Friday, June 6, 2014
The Trace of God by Joseph Hinman
Perhaps in your life, at some point or another, whether desired or unanticipated, you may have had a supernatural encounter of a mystical, religious sort that gave you a greater awareness, or understanding of someone bigger than yourself, perhaps even God. But, maybe you tried to tell others about it, only to be met with skepticism, doubt and maybe even mockery. After all, you may have been told, 'there's no way to verify what you say took place'. Or...is there? And that is part of the facets found in Joseph Hinman's book, The Trace of God.
I was given this book for free to read through a relative who recommended it for my blog. I had never heard of the author, because this is his first offering. But, I soon discovered he had a very impressive set of academic credentials (see his biography no Amazon for more information). I was not required to write a positive review. And, I began to delve into and finished this intelligent work of literature.
The major premise of the book centers around the concept that mystical, religious experiences are not only real for many people, but can be verified scientifically. Using historical research data, the work of psychologists, scientists, philosophers and others, the author builds an impressive case for his arguments. In doing so, he deals with objections from others on the opposite side of the issue, including related skepticism about placebos, drugs, the issues of brain chemistry and other variables many would use to object to the validity of his conclusions.
I liked the fact that the author took somewhat of a systematic approach to the subject and the arguments against it. Whether this related specifically to research he had done in his graduate studies I am not certain, but it appears that he uses very logical, sequential 'bullet point' type analysis in his chapters, which I enjoyed. Science is not my strong suit, so I did have some challenges with following a few items, until I closely attended to the surrounding detail. But, I was able to digest the material in small bites and flow until the end.
The book is designed on a more academic level, so it may be challenging to you if Abraham Maslow, Richard Dawkins and other advanced thinkers are not your preference in leisurely reading. However, though the author feels some may be skeptical at taking this as an apologetic work, I found it to be a vital work in apologetics that will stimulate the mind, contribute valuable insights to the reality of a divine being existing and offer clinical proofs that will challenge even the skeptical to consider the ramifications of the results. If that sounds like something you might want to pursue further, then I encourage you to buy the book.