About the Author: Mike McHargue “Science Mike”
About the Book: Finding God In the Waves
Mike’s website claims, “I help people make peace between science and their faith.” Mike defines this on his own terms. He does not help people make peace between science and their faith. Up front, I must warn readers that I thoroughly disagree with Mike’s philosophy.
After learning about his parents divorce Mike abandoned Christianity and became an atheist. He was a silent atheist for two years. Meanwhile he continued to attend and serve in a local Southern Baptist Church. During the two years he was a dogmatic atheist he continued to teach Sunday School. He finally broke silence in a meeting hosted by Rob Bell. It was in this meeting where Mike had a Jesus experience shortly after he participated in communion. Soon after, he had another experience at the beach where the waves supernaturally covered his feet and legs at a time when the tide was low. Hence the title, Finding God In the Waves.
Soon after his experience he began to write more transparently on his blog. His church discovered his views and asked him to resign from his position. Mike studied brain activity and he was impressed by the increase in activity that heightens when a person demonstrates faith and participates in a local community of believers. He believes that the comfort people experience is the result of brain activity rather than supernatural comfort and peace. He writes, “Belief in God can be beneficial to people, and prayer can rewire the brain.” (p. 221) Elsewhere he writes, “Science gives us facts. Faith gives us meaning.” (p. 247) Without a church to attend Mike saw a psychiatrist for therapy, which he considered a tremendous help.
In the book Mike writes about Vincent Van Goh and his artwork “Starry Night.” He states that the painting is a window into another person’s soul. I can appreciate his point. In fact, I believe that Mike’s book is a window into his soul. And I can even appreciate his honesty and I enjoy reading about his experience. I refuse to limit my reading to people who think like me. But there is a problem with his illustration of Van Goh’s painting. Mike suggests, even dogmatically, that the Bible is only a book that explains other people’s perceptions of God. So basically, the Bible explains to us what people have thought about God throughout the ages. He rejects biblical inspiration, and inerrancy. He believes the Bible is full of contradictions. Despite his position he concludes the book by claiming that God is love. But I am uncertain how he could make that claim. Simply because, in his view that is only a human perspective.
Mike has secularized the faith. It’s tragic.
Similar to Mike I consider myself a skeptic. The difference is, I am only skeptical about man’s explanation and exposition of the Bible, but never about the Bible itself. Since I am interested in other views I read books like this one. Most of my friends wouldn’t dare read a book like this. In writing that, I appreciate the opportunity to read Mike’s book and I will not insult him, but I cannot recommend the book. Unless you are like me, and you are interested in picking through the weeds of skepticism, non-traditional theology/Christianity and secularism, don’t read this book. If you are more comfortable avoiding books that disagree with Christianity, than avoid this one.
At the conclusion of the book Mike includes a statement of faith. Most importantly, he rejects the resurrection of Jesus and believes that the Bible is nothing more than man’s experience and understanding of who they think God is. He writes, “study of Scripture is warranted to understand our culture and the way in which many, many people come to know God.” (p. 256)
In exchange for an honest review Blogging For Books provided me a copy of Finding God in the Waves. I have written an honest review.