Finding popular online sale God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science online sale

Finding popular online sale God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science online sale

Finding popular online sale God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science online sale

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Description

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A story about having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science—revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology help us understand God, faith, and ourselves.
 
Mike McHargue, host of The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike podcasts, understands the pain of unraveling belief. In Finding God in the Waves, Mike tells the story of how his Evangelical faith dissolved into atheism as he studied the Bible, a crisis that threatened his identity, his friendships, and even his marriage. Years later, Mike was standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when a bewildering, seemingly mystical moment motivated him to take another look. But this time, it wasn''t theology or scripture that led him back to God—it was science. 
 
Full of insights about the universe, as well as deeply personal reflections on our desire for certainty and meaning, Finding God in the Waves is a vital exploration of the possibility for knowing God in an age of reason, and a signpost for where the practice of faith is headed in a secular age. Among other revelations, we learn what brain scans reveal about what happens when we pray; how fundamentalism affects the psyche; and how God is revealed not only in scripture, but also in the night sky, in subatomic particles, and in us.

Review

“Through the lens of neuroscience, McHargue makes his case for valuing religion not for its factual explanatory power but rather for its ability to give meaning to human existence . . . For those who fear science will rob them of both God and Christian community, this work may offer much-needed hope that Christianity and science can coexist.”
Publishers Weekly

“Mike McHargue tells you about the science of everything in a way that is both interesting and immediately applicable. In Finding God in the Waves, he employs this gift on a whole new scale by explaining the science of how to walk with God–especially for those who doubt God is real at all."
—Donald Miller, bestselling author of Scary Close and Blue Like Jazz
 
“One of the most original and moving accounts of faith I have read in recent years. Anyone who has tussled with doubt—and who hasn’t?—should read this book.”
—Tanya Luhrmann, professor of anthropology, Stanford University, author of When God Talks Back
 
“More than your typical ‘science vs. faith’ book, Finding God in the Waves is a deeply engrossing story about the experience of doubt, the thrill of discovery, and what it means to be human. Mike is the rare storyteller who can make you laugh, tear up, and feel a sense of wonder, all on the same page—and in this delightful book, he has delivered an essential, unprecedented read on the role contemplation plays in how we can know God, even in an age of skepticism.”
—Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation
 
“Extraordinary. It’s so rare to find a book that is both this important and this much fun to read. Funny, intelligent, and disarmingly honest, Finding God in the Waves gives voice to a generation of faithful skeptics and masterfully navigates the tricky terrain of faith, science, belief, and experience in a way that honors the humanity of atheist and believer alike. It’s the kind of book that forever changes how you see the world and yet reads like a comfortable conversation with an old friend. With this work, Mike McHargue has established himself as one of the most thoughtful and necessary Christian voices of our time.”
—Rachel Held Evans, author of Searching for Sunday and A Year of Biblical Womanhood
 
"No one merges science and faith, mystery and reason better than Science Mike. It''s magical. They should call him Magic Mike, if that''s not already taken. Read this book!"
—Pete Holmes, comedian, star of the HBO comedy Crashing
 
"Mike McHargue’s life has straddled two diametrically opposed worldviews: conservative Christianity and secular humanism. His fearless search for the truth led him out of the strict confines of his Southern Baptist upbringing, but his persistent experience of God wouldn’t let him remain an atheist. In Finding God in the Waves, McHargue offers a vulnerable, relentlessly logical account of the deconstruction and reconstruction of his faith that’s sure to challenge skeptics and believers alike. His story will resonate with anyone who’s ever doubted, been the odd one out, or struggled to make sense of their faith. And by giving readers this intimate window into his own journey, he will both help doubters grow in their respect for faith and help believers grow in their respect for science."
—Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian, executive director of The Reformation Project

"This fascinating book is unlike any other I''ve read. Finding God in the Waves is one part story, one part science, one part theology, and taken altogether it sings of truth and wonder. Rather than placing facts and meaning at odds, Mike invites us into the freedom of both."
—Sarah Bessey, author of Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith and Jesus Feminist
 
“Faith and doubt exist more closely than many of us acknowledge. We want to relate to a God we can neither touch nor completely understand. In Finding God in the Waves, it feels as if Mike is sitting at a table inviting the reader to bring questions and fears to a conversation about how our doubts can actually bring us closer to God and not further apart. This book is for the believers and the doubters, the nerds and the creatives, the skeptics and the faithful. The message of hope and beauty in this book is for all of us.”
—Amena Brown, spoken word poet and author of Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God
 
“This is the best book on navigating the tension between science and faith that I’ve ever come across. For any who desire to have some sort of faith or spiritual practice, but who also love science and don’t know how to navigate the apparent conflicting claims of both, Finding God in the Waves may be one of the most important books that they will ever read.”
—Michael Gungor, musician, author of The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse
 
“This is the most honest, challenging, and insightful book on reclaiming a lost faith that I’ve ever read—utterly unique and unexpected. I had one ah ha moment after another as Science Mike cast my faith—and my doubts—in a more hopeful and encouraging light. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Peter Enns, author of The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More than Our “Correct” Beliefs
 
"A rare and needed voice, McHargue reminds us that science and faith are not opposites, but allies. Brimming with honesty, vulnerability and a deep appreciation for the mysteries of the universe we inhabit, Finding God in the Waves will mean so much to so many."
—Ryan O’Neal, Sleeping At Last

About the Author

Mike McHargue, also known as “Science Mike,” is a Christian turned atheist turned follower of Jesus who uses his story to help people know God in an age of science. Mike is the host and co-host of two podcasts— Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists Podcast—that have attracted a curious following among Christians, the spiritually interested, and the religiously unaffiliated. He is an in-demand speaker at conferences and churches around the country, and he writes for the Storyline Blog, Sojourners, and Relevant magazine.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Dinosaurs in Sunday School

I was a fat kid.

I had no discernible athletic talent. I wore my hair in a bowl cut and had an odd appreciation for Hawaiian shirts. The shelves in my bedroom were full of computer magazines, spare parts from robots, and toys from science fiction movies arranged in scenes of battle.

Here’s how deep my “nerdery” ran: When I was eight, I took apart a VCR and reassembled its parts in a lunch box. I put the lunch box in a backpack and then ran some cabling from the backpack to a roughly cylindrical mechanical assemblage that I had scavenged (OK, stolen) from my grandparents’ farm in rural North Florida. The end result was a homemade proton pack, which allowed me to start an unlicensed Ghostbusters franchise in my neighborhood. I convinced my friends to build packs of their own, and we would roam the streets of our neighborhood at night, catching ghosts. I had no idea how prophetic this would be, my fixation with a movie in which humans dominated the supernatural with science and technology. But that’s a story for later.

For now, all you need to understand is that, in the 1980s, a passionate love for science, an overactive imagination, and a chubby physique were not exactly the recipe for popularity. I was a round peg (a very round one) for a too-­small square hole, and this made my grade-­school days a living hell.

My elementary school in Tallahassee, Florida, was like a John Hughes “Brat Pack” film gone horribly wrong. Ever since I could remember, an unofficial but strict hierarchy had dominated our social world. Everyone knew who our leaders were: a small collection of boys who were the funniest, the fastest runners, and the first picked when we played team sports. I both idolized and feared them.

The rest of the social pecking order was indecipherable to me. But I knew I was at the very bottom, the nerdiest of the nerds. Time spent in my company was damaging to anyone’s reputation—­and, in fairness to the other children, it’s not as if I hadn’t earned my social standing. People usually picture nerds as introverted, maybe even antisocial. Certainly many are, but I think some are like me: extroverts of such intensity that it makes others uncomfortable.

I once told my classmates that I was a werewolf—­a fact about which I was absolutely convinced.

Then there’s the fact that I cried at the drop of a hat, something other grade-­school boys take in with the excitement of a shark smelling blood.

At recess, tag was the worst. I ran like someone wading through molasses, and my classmates knew that once I was “it,” there was no way for me to transfer that dishonor to anyone else. When the alpha kids discovered this, they began running backward and chanting, “water tank, water tank,” making fun of the way my belly made waves when I ran. I was easy prey—­a fat, ginger gazelle in “husky” jeans.

By second grade, every recess had come to represent a choice: I could try to play with other kids and be bullied, or I could seek solitude and make it through without tears or having to call for teacher intervention.

So I chose solitude. Each day when the recess bell rang, I would make a beeline for the woods at the edge of our playground, where I would pass the time inventing stories to tell myself. This strategy wasn’t 100 percent effective. Occasionally a teacher would fetch me from my hiding place because I’d ventured too far afield; other times, a bored bully would actively hunt me down. But more often than not, I was out of sight and out of mind, and they left me alone.

Alone.

And lonely.


I became a Christian when I was seven.

My family comes from the largest denomination of the conservative Evangelical movement: the Southern Baptist Convention. Southern Baptists believe that people become reconciled to God when they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for the sins of all of humankind, and when they state that belief in a prayer.

That prayer is called the Sinner’s Prayer, a name that says a lot about what it’s like to grow up in that wing of the church. Southern Baptists believe that all people are born sinners. Humans are in love with pleasure, power, and prestige, and our natural inclination is to follow our sinful natures into all sorts of trouble. This isn’t too far-­fetched an idea. I carry 40 pounds of evidence of this tendency around my midsection.

But most Southern Baptists take it further, believing that people are completely hopeless without God, and that anyone who isn’t saved through faith in Jesus goes to hell—­an actual, physical place of eternal, fiery torment and suffering. This concept can do a number on the imagination of a seven-­year-­old kid, which was the age my friends and I were when we heard it. Many children express interest in salvation right around the time they’re old enough to grasp this concept of eternal torment. Some of my friends remember having nightmares in which their “unsaved” friends roasted in fiery pits while they looked down from heaven’s paradise.

I’m thankful to report that this wasn’t my experience. I was fortunate to grow up in a congregation that focused on the hope of salvation—­a message that was more carrot than stick. People at my family’s church talked about having Jesus in your heart and the Holy Spirit in your life. God was someone who helped you make the right decisions, understand the Bible, and find peace no matter what was happening around you. That sounded wonderful to my small ears.

One night after coming home from church, I interrogated my parents about salvation. Even as a kid, I was never the kind of person who accepts information without scrutiny, and I wanted to see if I could find or poke any holes in this salvation concept. I don’t remember this conversation, but my mother tells me it was remarkably businesslike. I wanted to know how, exactly, the process worked. What words did I say to be saved? What did God do, exactly, when I said those words? How would I know that God was doing His part? After nearly an hour, my curiosity was sated, and I went to get ready for bed.

I usually fall asleep quickly, but I couldn’t that night. I felt a sense of urgency, an energy pulsing through my bones. I knew I needed to ask Jesus into my heart, so I grabbed my mom and told her it was time—­that I was ready to know Him. Mom asked a few questions and then led me in that Sinner’s Prayer as we knelt beside my bed—­an altar covered with Snoopy sheets.

A few weeks later, the congregation baptized me, my teeth chattering in a baptismal pool with a broken heater. My feet didn’t reach the bottom of the tank, so I dog-­paddled to the pastor and stood on his boot. Moments later, after I was dunked under that frosty surface in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the preacher said I was a new creation, and I felt it. I was inspired, and I couldn’t wait to share the good news.

So I didn’t. The next day, I went to school and told every one of my classmates that I loved them. Every one of them. Every last boy and every girl—­all of them so equally horrified by my pronouncements of love that I found myself in the principal’s office.

My faithful walk with Christ wasn’t helping my social standing at school. Maybe I took that “ye are . . . a peculiar people” thing too literally.

But my faith did help me in other ways. When I felt lonely hiding in the woods to escape bullies, I would talk to Jesus. I talked to him about feeling fat, slow, and stupid. Sometimes I would ask him why, if he truly loved me, he had made me the way he did. Other times, I asked Jesus to make me able to hit a home run or run a mile without stopping, and I would imagine the admiration and accolades that would come from the other kids when such a miracle happened. I didn’t think it was too much to ask. Jesus was God, after all, and God had parted a sea for His people. All I was asking for was one lousy home run.

I never got that home run, but at least Jesus was a good listener. He never made fun of me, either.

Our talks weren’t all lament and pleading. We had a lot of fun, too. We’d talk about how the world worked and all the things in nature that amazed me. I didn’t have any friends at school, but that was OK. My best friend lived in my heart.

These days, people often tell me I’m smart. Every time I hear it, I’m amazed, because no one made that assumption during my first few years of school.

I had a hard time learning to write and spell. Around the time my classmates were forming legible letterforms, my scrawl still looked like preschool graffiti. And even though I loved to read, my spelling was atrocious—­bad enough, in fact, that I was put in a special class for a few hours each week. It was a strange class, one that housed both the smartest kids and the kids who had trouble learning.

My parents kept having to come to school to talk with my teachers about my unrealized potential. The teachers would tell them that I needed to work harder and apply myself. A couple of them said I was smart but lazy. I believed them. I hated myself for being so lazy.

At the end of each school year, my grades were usually good enough for me to advance to the next level but bad enough to initiate a serious talk about holding me back. Each year this talk got a little more serious. I’d probably still be in the third grade had it not been for a miracle that saved my academic career.

My school got computers. And computers changed everything.

In those days, computers were expensive and unproven, and they weren’t kept in every classroom. They had their own special domain—­a small room where the Apple IIs, with their green-­on-­black screens and giant floppy disks, were kept in two rows.

Computers and I became fast friends. You could press a key, and a letter would appear on the screen as if by magic. I felt none of the frustration I usually experienced when forming handwritten letters. Before long, I was crafting words and sentences with ease. This didn’t free me from the tyranny of penmanship, but it at least helped my teachers see that I wasn’t a hopeless case.

Before long, I had taught myself the basics of programming by modifying the educational video games the teachers gave us to play. I would figure out how to name fish after myself in a game called Odell Lake or get extra money in The Oregon Trail. One day, I created a program that would write my name on the screen over and over again. Everything about the machines made sense to me, because their abstract, procedural way of thinking resembled my own.

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Mark Traphagen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I didn''t want to like this book (from a still-unconverted atheist)
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2016
[WARNING: This review contains spoilers, if it is possible to spoil a memoir. If you prefer to go on Mike''s journey via his book without my "giving it away," you may want to skip this.] I really got off on the wrong foot with Science Mike. My... See more
[WARNING: This review contains spoilers, if it is possible to spoil a memoir. If you prefer to go on Mike''s journey via his book without my "giving it away," you may want to skip this.]

I really got off on the wrong foot with Science Mike.

My first encounter with this book came in a Facebook post promoting a personal appearance by the author at a Christian university, posted by my friend and former professor, biblical scholar Pete Enns. I think it was actually the subtitle of the book ("How I lost my faith and found it again through science") that set off alarms in my BS detector.

I assumed FGitW was yet another book of Christian apologetics. As someone who spent 30+ years in deep evangelical faith, including long stints as an officer in several churches and eventually obtaining an MAR degree at a conservative seminary, I was well-versed in apologetic arguments. In fact, similar to Mike, I lost my faith when I realized that none of those apologetics ultimately held up. At best, they functioned as props for believers worried about challenges to their faith, to assuage their cognitive dissonance.

That''s what I assumed Mike was trying to do. But once I read the book, I realized I was wrong.

It turns out Mike has no interest in converting me or anyone like me back to his faith. In part, that''s because his current "faith" [SPOILER ALERT!] isn''t anything that any "orthodox" Christian believer would recognize as truly Christian. So what is it?

Put simply, after two years as an ardent atheist secular humanist, Mike realized that something profound was missing. The missing part was a sense of transcendence, of meaning beyond the purely rational, of inspiration, as it were. But his journey back to that was not really a return to the same faith he had left two years before (which I had assumed it would be from his subtitle).

So what "faith" did he come to? That it doesn''t really matter if the God of the Bible (and all that comes with that) is "true" in the sense that traditional Christians think of that truth (God an actual, personal, being; Jesus''s divinity, atoning death, and physical resurrection; God answering prayer, etc.). What matters (to him) is that the God-concept imprinted in his brain is beneficial and useful to him, and pursuing that God brings him peace and makes him a better person.

That''s why Mike doesn''t care if he converts me. He''s perfectly happy if I find the same things without having to pursue any God-concept. In this book, he''s sharing his journey and his choices. He never presses for them to be anyone else''s. What he does hope to accomplish, though, is to provide a way for those who want to believe (in whatever way) in the Christian God to do so without sacrificing science or ethics.

My real reason for giving FGitW five stars, though, is for the surprising, almost brutal, honesty of this book. There is absolutely no attempt by Mike to sugar coat anything. Unlike any "case for faith" book I''ve ever read, Mike lays out the reasons for skepticism and unbelief clearly, with no attempt whatsoever to explain them away or deny their validity. This was the most shocking and at the same time delightful aspect of the book, and the part that disarmed my initial skepticism toward it.

In the end, this book did not change my current belief. I am still an agnostic-atheist (agnostic epistemologically--I embrace uncertainty, and thus the possibility of gods; but atheist in that I find it highly improbable that such gods actually exist as our religions conceive of them). But as I said, converting me was never Mike''s aim. What I did gain from this book is a deeper appreciation of the parallel things I now pursue, though I call them by different names than Mike does.
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DJS
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Science Mike" not a college graduate
Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2018
He admits it, "Science Mike" is not a college graduate. He can tick off big bang theory, string theory(s) and neuroscience but his deeper understanding of science really never tested rigorously by studying under experts or peer review. Is it fair to say the same thing... See more
He admits it, "Science Mike" is not a college graduate. He can tick off big bang theory, string theory(s) and neuroscience but his deeper understanding of science really never tested rigorously by studying under experts or peer review. Is it fair to say the same thing about his theology?

"Science Mike" believes in "Christian mysticism" which he seems to describe as a belief in a higher being based on personal miraculous experiences (hearing a voice followed by waves ''washing his feet''). Most or all Christians experience ''mysticism'' so what''s my beef? It would seem that "SM" feels that personal miracles are real but miracles described in the Bible are easily debunked (scientifically) and therefore only useful allegorically. It seems unclear whether SM believes in the divinity of Christ and questions the miracle of the resurrection--pretty fundamental to Christianity wouldn''t you say? Toward the end of the book he questions his own ''Christianity'' until he finds a church who accepts him along with his own set of beliefs and values, an indication that his ‘Christianity’ (as opposed to spirituality) is largely based on church membership. He admits that his beliefs are very close to secular humanism.

He addresses many arguments made by skeptics and atheists against Christianity and at times seemingly embraces the argument that ''fundamental Christians'' lack a the moral superiority of atheists by believing the God of the Old Testament. He also portrays many of the evils of the past (slavery and Crusades, for example) as dark blots that can be placed squarely on Christianity rather than a balance view that may view some professing ''Christians'' using selective Scripture to justify their cause and giving little or no historical perceptive regarding opposing views which argued from the examples of Christ Himself.

He makes an interesting argument about the brain''s hemispheres and what happens in some patients who have had a corpus collosotomy (splitting of the two sides via incision of the corpus collosum). One side, typically the left, commands reason and the other emotion. Mike theorizes that the left side can (and does) question God and is the origin of doubt and the other (feeling) side experiences God. By yielding to right brain function through ''mysticism'' one can ''find God'' as he has through reinforcing brain circuitry. One wonders what his beliefs are about ''the judgment'' (at one point he does give space to ‘true evil’ such and genocide and the like) and whether right and left brains will be judged accordingly. Would Hitler’s left brain be damned to an eternity in Hell and right brain judged otherwise?

This is a book for those who are looking for confirmation of what SM terms ''progressive Christianity''. It is unclear where God fits in at times. I think it has merits regarding mankind seeking a closer relationship with God (''seek and ye shall find'') but omits the supremacy of God and importance of salvation (God ‘seeking and saving the lost’ through supernatural means--virgin birth, life and teachings of Jesus Christ, death, burial and resurrection). It is not for us to judge the relationship of what any one individual has with God but I wonder what "Science Mike'' will be saying in future books given the progression so far--believer, atheist, ''spiritualistic Christian''). Will there be further ''evolution'' in future writings?

I think this is a fair review representative of the book’s perspective and admit my own biases. Read the book, judge for yourself but be aware of its basic tenet which is revealed in the latter parts of the book and a recipe for ‘I’ll do it my way’ religion.
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L. Roberts
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
NOT the book I thought I was buying
Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2018
I read the title and thought that was what I was getting . It was not. The only science the author seems to have looked into was what he was looking for. Not only that but making statements that made it seem that there were no other studies or "facts" to the contrary of... See more
I read the title and thought that was what I was getting . It was not. The only science the author seems to have looked into was what he was looking for. Not only that but making statements that made it seem that there were no other studies or "facts" to the contrary of those he resented. I would feel sorry for this deluded man except that he is leading untold millions into lies. The only god he has found is the one he''s made up , a faith of sentimentality that brings him comfort- unless he has decided God doesn''t exist at that moment that is. If you seriously are interested there are books about science and real facts that do confirm the bible. If you truly are seeking God be sure you keep open mind to all views before being led astray. I feel truly sorry for this man.
11 people found this helpful
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Paul Harrison
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great memoir of a faith in process
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2016
I’ve enjoyed listening to Science Mike on The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike podcasts because he is very introspective, thoughtful, articulate, enjoyable, and compassionate. There is hardly a wasted word and he''s always laughing. I relate with having a fundamentalist... See more
I’ve enjoyed listening to Science Mike on The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike podcasts because he is very introspective, thoughtful, articulate, enjoyable, and compassionate. There is hardly a wasted word and he''s always laughing. I relate with having a fundamentalist Christian past where God was my everything and I had peace and certainty, then had everything come crashing down, leaving me in disillusionment, depression, and despondency. I also relate with having overwhelming mystical experiences that make it hard for me to be a comfortable secularist and atheist, and those experiences happening in a Christian context, but having no way to affirm Christian doctrine with intellectual honesty, so having to swim in Christian circles without knowing exactly what to think or believe while there. The end result is an ever-changing, idiosyncratic faith in which my beliefs are in process, and this is what I found in Finding God in the Waves.

The first part of the book is memoir, giving us a picture of Mike’s life and beliefs, his disillusionment and slide into atheism, and his mystical experiences where he hears Jesus speak to him audibly at a Rob Bell meeting and has a profound mystical experience on the beach that night. The second half of the book are Mike’s reflections on this experience and figuring out exactly what he believes about God, prayer, Christianity, Jesus, the Bible, and the Church. Those familiar with Science Mike will not find it surprising that he lands on the liberal, progressive, mainline end of spectrum with his tentative views that won’t gain him many points with fundamentalists and evangelicals.

I was excited about his chapter on experiencing God by practicing prayer and meditation, but troubled when the advice seemed to be little more than to pretend God exists and to give your brain a concept of a loving God to play with, then in time this God will be real to your brain and you will gain all of the benefits of belief. Further, he doesn’t seem to see God as a person you can pray to and ask things for, so prayer becomes meditation and communing with God instead. Given that he affirms Einstein’s God where the word “God” is at least a metaphor for the forces of nature and elegance of the universe, this wasn’t helpful for reaching an actual personal, volitional, external God who knows my name, loves me, and can actually act supernaturally to speak, guide, and answer prayer. It felt like Mike suggested no more than the atheist criticism that God is a useful delusion that helps believers feel good.

But Mike does affirm the mystery of God in his mystical experiences that would suggest God is loving and volitional while at the same time affirming that everything he thinks and says about God is imprecise and unscientific, explaining that he is squarely in the Christian tradition using new metaphors and understandings of God. I would have liked to see more emphasis on this personal and volitional God more than Einstein’s God or an image of God we invent until our brain’s “muscle memory” believes and experiences it via reinforcement by spiritual disciplines.

I’m thankful Mike shared with us his faith in progress, as so many of us are in the same place. Also, I stood on the beach and prayed and a seagull pooped on my head. Do not try to replicate Science Mike’s mystical encounter.
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J Sizzle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
As someone raised fundamentalist, and turned atheist, this book gives me hope
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2017
I really needed this book. As I''m sure many people who have tread this similar path have done, I''ve read stacks of books both for and against Christianity, as questions I was having about my faith were becoming increasingly harder to reconcile with my fundamentalist... See more
I really needed this book. As I''m sure many people who have tread this similar path have done, I''ve read stacks of books both for and against Christianity, as questions I was having about my faith were becoming increasingly harder to reconcile with my fundamentalist Christian upbringing. I more or less became an agnostic atheist a bit over a decade ago when I walked away from my childhood worldview, and have never really been able to regain faith since. That said, I''m generally ok without faith and religion, from a happiness perspective, but I always missed the connection and community of my childhood (wishing it didn''t come with so much terrible baggage). Over the years I had semi-formulated some of the thoughts this book touches on, and even as an atheist I never stopped praying (makes me feel less crazy than talking to myself I guess, ha), but this book really helped crystallize a worldview that I think may allow me to embrace some semblance of faith again. While I''m sure I''ll never have anything that completely looks like my upbringing (I sure hope not, ha), it gives me hope that I don''t have to lie to myself and forsake rationality and science to still have a religious practice, community, and hopefully an interaction with what may be the divine.

If you are an atheist or agnostic (or a fundamentalist Christian headed in that direction) I highly recommend this book! I''ve read some of the hard core apologetic material in support of Christianity, and none of it ever clicked for me as it seemed like the claims they were making just could not be reconciled with any amount of honesty in tow. But the concepts in this book leave room for not needing everything to always line up to be able to find the value in it all. It presents the positives in religious practice and belief and what having those may look like for someone who is otherwise a skeptic. I''ve been on the fence as to whether religion is generally more harmful than positive (and as such something I should actively avoid out of principle) but this book is definitely making me rethink that a bit. I''m not sure where I''ll go from here, but it feels like this book will likely be impacting me for years to come.

I also highly recommend The Liturgists podcast that the author helps produce, I have started binging through old episodes and have found it similarly valuable.
6 people found this helpful
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J. Lefevere
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Port in the Stormy Sea of Reason vs. Faith
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2016
The book is called, "Finding God in the Waves," but the book found me in an abyss of existentialist angst at exactly the right time. Unlike many, I assume, I did not know ''Science Mike'' from his blog or podcasts. I found this book while searching Amazon for a book... See more
The book is called, "Finding God in the Waves," but the book found me in an abyss of existentialist angst at exactly the right time. Unlike many, I assume, I did not know ''Science Mike'' from his blog or podcasts. I found this book while searching Amazon for a book on world religions -- a further attempt at trying to understand holistically (no pun intended) what people believe and why. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school for 12 years and have the guilt to show for it. I was shaken out of blind faith dogma in 2003 by The DaVinci Code and further shaken when I started dating and subsequently married a Jewish girl.

Trust me when I say that to be adrift in skepticism yourself while married to a girl that believes Jesus was merely a carpenter, is to be isolated from the vast majority of those who live in the heartland, as I do.

Since then, I''ve been alternately an agnostic, an atheist and a seeker, finally settling on some cross of metaphysical and Buddhist Humanism. Still, having a structure to my moral code that didn''t revolve around a heaven or hell construct and a belief in the biblical supernatural didn''t help resolve some of the bigger science-based questions I wrestled with. Nor did it aid in a deep yearning for service and community.

This is a terrific book terrifically written. If anybody is struggling with reason vs. faith, this book is a fantastic opportunity to go on a journey with the author who comes to his own closure (not conclusions, but closure) on how to handle. In doing so, he has done a great service for many, many people, including myself. His list of axioms on the major precepts of Christianity is available for free on his website, but well worth the purchase of the book to reward the author for gifting his own clarity forward to others.

This book is highly recommended for insight, depth of thought, and usefulness for those trying to reconcile what their head tells them vs. what their heart and soul needs.
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Ethan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Encouraging, Inspiring, comforting... A book to Read.
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2016
I stayed up until 1am reading through half of this book on the first night it came out. I wanted to finish the whole thing in one sitting, but knowing I had work to do in the morning, I had to stop myself and put it down. Now that I''ve finished it, I had to recommend it.... See more
I stayed up until 1am reading through half of this book on the first night it came out. I wanted to finish the whole thing in one sitting, but knowing I had work to do in the morning, I had to stop myself and put it down. Now that I''ve finished it, I had to recommend it. This book is so honest, full of stories about a person who just wants to love well. I was brought to tears as I encountered a story of a man who cared so deeply about his family, friends, and his own personal journey.

Do yourself a favor... Buy this book.

If the idea of God immediately turns you away due to your past experiences, read it.

If you think atheists are horrible, immoral people, incapable of love, read this book.

If you find yourself in the struggle of reconciling the ever-growing wonders of scientific work with the stories of the bible, read this book.

If you find yourself being an atheist in a Christian environment, and you feel alone, read this book.

But most importantly, if you want to read a story about a guy just doing his best to live life well and care for his friends and family, read this book.

I am a slow reader, and books are normally a chore. But this book was different. It''s easy to read, very engaging, and it spoke to me on such a deep level. I don''t feel alone in my spiritual life, and I feel I can connect with God again. Thanks, Mike, for being vulnerable in writing and encouraging people like me that I''m not alone.
8 people found this helpful
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David
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I was a little disappointed by the turn this story took when the author ...
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2017
I was a little disappointed by the turn this story took when the author heard an audible voice, but it is what it is. I absolutely loved the book up until that point, it was legitimately feeding my soul. Yet, the author went from rational to the all too familiar and... See more
I was a little disappointed by the turn this story took when the author heard an audible voice, but it is what it is.
I absolutely loved the book up until that point, it was legitimately feeding my soul. Yet, the author went from rational to the all too familiar and distressing (to those of us who have not had such an experience) miracle story out of no where. I almost felt betrayed by the narrative. It was refreshing to hear another Christian doubt so honestly, but then I felt alone again after he heard the voice. I''m not going to say divine intervention doesn''t occur, I am a Baptist minister for goodness sakes, but as the author said, it''s not what is important for being a good person and embodying the teachings of Jesus. I just expected something else from this story and am sad I didn''t get it in the end.
8 people found this helpful
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David Edwards
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One Man''s Escape from Fundamentalism
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2018
This is basically the story of the author''s escape from fundamentalism and as with so many things which are wrong, misguided or just bad it is often necessary to throw the whole lot out and rebuild from basic principles up. This is what ''Science Mike'' did, by going from...See more
This is basically the story of the author''s escape from fundamentalism and as with so many things which are wrong, misguided or just bad it is often necessary to throw the whole lot out and rebuild from basic principles up. This is what ''Science Mike'' did, by going from Evangelical to Atheist and back to Christian again, but this time a measured, reasonable Christian of whom Jesus could be proud, rather than a fearful, narrow adherent of a neutered religion. Well written and most informative. The insight into the Evangelical Southern Baptist’s version of Christianity was chilling. But the measured and balanced explanations of all aspects of faith and Mike’s journey was most enlightening. If I had been able to communicate with the author early in his struggle with the loss of God from his life I would have pointed out that existence isn’t just Christianity or Atheism. He struggled because he couldn’t think of anywhere else to go, but millions of Hindus have never even heard of the Bible and are very devout indeed, having no trouble believing in God. Similarly Buddhists have a much more sophisticated view of the Divine than the Christian faith allows. Look elsewhere, think more deeply once you have more data. Then you can come back and be a more informed Christian. Look at what the Kabbalah says about God. Look at Theosophy, the Wisdom religion. It is possible to regain the teachings that Jesus taught to his disciples in ‘the upper room’ but which have been lost. You just won’t find that information within Christianity as it is now.
2 people found this helpful
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mommahedgepig
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fellowship for journeymen, strugglers and sceptics
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2016
Having been already endeared to Mike McHargue through The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike podcast I had eagerly anticipated this book. I found it a delight to read Mikes honest and compelling journey from the conservative religion he had inherited through to an awakening...See more
Having been already endeared to Mike McHargue through The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike podcast I had eagerly anticipated this book. I found it a delight to read Mikes honest and compelling journey from the conservative religion he had inherited through to an awakening need for authenticity as his faith narrative unravelled. I felt privileged to share in what had once been kept secret and sorrowful and troubled at his perceived and actual need to live a double life as Christian on the outside and Athiest in his mind. I loved his intellectual pursuit of understanding combined with his child like love of prayer. His journey back to a more mystical experiential faith, the beach encounter and ultimately his acceptance of both certainty and uncertainty with great integrity. This book offers fellowship for those who have ever struggled with questions and scepticism and felt alienated by their communities because of their doubt and it''s a real page turner too! Mike warmly leads the reader through his journey, it''s funny, engaging and in doing so he has created another much needed safe and reassuring space for others.
11 people found this helpful
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Mitzi
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Super enlightening
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2018
I absolutely love this book by Mike McHargue. I was curious to read it because I love The Liturgists Podcast, but I confess I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy it at all. I roughly knew his story of becoming an atheist and then finding God again, but it didn’t compel me enough...See more
I absolutely love this book by Mike McHargue. I was curious to read it because I love The Liturgists Podcast, but I confess I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy it at all. I roughly knew his story of becoming an atheist and then finding God again, but it didn’t compel me enough to dive in. Finally, I read it, and when I did, I could not put it down. His writing is extremely engaging, and his story and insights into how we believe or disbelieve, why, and the latest scientific findings on the brain and spirituality is nothing short of fascinating. He bridges the gap between science and spirituality which is incredibly enlightening. I love my faith, but it is changing, and I am so grateful for McHargue’s book to help me work through some doubts and questions. I highly recommend this book for anyone, spiritual or not, Christian or atheist or agnostic, humanist, whatever you identify yourself as.
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Iain
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A journey of faith and doubt explored through the lens of science and reason
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2016
This book is marvellous. It takes you through the author''s journey from a deeply fundamentalist faith, through doubt and atheism to him rediscovering his faith in a new way. That sounded like a spoiler, but I double checked that is all pretty much in the title of the book....See more
This book is marvellous. It takes you through the author''s journey from a deeply fundamentalist faith, through doubt and atheism to him rediscovering his faith in a new way. That sounded like a spoiler, but I double checked that is all pretty much in the title of the book. Anyway his story is moving and compelling, something I can in many ways relate to (though without the being intelligent side of it). However, he also justifies himself and his decisions using science and reason. It is hard to really explain without being as smart as him, so to understand a little you can read his axioms on his website or even listen to The Liturgists Podcast episodes 6 & 7. This is where I fell in love with the concept of this book. Or you can trust me, when have I ever steered you wrong?
7 people found this helpful
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awakeohsleeper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Humble, insightful, challenging and encouraging.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2018
Incredible book. Humble, insightful, challenging and encouraging. A very necessary read from a person who has a voice that is worth listening to. Thanks Science Mike!
One person found this helpful
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