Drawing on intellectual history and conversations with contemporary scientists, philosophers, and psychologists, Lightman asks a series of questions that illuminate our strange place between the world of particles and forces and the world of complex human experience.
The author’s overall thesis seems to involve some mistaken assumptions. The first is that the belief in a neo-platonic soul is essential for faith. True, as early Christianity spread into a world dominated by Greek philosophy, this view of the soul became popular ... Lightman’s second mistaken assumption is that substance dualism is essential to religious ways of understanding personhood ... So, the author’s attempt to justify a merely spiritual rather than religious worldview does not fare well, for the simple reason that modern science has emerged out of a theological womb in which belief in a personal cosmic mind behind all that exists provides the common thread.
Science and spirituality converge in this probing examination of humanity’s connection to the divine ... The prose is reflective and lyrical, and Lightman’s arguments succeed in walking the fine line between honoring spiritual experiences without lapsing into pseudoscience. Thoughtful and intellectually rigorous, this treatise impresses.