In the first part of this book (Chapters One to Nine) I argue that mortal existence can only be rationally accounted for and made sense of on the prospect of union with God; as envisaged by Plato of Athens and promised by Jesus of Nazareth.
First I discuss rationality, truth, logic and reality; showing how these ideas are interconnected. I then move on to consider physical existence in general before reflecting on the kind of existence which we identify as life, and in particular the life of sentient beings.
Next, I discuss the ideas of beauty, justice, love and value. I argue that they are intimately connected, and ultimately united in the single idea of "the Good" or God. I then consider the relationship between human beings and God: characterised on the one hand by sin, death and futility; and on the other by mercy, love and immortality.
Now, if God is no more than a figment of human imagination, my claim that sense can be made of our mortality by referring it to eternity would not amount to much! Hence, the second part of this book (Chapters Ten to Fourteen) deals with reasons for believing that God is real and that therefore the idea of human immortality is reasonable.
After identifying some wrong reasons for believing in God I address two powerful arguments which call into question God's reality. In doing so, I offer a view of the Fall and of Original Sin which makes it possible to account for why God generally deals with us remotely and obscurely. I then present critical accounts of four potentially sound reasons for believing in the reality of God.
The third part of the book (Chapters Fifteen to Seventeen) addresses more carefully the relationship between mortal existence and Eternal Life. I discuss the notion of freewill which underpins much of what has gone before and then turn to consider more strictly theological matters: the vocation to enlightenment communion and fellowship with God; the significance of the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, and how this relates to the Eucharist; and the mission, purpose and business of the Church.
|A review by a professor of Neuroscience
The "Good of Being" addresses the age-old philosophical question of what is "goodness" and proffers an answer in terms of life and "being". The suggested definition of life as self-generated "constancy in flux" is coherent and allows for a much broader view of life than our parochial norm. The requirement for constancy leads to concern about timelessness and mortality, resolved by the author's view that biological death cannot be the ultimate ending of life.
Realizing that many readers will stop following the discussion at this point, the author makes a valiant attempt to reproduce convincing arguments for the existence of God while acknowledging the absence of rationality behind many people's reasons for belief in the Divine. The book mostly succeeds in explaining a logically coherent system of beliefs that, importantly, matches our emotional, inner feelings that some things are right while others are wrong.
Some minor holes in the argument - the suggestion that our lives must extend in time in a manner they need not in space reflect an acknowledged emotional need, a need more likely generated by biological processes than by logical necessity. Throughout, generalizations about how "people behave" would benefit from concrete data or admissions, as many such generalizations do not ring true to this reviewer. However, I rate the book highly given the importance of its subject matter and the clarity of discussion.
The book will appeal especially to physicists with an interest in philosophy and religion, but since it is written in layman's language and addresses questions of high importance with original, creative ideas, is a valuable read to any seeking a rational basis for ethics and the meaning of life. [Paul Miller PhD]
|A review of my book by James
Dr. Lovatt's book was mind-boggling, and I do not think I will be able to do justice to it. But here's a try!
In his work, you will find cross-examinations of many of what we in western culture take as givens. Your first impression will be "This can't be true!", but with further meditation you will find what he says is quite obvious.
It is never incoherent or too technical, but appeals to the beginner's mind.
He takes on the meaning of faith, truth and life itself, as well as the arguments for the existence of God.
He challenges the presuppositions of many individuals and philosophies today, in a very Platonist way.
My mind is still reeling after reading his book, but as I think about more, it becomes much clearer.
Stephen Lovatt is my favourite modern writer, he leaves you wanting more.