I was reading his blog and listening to his podcast when still a believer, and was still listening and reading through my loss of faith and the grief that followed. In Finding God in the Waves, Mike McHargue tells the beautiful, hilarious, and absolutely heartbreaking story of his own journey through faith, atheism, and a return to God through science. Mike believes the Bible is art. This particular edition is in a Hardcover format. We thought we had found a church that would not trigger me. While I may not agree with the author on absolutely everything, although, when can two people completely agree when it comes to something as mysterious, undefinable, and experiential as God? It seems to me that Carl Sagan, were he alive, could read Mike's understanding of a god, and concede that he also has similar feelings of awe at the waves he observes in gravity or the movement of particles, without being a theist. 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.
This book was like getting to sit with him again at lunch as he shared snippets of the vast amount of information that is stored in his brain. I almost felt betrayed by the narrative. I also read the Bible and discovered this God was a genocidal sociopath, a manipulative dictator whose narcissism bordered on literally unfathomable. Nor should we desire to remain unchanged. At times in the book I questioned if Mike wasn't just attributing spiritual titles to phenomena that happens in spite of them--scientific phenomena to be exact.
What Science Mike has done here is what many atheist writers have done before. But this time, it wasn't theology or scripture that led him back to God—it was science. I became an atheist and held scientific facts above all else. I should say that I don't believe in the Young Earth view, and I do believe in evolution. What would you do when you hold information that could cripple the faiths of all of your congregants. I found McHargue's testimony to be amazing. Whenever you try to explain, people often push you out or try and conform you back in.
Yet 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. The message of hope and beauty in this book is for all of us. And not in an argumentative way, it isn't that either. It's a question facing millions today, as science reveals a universe that's self-creating, western culture departs from its Christian heritage and the idea of God begins to seem implausible at best and barbaric at worst. An open and raw reflection on a crisis, and Resurrection, of faith. I laughed and cried, often times within a page of each other.
Nothing has given me the perspective I needed to guide my way back to God. What do you do when God dies? This gives a left-brained basis for a very right-brained experience. Years later, Mike was standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when a bewildering, seemingly mystical moment motivated him to take ather look. I still seek to emulate him. As a child and young adult, he drew strength and authority from his Christian evangelical church community, yet privately he began to doubt the core tenets of fundamentalist Christian faith.
This book is so honest, full of stories about a person who just wants to love well. I just expected something else from this story and am sad I didn't get it in the end. So when I saw this book and read some reviews, I was excited to read it. In this book, he's sharing his journey and his choices. Rather than placing facts and meaning at odds, Mike invites us into the freedom of both.
I really like Science Mike. At that moment in my life I was in a mournful period of unraveling and walking away from my traditional beliefs. Some are ethnic or sexual minorities that cannot find an accessible church in which they do not find prejudice. Given all this, I think there are countless individuals who in reading this book would discover a new ground for a belief they may have lost along the way. I was looking forward to this book.
He is then profoundly impacted by a mystical experience on a beach, which sparks his gradual return to a form of faith that could withstand his own skepticism and sit comfortably within his extensive understanding of science. I don't agree with everything Mike has to say, and we've ended up in different places here and there. I am not convinced that anyone can find a church because a young, white, married, heterosexual, educated, published, self described extroverted, friendly, neurotypical man is able to find a church in a part of the world more populated with churches than literally anywhere else on earth. This is not a book on apologetics. The message of hope and beauty in this book is for all of us.
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. I listen to his podcast, though I have fallen behind. I am writing this review up late on a Saturday night, deeply saddened that I cannot join my family for church tomorrow morning, so far the closest church we could find in this small town to an ideal one for me, because my anxiety disorder is once again keeping me away. The axioms of faith Mike has developed are brilliant and succinct, and might be the most impactful words to refining my views that I've read in many many years. If praying to God neurologically has the same benefits as talking about your problems out loud to someone, say, a therapist, then why don't you just talk to someone real? It has changed how I approach prayer and meditation and has given me hope. And if you're looking for some practical steps on how to nurture one's spirituality while remaining cognizant of how absurd faith can sometimes be, this book should be on the top of your list.
So, I read this listened to it actually because I'm lazy and am not totally sure how I feel about it. I accepted evolution before even becoming a pastor, and even included my reasons why in sermons on Sunday morning. This book is for the believers and the doubters, the nerds and the creatives, the skeptics and the faithful. 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. I believe Mike that church is important, not just for belief, but for all around well-being and all over health. 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. This is actually very healthy - if our faith isn't changing, it's probably stagnating.