God's Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion
By: Guy Consolmagno Jossey-Bass / 2007 / Hardcover
In God's Mechanics Brother Guy tells the stories of those who identify with the scientific mindset--so-called "techies"--while practicing religion. A full fledged techie himself, he relates some classic philosophical reflections, his interviews with dozens of fellow techies, and his own personal take on his Catholic beliefs to provide, like a set of "worked out sample problems," the hard data on the challenges and joys of embracing a life of faith as a techie. And he also gives a roadmap of the traps that can befall an unwary techie believer. With lively prose and wry humor, Brother Guy shows how he not only believes in God but gives religion an honored place alongside science in his life. This book offers an engaging look at how--and why--scientists and those with technological leanings can hold profound, "unaprovable" religious beliefs while working in highly empirical fields. Through his own experience and interviews with other scientists and engineers who profess faith, Brother Guy explores how religious beliefs and practices make sense to those who are deeply rooted in the world of technology.
Sidestepping the acrimony of recent science vs. religion debates, Consolmagno, a Vatican astronomer and self-described "techie," intends that "demonstrating the existence of a lot of people like me, who flourish as scientists while practicing a religion, should be proof enough that science and religion can be perfectly compatible." Combining personal memoir with conversations within the techie world, Consolmagno describes questions about the universe and the meaning of life that attract techies into religious belief and practice, concluding that "techies are not looking for proof. They're looking for confidence." When he tests his initial hypotheses with a survey project, Consolmagno finds that for many religiously-involved techie types, the value of community and moral support may actually be more important than the search for religious answers. As one atheist interviewee puts it, "You think you are selling truth, but your audience has already brought their own truth with them to church. All you are selling them is tech support." Is this all there is to religion? Certainly not for Brother Guy, who defends a specifically Christian and Catholic version of religious truth. Yet Consolmagno's adroit and self-effacing style defuses any suggestion of theological point-scoring, as in his dryly Dilbertian defense of papal infallibility: "Unlike some of the other bosses I've worked for in my life, this one admits that he's only infallible under certain extremely limited conditions." (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.