Are we just a random mistake?

Following up on my SMART goals for LENT, I have finished the second book of my pile.

 Chance or Purpose by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn

I was recommended this book by a friend when we were discussing a documentary I mentioned here.

My main reason for reading this was because my friend said they hated reading blogs and the only way I could convince them to read ours was to agree to do a review on this book.  So here you go… and friend YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

I had a great deal of reluctance to tackle this book, partly due to the title combined with committing the book readers mortal sin of judging a book by its cover.

What’s wrong with the cover?  Nothing if you like reading science textbooks, because that was what the title and cover shouted out to me.  If I had a PhD in science and liked reading textbooks in my spare time, then this book would have topped my list.  Unfortunately at the end of a long day slogging it out at the coalface, all I really feel like reading is something with lots of pictures about a silly topic, like Hyperbole and a Half.

I am very grateful, however, that my friend challenged me to go out of my comfort zone to confront the fear of my brain exploding and the Post Traumatic Stress leftover from high school science.

I would like to think that the weighty topics in “Chance and Purpose” would be ones I could willingly tackle in an effort to better my understanding of the world…

Things like : Why am I here?  Am I just a random animal who has accidentally learned to walk upright so I could see over the long grass?

I do tackle questions like this in the very odd moments when I actually ponder my existence.

Perhaps those odd moments occur through seeing serious suffering, or watching a debate or hearing of new scientific discoveries, or even marvelling at an incredibly beautiful sunset or night sky.  They get me in touch with the big questions.  The ones that one discipline alone cannot answer.  The ones that science alone cannot answer.

Enter Cardinal Schonborn to help me navigate the murky waters of uncertainty with ease, and completely surprise me by making this book absolutely accessible to the non-science, weary brain.  Having said that, this is not dumbed-down or steeped in shallow cliches either, and he gives the reader the dignity of having half a brain.  He tackles questions and people with the depth and dignity they are entitled to.

He uses a very conversational style for the most part, explained by the fact that the book is based on a series of public teachings he gave after getting a lot of criticism from the New York Times and others about comments he made concerning the origins of life.

Many of my own gnawing questions were answered when I read this, and it even helped inspire in me a greater sense of wonder at the truth of who I am as a human person.

I won’t tell you whether he tells us we are all descended from apes or God made the world in 7 days.  I will leave you to read the book yourself and find answers to your own questions about the origins of life.

If you do read it, or have read it, I would love to hear about your own reflections in the comments section below.











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