Books, We Have Books

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In the past week, I've received four books, two of which I intend to discuss here without further amplification, two of which I hope to write more extensive reviews of.

The first of those that I will not belabor is a biography of Mother Angelica called, appropriately enough, Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo. Mr. Arroyo might be considered Mother Angelica's foremost proponent, supporter, and friend. He prepared a book I reviewed earlier of her sayings, and from my point of view, that way by far the more interesting book--a purely subjective judgment. There is nothing wrong with the style or writing of Mr. Arroyo's book, nor is there anything intrinsically wrong with the subject. When I have more time, I may return to it. However, Mother Angelica simply does not captivate me the way she does some of those who admire her. I have for her a certain amount of admiration and respect, but, unfortunately, no real interest, so a biography is lost on me.

Even so, I dipped in at a few places and found some fascinating details about goings-on in EWTN world as well as information about Mother Angelica's early life.

If you are an admirer of Mother Angelica, you'll probably find this book to your taste. And now that it is in a paperback edition, you'll probably also find it within your budget.

The second book that I'll touch on briefly is by a person whose writing I would like to like more--Scott Hahn. He has produced another opus Reasons to Believe, written in his characteristically irritating evangelical preacher/motivational speaker patois. As with all books by Scott Hahn, it is packed with useful information if you're interested in apologetics or even in simply understanding your own faith better. It is peppered with the personal, which makes it accessible and acceptable reading. Even so, it is thoroughly documented and clearly annotated. There is a wealth of information for those who have an easier time with his prose than I do. Having had my share of the evangelical set, I'm not particularly enchanted with its arrival in Catholic prose; however, once again that is a completely subjective view and does not reflect in any way on Mr. Hahn's ability to clearly express central truths of our Faith. My chief difficulty comes not from the main body of the argument, but from the titles that are pithy, catchy, motivational-speaker types of mnemonics that drive me to distraction: "The Mass of Evidence," "You Have the Rite to Remain Repentant." "Soar All Over." That said, there are far fewer of them in this book than in previous and I have high hopes of being able to place the blinders on sufficiently to get through the rest of it. When he's not making bad puns as part of his patter, the prose is clear, convincingly argued and well-supported.

Two books that I hope to have more to say about later in the week: Anthony DeStefano's Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, which, despite its title, is NOT a Catholic version of "The Prayer of Jabez." Also Frank J. Tipler's The Physics of Christianity. I can't tell you how excited I was to receive this latter--I had read some time ago Tipler's The Physics of Immortality and came away somewhat perplexed and feeling like I should have paid more attention SOMEWHERE in school, but I wasn't precisely sure where. However, the main thrust of the book was utterly fascinating.

Below I include a short, intriguing excerpt from the new book because I think it expresses so well my own thoughts about this very subject:

from The Physics of Christianity
Frank J. Tipler

[After a discussion of an electron as a "quantized, relativistic, fermion field, Mr. Tipler continues:]

Similarly, everyone has an image of "God," but to really understand what God really is and how He could interact with the universe, one must use a theory beyond everyday commonsense physics. Contrary to what many physicists have claimed in the popular press, we have had a Theory of Everything for about thirty years. Most physicists dislike this Theory of Everything because it requires the universe to begin in a singularity. That is, they dislike it because the theory is consistent only if God exists, and most contemporary scientists are atheists. They don't want God to exist, and if keeping God out of science requires rejecting physical laws, well, so be it.

My approach to reality is different. I believe that we have to accept the implications of physical law, whatever these implications are. If they imply the existence of God, well then, God exists.

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Well some like Scott Hahn's punny titles, but I can see how they can also annoy many. It can distract from a serious work and I noticed in his book on Opus Dei that he didn't use such titles there.

I really liked Anthony DeStefano's book, despite the title.

I look forward to reading Tipler's The Physics of Christianity. After seeing Tom's reading triage of it I wasn't sure what to make of it. But if you yourself as a scientist doesn't think it is junk, then I do hope to find it interesting. By the way have you ever read any of Fr. Jaki's books? He is both a Catholic priest and a nuclear physicist. His book "Science and Creation" on why it was under Christianity that Science finally bloomed is really good and also provides a thorough introduction to ancient cultures up through the Greeks and why science was always stillborn.

Dear Jeff,

I don't know yet that it isn't trash. Tom is a better physicist than I am. But that doesn't mean that despite its problems there will not be worthwhile material within it. I'll let you know as I read.

As to Father Jaki, yes, I've read a number of his works and of his Anglican counterpart Polkinghorne (I think is the name.)





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 7, 2007 7:48 AM.

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