This is a massive and sincere addition to the conflicted and lively field of comparing scientific thought and religious belief.
The Christians’ God Does Not Exist! Yes, He/She Does! It Is Matter That Does Not Exist! by Proncell F. Johnson Jr. is an ambitious, encyclopedic tome that thoroughly surveys the current debates on science and religion.
The book’s major claim is that it proves the existence of God, though the evidence supporting this claim is presented in a tangled labyrinth. It rests on the notion that the kingdom of God is within the individual’s consciousness and that the material world is an illusion; God is the only reality. Matter, it says, is nonexistent.
The book claims to have uncovered the unifying principle of the universe—the one theory that explains everything—that Einstein and other scientists searched for in vain. Therein lies its proof of God.
At first blush, the book is a defense of the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science. Its proofs rely on a specific interpretation of Jesus as both God and man that makes his miracles repeatable by anyone, since they arose from the kingdom of God that lies within all. This heady argument is buttressed by the book’s tendency to reiterate that it is right, that science is wrong, that matter is an illusion, and that current research about the existence of God also errs by ignoring the teachings of Christian Science. Its conclusions are couched in a repetitive mantra; claims are not developed convincingly but are pushed, again and again.
If its arguments come up short on their ability to persuade, the book still serves as a wide-ranging anthology of the works of scientists including Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. It abounds with summaries of the best work on creationism, intelligent design, evolution, the big bang theory, quantum mechanics, and many other topics. It synthesizes massive amounts of material, presenting them in short, clear passages that crystallize their essential points.
The same directness and clarity does not transfer to the book’s own arguments, though. Most of the book is an extended ramble, and it stretches on for close to eight hundred pages. Its hews closely to its notions, rejecting all that does not adhere to the teachings of Eddy and her followers. Science is wrong; Christian Science is right.
The Christians’ God Does Not Exist! traces a decades-long journey to discover the truth about God’s existence. Passion is evident, and the text’s tendency toward soul-baring is moving. This is a massive and sincere addition to the conflicted and lively field of comparing scientific thought and religious belief.
Philip J. Kowalski
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