubters, 3) provide a resource for those desiring to help doubters, and 4) inspire readers who simply enjoy reading God-evidence accounts -- the first-section focus. Though the book leaves many unanswered questions, it substantially shows that belief in the supernatural generally and the biblical God specifically is not only rational but essential.
*... non-uniformly, but at 40+ places overall, frequently in color.
The 'EVIDENCE' part of the book samples forty accounts evidencing God's involvement in human affairs -- a fundamental focus that is supplemented elsewhere in the book with additional in-context accounts. This now-expanded part -- ~180 small pages, equivalent to ~90 normal-book-pages -- formed the basis for the earlier-edition title: God sightings? Digestible and prospectively inspirational for the average reader, I trust that those who read no further will get more than their money's worth :-).
'Miracles impossible?' presents before-and-after medical evidence (including extensive analyses in one case) for three healings that can-'t be explained by any ever-conceivable biological or psychosomatic mechanism: a naturally impossible regeneration of an almost-destroyed small intestine, the dramatic and sudden restoration of sight in a man with severe central vision loss, and an encounter that enormously improved a woman's tragic health condition in minutes. This chapter further includes three healings for which I don't have medical documentation but come from trustworthy people, one of whom is a personal friend. I discuss the nature and validity of these miracle accounts specifically and miracles generally.
'Who transformed these lives?' describes dramatic character and behavioral changes associated with profound spiritual changes in twelve individuals.
'Muslims encounter Christ, accept all risks; why?' describes and samples a revolution over the last decade, in which thousands of Muslims are ultimately turning to the biblical Christ after experiencing dreams and visions of him -- in all cases despite near-certainty of shattered family and community relationships and in many cases despite risks of serious harm or death. Includes ten such accounts.
'Unusual means meet unusual ministry needs?' discusses and samples six examples of providence in tough ministry situations.
'Help from ...?' discusses rescuers who suddenly appeared in critical situations and, following the crises, just as suddenly disappeared. Provides six example accounts.
'Personal experiences' briefly recounts a small sample of my own encounters with providence.
'THINKING FURTHER' -- the largest part of the book (~350 small pages, equivalent to ~175 normal book pages) -- clarifies and corrects many common misconceptions and misrepresentations. It also argues that 'EVIDENCE' for the existence and involvement of a transcendent God is rational and not trumped by science -- which I occasionally address in some detail. Includes many hyperlinks to an extensive glossary.
'God?' supports the foundational position of the 'EVIDENCE' and the book in general: God exists.
Argues why rejecting evidence (and, specifically 'EVIDENCE') for God as 'unscientific', while routinely relying on NONscientific evidence -- and sometimes almost no evidence -- for other critical life decisions is a double standard. Illustrates this with multiple examples, including the high percent-age of criminal convictions obtained without scientific (forensic) evidence.
States and defends, at some length, two science-related arguments for God, which are supplemented in Appendices A and B.
Argues why belief in God doesn't signify weak-mindedness. Cites science elites who've integrated science and supernatural transcendence and discusses probable and possible non-scientific reasons for above-average rates of agnosticism and atheism in surveyed scientists.
Corrects erroneous 'Galileo affair' perceptions and provides perspectives on scientific objectivity, exposing the shoddy background of the supposed science-vs.-God war and frequent bias in the science community.
Supernatural = superstition?' supports the rationality of the supernatural.
Deflates a commonly used but erroneous argument against miracles.
Cites biblical cosmological concepts that predated current scientific evidence by millennia.
Posits and illustrates science-related 'what-if' considerations with graphically enhanced thought experiments that support supernaturality -- including hypothetical explanatory powers of extra space and time dimensions.
'Mythical foundations?' argues for the reliability of the Christian scriptures (New Testament) in support of biblical concepts, quotes, and arguments used occasionally in this book. It also addresses some popular misrepresentations.
'God? Then why this mess?!' outlines a framework that I suggest sheds light on issues of human existence, evil and suffering, and destiny. It implicitly addresses the accusation that, "If God exists and is all powerful, but does not defeat evil, then he's not good. If God exists and is good but cannot defeat evil, then he's not all powerful."
'Christ? Why?' first addresses objections to truth in general and objections to positioning of any belief system as true. It argues that, and why, unless all belief systems are false, one must be true or most true. It then presents why I think biblical Christianity is true -- the book's obvious position.
'Talking to the wind?' argues for the rationality of prayer, presents evidence of answers to prayer, and discusses potential concerns about prayer -- relevant a) to prayer answers in some of the 'EVIDENCE', b) to the sensibility of even thinking about 'Extra time dimensions and prayer?', c) and to communication with a biblical Christ.
'CONCERNING US' -- the last main part (~ 60 small pages, equivalent to about 30 normal pages) substantially, but by no means exclusively, supports 'God? Then why this mess?!', which addresses the beginnings, condition, and destiny of humanity.
'Just animals?' argues for transcendent directive influence in the past, just as 'EVIDENCE' argues for such influence in the present. I argue that evidence of transcendent directive influence better accounts for the sudden appearance of behaviorally modern human traits in the Upper Paleolithic era than apparently unfalsifiable, purely-material conjecture. The section argues for the cognitive uniqueness of human free will, exposing determinist admissions of cognitive dissonance. Describes other human behaviors, capabilities, and attitudes -- including the desire for meaning and purpose -- that best fit transcendent directive influence.
'Just stuff?' addresses the substance of humanity. Does temporal 'star stuff' totally define us, or are we more? Is mind more than brain? Is the temporal a container for the eternal?
The 'APPENDICES' (~120 small pages, equivalent to ~ 60 normal pages) provide supplementary material as follows:
Appendix A -- Detailed evidence analysis for the 'Once I was blind, but now I can see...' healing account.
Appendices B and C -- Further support for the 'Big Bang initiator?' and 'Directed fine tuning?' arguments for God.
Appendix D -- Entropic perspectives on evil.
DEFINITIONS, COMMENTARY, AND CITATIONS
A large hyperlinked glossary and extensive endnotes (in which all URLs are now hyperlinked). This optional part of the book contains ~200 small pages, equivalent to ~100 normal pages.