Last time we covered what I liked about this little book by Paul Arden. This time we look at what I didn't like and what I think the author gets wrong about God. This, of course, is only my opinion. I'm sure others will disagree, which is how it works in the book world. Ultimately, I suggest you read this book. But don't stop here. There is a great deal more to be learned and experienced in the God of the Universe. It takes a lifetime, but it's worth it, for what else do we have in the end but God?
What I Didn't Like:
* It's bouncy and occasionally random. It's a nifty little book that is probably designed to do exactly this, but it surprised me and annoyed me. Arden moves along creatively, logically and in good order until about page 50 and then he splits off in multiple topics, some that took up pages which would have been useful for other topics, until page 88 ("After Life").
* On "After Life" (pages 88-91) Arden nails us! Listen:
"People are scared of the dark because they don't know what's there. As soon as they put the light on they can see and feel safe. We are all scared of dying, because we are afraid of the unknown. To ease our fear of the dark, we invent explanations for the afterlife such as heaven and hell and reincarnation. Like the light we switch on to feel safe (90)."
That was one great page that made perfect sense to me. Excellent jumping off point to finish his book. But he dropped it, threw in one more page about religion being a lightbulb and then added a page on reincarnation before moving us into his belief about God. Hm. Why? I wish he'd done more with that. In fact, I wanted to get into his mind. "Where were you going with that, Paul?"
What He Gets Wrong About God (In My Opinion):
* He ultimately defines God as "the force behind creation (page not numbered due to some cool lookin' graphics)". He says he believes in God. While it is true that God is the force behind creation, there is so much more to God. Does Arden really want to believe in God if all God is is "the force behind creation"? I think most people, myself included, are far less interested in a force than we are a personal, social being in whose image we are made. We're not just forces. Neither is this all there is to God.
* He says "evolution, fate, creation, fluke" are all "words we use to describe the same thing...the existence of God (pages not numbered)". Really? To me this dilutes God, renders Him meaningless, equates Him to the lowest common denominator. If God is the same as these then a) don't most people believe in God, and b) isn't God not really that big of a deal, or c) aren't we elevating these terms to deity-like status? Maybe that is Arden's point, but if so I disagree.
Here's what I'm hoping for. I hope (& pray) Paul Arden will know God, through Christ - the physical manifestation of God. Christmas is coming. This is when we Christians make a special point of celebrating God coming to earth. Look to Jesus, Mr. Arden. Look to Jesus all you who read this book. If you learn about Jesus, you will learn about God. "God, Jesus, Holy Spirit." These are all words we use to describe the same thing. Take this that step further. Delve deeply into the study of God. Sure, that requires more time than a taxi ride, but you won't regret it.