Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: The God Who Weeps, by 'Terryl' somebody

This seemed like an interesting premise to me. It was about how LDS people have this perspective of a very human God who mourns when we mourn and is happy when we're truly happy, and so on. Empathy and emotion and a personal relationship, not something distant or impersonal.

But the book-so odd. First, I don't know who it was written for. If it was written for non-members, it's extremely light on the LDS stuff. The 5 or 6 main premises that the author(s) state don't really have all that much to do with the church. One of them doesn't even have much to do with God (it was on 'original sin' - what this had to do with God's empathy, they don't really address).

And if the book was written for LDS people, rather than gospel citations such as scripture or general authorities, the book endlessly cites quotes from people from world history or literature. Every other page is a 'Dante said this' or 'Plato said that.' quote. Plus poems and song lyrics. Everywhere. 

The sort of redeeming thing about the book is that the authors' heart at least sort of seems to be in the right place? Their premise is kind of unclear or inconsistent throughout the book but they seem to want to make some watered down argument to non-believers that God exists and that the LDS faith has some interesting insights on all of that. Sort of. They're really, really light on all that. Mostly they just quote poetry. This makes it so it's not spiritual. 

One part I did like was where they made a practical appeal to the existence of God by listing all of the huge coincidences someone would have to accept to believe that this is all just some random accident. it went on and on about how our brains store memories and how we feel guilt and shame, which are not evolutionary or biological emotions, and how the earth is the exact right distance from the sun to be hospitable, and how just the exact right processes occur to keep the ocean from freezing from the bottom up. When it all adds up, it is a very tall order, the # of things you'd have to swallow to be able to firmly and without a doubt assert that there is no God. Fairly ridiculous, even. 

Of course, we know this, but it was nice to see it written down somewhere. Personally I'd have preferred them making a spiritual appeal to the reality of God rather than a philosophical or intellectual one, but I suppose this kind of approach could have an affect on someone. 

1 comment:

Kristen said...

We got this at work (college library) and the title alone made me want to read it, but once I looked at the table of contents I decided not to. Just from that I kind of concluded that the book was not going to measure up to the title.
Unfortunately, I felt the same after reading "Happy Like Jesus." Br. Ogden is a super smart man, but the book was a little too simple.