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Record Type: Review   ID: 823

The Problem is God: The Selection and Care of Your Personal God

Anderson, C. Alan

The author, who is a professional philosopher, provides his own "abstract" of this book, and I quote it, but then I will also comment. "This book's title, The Problem is God, has three meanings: (1) The central problem or topic of the book is God. (2) The ultimate nature of any problem is our conception of God. The style of type used for 'God' in the title on the cover suggests that our old standoffish glorification of God is a basic problem. A noted scholar has observed, 'Rightly understood, the problem of God is not one problem among several others; it is the only problem there is.' The problem of God is so all-embracing that everything else must be seen in relation to it, if full understanding of any problem is to be reached. (3) We have so strong a tendency to emphasize problems, rather than answers, that we make the problem in any situation into our god. The second part of this book is concerned with reversing this order, so that by realizing the presence of God one can solve the problem, thus allowing God to be the solution.

The book's subtitle, 'The Selection and Care of your Personal God,' may seem strange or funny or both. What is strangest and funniest is that the book is a guidebook for exactly what the subtitle says. 'Selection' emphasizes your active role in discovering God, partly through the interpretation of him that you choose. 'Care' stresses that your relationship with God is a two-way street, in which you exert an influence on God, as well as vice versa. I suppose that I could resort to saying that the meaning of 'care' as 'regard or affection' is what I mean, instead of 'care' as 'watchful attention or assistance.' But I really do mean 'care' as 'assistance,' although it happens that the help which we best can give to God is our affection, our love. So there is a happy double meaning. The same is true of the use of 'personal' here. It refers both to God's being your own God, in intimate relationship with you, and to the overall nature of God as personal—the unique, infinite, cosmic person" (pp. 13-14). What the author cannot relay, nor can I begin to do justice to is the wordplay and humor that permeate this book. There are 35 chapter headings, so space does not permit citing them, but let me choose one as an exemplar of all: "Naming Your God: A Myth is as Good as a Smile." The combination of nimble wit and reverence of intent evident in these chapters is irresistible. This is a scholarly work, leaning on Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy and dealing with a number of parapsychology topics, especially survival of death, as well as religion. Anyone who has wondered about God (and who has not) owes it to him or herself to compare notes with this nimble-witted naturally grown mage!

Publisher Information:Walpole, NH: Stillpoint Publishing, 1985. 303p. Chap. notes: 265-303; 2 figs; 2 tables
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