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A Secret of the Universe: A Story of Love, Loss, and the Discovery of an Eternal Truth Hardcover – October 11, 2007


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Truth-Driven Strategies, LLC (October 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979388007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979388002
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,749,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Lifelong friends Ian and Bill begin life down the path of Midwestern middle class marriage, family, jobs, and neighborhoods. Then, tragic events push Bill deep into the comfort zone of his family and Christian fundamentalism, while Ian takes off on a quest for truth, examining all beliefs through the lens of reason. A rift in the friendship grows into a chasm as Ian delves into an endeavor that may detonate the foundation of Christianity.

Through his employer, Ian meets a group of scholars who open a door to knowledge that both stuns and captivates. This path of inquiry is hidden in plain sight, known by some historians and biblical scholars, yet concealed from the public by academic reluctance to spotlight such a provocative theory without comprehensive proof. It is Ian who spearheads the task of bringing together scientists and theologians to assemble proof for the theory that one character describes as "revealing a secret of the universe."

Ian's questions, however, lead him to reveal just how out of step he is with his Midwestern community. "At some point, I just need to stop letting people believe I'm still the guy they've always known," he says. Though the cost of Ian's quest is apparent to others ("These guys must have a death wish") he is not self-reflective, driving himself to see the project through to the end. The bonds of friendship and community draw the two friends together again when the shadow side of faith sends the world into chaos, and an even deeper secret emerges.

Author Gibson takes the hard questions head-on and weaves multiple points of view, including the omniscient storyteller, allowing the reader enough distance to step out of the story and dig into the references in the back of the book. In fact, several characters are actual researchers and theologians, set in fiction. Fans of Gibson's nonfiction release, Truth-Driven Thinking, will recognize the author's dedication to the quest for truth, and many readers who delight in a well-researched cautionary tale might find themselves dog-earing pages and taking notes as they enjoy the story. (August)--Carol Lynn Stewart



With very little of the world's headlines making sense to those millions who read or watch them, this novel or story form of addressing the glue that holds people's perceptions together is a healthy start toward healing. ... [The book] is thoughtful, challenging, and provides some good scholarship as practiced today as a bait for the author's very worthwhile truth-driven thinking. It will doubtless cause debate: it will hopefully provoke some thoughtful changes. --Grady Harp, one of Amazon's elite Top 10 Reviewers!

It is a story about ... the most important secret the world could discover. ... The writing is tight and brilliantly executed. ... I dare readers to pick up this book and read it with an open mind. You won't be sorry. I wholeheartedly recommend A Secret of the Universe. --Heather Froeschl, author, editor, and book reviewer, Bookideas.com

About the Author

Stephen L. Gibson has been a successful entrepreneur, corporate pilot, consultant, elected school official, and community volunteer. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, however, his nascent fascination with the origins of human belief and knowledge --epistemology-- grew into a journey of introspection and inquiry that has been both invigorating and painful. Thousands of people have come to share Steve's journey of discovery through his candid writings, DVDs, and netcasts.

More About the Author

On paper, I have been a successful entrepreneur, corporate pilot, consultant, elected school official, and community volunteer. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, however, my nascent fascination with the origins of human belief and knowledge --epistemology-- grew into a journey of introspection and inquiry that has been both invigorating and painful. (Hear my regular podcast at www.truthdriventhinking.com.) Is there a higher virtue than truth? It's a haunting question in some respects. Perhaps hope, faith? My answer, however, has been "no." While difficult in ways, my "religion" of truth has been liberating and envigorating. I invite you to follow me in my effort to put ego aside and ask the tough questions, of myself (ourselves) and others, in pursuit of truth. I invite you to join me in being all that we can be, opening our minds, and hopefully leaving the world just a little better off than we found it, in the process.

Customer Reviews

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This is a great thinker's book and I highly recommend to all.
Ryan Sjaarda
The strength of this book is that it will make you think outside of the box of "mythology truth" of traditional Christian perspectives that often go unquestioned.
Paul L. Yelsma
At the very least, this book will inspire readers to examine why they believe the things that they do.
Heather Brush

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With very little of the world's headlines making sense to those millions who read or watch them, this novel or story form of addressing the glue that holds people's perceptions together is a healthy start toward healing. Author Stephen L. Gibson (' Truth-Driven Thinking: An Examination of Human Emotion and Its Impact on Everyday Life') is a young campaigner for epistemology - the science of studying the origins of human belief and knowledge as examined through basing all thought on truth. Instead of electing to create what could have been a dry discourse on science and religion and how the two intertwine, Gibson has demonstrated his own personal journey through a story involving the friendship of two boys/men, one (Bill) is a devoted literalistic, evangelical Christian while the other (Ian) seeks to explain the holes in the blind faith religion of his upbringing, choosing instead to question every aspect of every form of 'religions', looking for the proof or truth of each and how these religions have so profoundly influenced human behavior.

The characters created to enact the drama of this philosophical exercise are interesting enough to propel the reader through the far too long (576 pages) book. Spanning a time frame from 1985 to 2010 the story is essentially one of coming of age of two boys from Michigan (the author's home) and how they respond to love, death, tragedy, marriage, children, personal losses and personal triumphs, terrorism, and individual soul searching.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Heather Brush on August 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
How do we develop our fundamental beliefs? Why do we hold tight to wishes, prayers, karma, holiday traditions, shooting stars, mythologies and faith? Is it because our parents told us to or because we've researched for ourselves, because Wikipedia has an article about it or some great scholar has written a book? In Stephen L. Gibson's novel, "A Secret of the Universe," readers are welcome to come to understand some of the reasons we have faith, and our ever changing beliefs, hopefully discovering the secret along the way.

Two friends, Ian and Bill, who went to high school together, have their own views of the universe. Their worlds co-exist, mingle throughout life, and affect the others' in ways only true friends can comprehend. There is intense joy and pain in each character's life, and such is reflected on the other. Through tragedy, each is brought to a pivotal point where what they believe leads them to the next step on their life's path; and, their next step in life effectively leads their beliefs. Into each life a little religion, sex and politics must fall, and these two friends address each topic openly. Their discussions and inner revelations surely reflect those of millions of people who will see themselves in black and white. Bill finds great comfort and support in his faith in God and his Christianity. Ian seeks answers through science and reason. Each of the men finds solid "proof" that reaffirms their views. This is no slight undertaking and the revealed secrets will shock the world as one of the men's beliefs inspires a seven year, intense, study that becomes very public. On the personal front, each of the friends has complex home situations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Carlson on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My, oh my. What a unique and enthralling book. As many of you know, over recent years there have been a spate of "apocalyptic" fiction novels by Tim Lehay and Jerry Jenkins, once serious writers. These novels pretend that a certain end of times will come and play out various adventures against this backdrop.
This book by Stephen L. Gibson is perhaps a much more thoughtful and honest addition to the genre. In this case, the story is not according to a fanciful script designed to appeal to true believers that already buy the "case" outlined in the backdrop. Instead, Gibson presents a novel whose two primary characters, close friends, begin from the same spiritual place, shift to divergent views, and then through the unfolding of the story come to a place of mutual acceptance and respect for each other's beliefs. Beyond that perhaps, they come to somewhat of a unification of those beliefs, though each from a differing perspective.

I suppose this is the Holy Grail of much of the spiritual community. Can their be a unified theory of religion that transcends tribal fundamentalism, and thereby makes our world a more peaceful and safer place? The book opens the door a crack to that possibility with its promise of opening a portal to free discussion and debate.

In the course of the novel, Gibson takes the reader through a primer of current thoughts by both christians and atheists. (Atheist is a challenging word to use because it conjures up certain images which do not adequately describe it. An atheist can be spiritual and very comfortable in Eastern and New Age philosophy which have fabulous and generous value systems).
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