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The God that Says I Am: A Scientist's Meditations on the Nature of Spriritual Experience Paperback – May 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450549047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450549042
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

"Written by a biologist with a broad, open-minded curiosity about world religions, this brief meditative essay offers a multitude of opportunities to synthesize reason and faith. Scientists commenting on their acceptance or disavowal of religion as a source of knowledge of reality have authored weighty tomes on this topic for centuries. But Simson stands out among the dozens of recent scientist-writers in this controversial area by establishing an exceedingly clear glossary of terms germane to thinking carefully about science and religion. Through making repeated references to these glossary definitions, and by defining these terms with a disarming mix of simplicity and thoughtfulness, Simson has created an inviting way for readers to search out their own connection between scientific reason and religious faith. For example, the often ambiguous meanings attributed to “belief” and “faith” are differentiated by the position that “faith is arrived at from one’s own experience, whereas belief involves acceptance of a received doctrine, integrated into personal experience.” Bringing together more than a half-century of readings in world religions along with global travel to sacred sites, Simson presents a nondoctrinaire, lively view of how science and religion possess their own realms of legitimate authority. For Simson, science finds meaning through testing facets of external reality, and religion forges meaning through the individual and collective interpretations of beliefs, myths and practices. The author nuances religion personally to mean a gratitude to a power higher than oneself for the gift of life. The nature of what conservative believers identify as “sin” and “evil” Simson identifies as the inevitable conflict of biological instincts and societal limits—the only time in the book when the author seems an unequivocal spokesperson for the scientific point of view over the religious. In suggesting that all religions historically have promoted ideals of gratefulness, love of creation and a dedication to living a life of service to others, Simson particularly focuses upon the centrality of feelings of love and the need to make modest claims—scientifically and religiously—about what we absolutely know of ultimate reality. This well-reasoned, sensitively written meditation on the relationship of science and religion offers considerable food for thought for readers eschewing simple dogmas."

About the Author

The author was raised in a non-religious family but has had a lifetime interest in the functional reality of religion. After receiving a Ph.D. in human anatomy, the author taught and did research in medical cell biology until retirement, all the while retaining an interest in the spiritual dimension of human experionce.

More About the Author

Jo Anne Valentine Simson was born in Chicago, Illinois, was raised in Michigan, and now lives in South Carolina. A wanderer at heart, she has traveled throughout the U.S. and the world, including five years living overseas.

She has Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology and has published extensively in the scientific literature as J.A.V. Simson. She was one of several contemporary scientists featured in the Smithsonian's American History Museum exhibit, Science in American Life (1994 - 2011).

After years of working as a scientist, Dr. Simson retired to pursue her love of travel and writing. Her current concerns include smoothing the jagged interface between science and other areas of human culture, as well as the potentially devastating problems caused by inequalities throughout the globe. Besides two non-fiction books, she has written and published short fiction with the pen name V. Pascoe.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GS on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a scientist, I developed questions about spirituality at an early age. As I have progressed through life trying to answer these questions, I found this book able to put many of my questions into perspective and found a comfortable solution. I am still searching for answers, but this book has supported many of my own concepts. It is a beneficial read for others who are continuing their own investigation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Simson on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the things I found I liked best about this book was the Glossary. The Glossary alone would provide many topics of discussion in and of itself. That may not be typical, but it seems any discussion of God, religion, worship and related acts hinges so significantly on the words used and the meaning of the words used--and so few writers on these topics take the time to thoughtfully consider the importance of the words used and the meanings of those terms and words, both of which are essential to understanding the material and really communicating apples to apples. I was actually surprised at how significant the glossary term definitions really enhanced my understanding and appreciation of the points the author was trying to make. I admit to having some reluctance going in to the book, having had frustration in the past with scientists and anthropologists whose objective with the written word seems to be to analyze God, to quantify God, to deny that God exists or to convince that God is a creation of man rather than man a creation of God. What I found was a very thoughtful and insightful discussion of a Creator and man's need through the ages to understand God and to have the dimension of spirituality. The book was well organized and had a very comfortable flow. It provided analysis but in a non-clinical way, which I found refreshing. I think this book could generate some excellent discussions and would be useful in a Bible study or as a tool in any group seeking to explore and understand our spiritual nature.

*Commentary may be quoted as: “Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards”
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor Stoneham on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Do you know what you mean by words such as soul, spirit and spirituality? These words, as the author points out, are bandied about as if we all know with certainty and agree amongst ourselves as to their precise meanings. Of course their meanings can vary depending on translation and context. And we do not know, indeed cannot know all the answers.
As the subtitle declares, this is a collection of one scientist's meditations on the nature of spiritual experience, as reflected in religious practice and doctrine. The author confesses to being a life time seeker of truth and is well versed in most of the major world religions. Here in this book are her personal introspective essays written and reworked over 30 years or so, by this well travelled and well read biologist, as she draws on her own experiences, acquired knowledge and thoughts over 60 years or so.
What is meant, and what is experienced, by those of us who find spiritual experience significant in our lives? What is spiritual experience? She defines this as moments of intensity, wonder and awe. Her meditations, she says, set out to explore this notion from an experiential or existential point of view, although there is plenty of philosophy along the way.

The book sets the scene with the biblical Old Testament story of Moses and the burning bush, and a discussion of the meaning of "I Am," a reality that has been the subject of continuing debate over interpretation ever since.
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