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On Earth as in Heaven Paperback – June 26, 2014
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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And this is one of the values of Paul's book: He relates biblical teachings to everyday events that affect contemporary situations. Far from being "preachy," the book is a thought provoking, eclectic collection of Paul's ponderings over many years about biblical values in today's real world. At the end of each chapter are a series of thought-provoking questions that tease the reader into further in-depth personal reflections. The book can be read in solitude, but would be most enlightening if studied in a group that is willing to question and explore its theological mores.
An example: ministers, priests, and pastors have long puzzled over how to understand and present The Trinity--how can three entities be one? Paul pondered this and tried several representations. He finally hit upon the Mobius Strip concept. As you may know, a Mobius Strip is a one-sided strip of paper with two sides. Construct your own like this: Cut a strip of paper about one inch wide and 12 inches long. Grab each end and bring them together making a loop, Twist one end 180 degrees and join the two ends. Each section has two sides, but if you trace a continuous pencil line around the loop you will find to your surprise that the strip has only one side. Paul brilliantly applies this to describe The Trinity: Imagine a three-sided rod about (say) 18 inches long. Three sided like a Toblerone chocolate bar. Now bring the ends together in a large loop, rotate one end a third of a turn (120 degrees) and tape the ends together. Now label the three sides: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Three sides. But trace your finger along one side and you will find that all three sides are only one surface.
It is practical examples like this that make Paul's book a thought-provoking and stimulating read, regardless of your religious beliefs.