Defense of the Faith

On a recent vacation, I read a new book by Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies. The book, recommended to me by a parishioner who edits religious books for a prestigious university press, deals with the alleged conflict between science and religion.

Plantinga is a distinguished Christian philosopher who work I first studied in 1971 when I was reading for a postgraduate degree in London. Much of his work depends on a detailed knowledge of mathematics, physics and logic, but in this book, the technical material appears in small print and can be skipped. The bulk of Where the Conflict Really Lies is devoted to defending theism as a more intelligible way to construe science, the universe, and human beings. In the spirit of C. S. Lewis, it far surpasses his work in its confident demolition of atheist positions.

I recommend the book to all thoughtful people–Christians, other believers, and atheists. —J. Douglas Ousley

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3 Responses to “Defense of the Faith”

  1. Ron Krumpos says:

    Plantinga’s book is primarily directed to atheists (especially naturalists), but has lessons for apologetics as well. Most religious people respect science and all use its findings. Many scientists are religious, some very much so. Both science and religion, however, have limitations which should be mutually respected.

    In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, “the greatest achievement in life,” is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is the center of all religion.”

    E=mc², Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

  2. Jane says:

    Ron, I’m fascinated by this equation of yours. It’s just an analogy, I realize, but it’s so fascinating how it mirrors one of the great fundamental laws of the universe. Can you tell us more here about how you came up with it?

  3. Ron Krumpos says:

    Jane, there is a two page chapter – called “A divine formula?” – in my ebook. Many of the founders of quantum mechanics – Heisenberg, Schroedinger, de Broglie, Jeans, Planck, Pauli, and Eddington – were supporters of mysticism.

    We all recognize the presence of matter and consciousness, although each might define them differently. Many people also acknowledge the presence of spirit, but S isn’t in Einstein’s equation. So I substituted E for the Essence of the divine.

    Those who believe that science has all the answers should recognize that only 5% of the Universe is visible and can be examined. Dark matter is 25% and dark energy about 75% of the critical density of the Universe. See http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/ for NASA’s description.

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