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On November 1, I had an opportunity to speak with Mike McHargue. We discussed Mike’s latest book, “Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith And Found It Again Through Science”.
Mike McHargue (better known as Science Mike) is the best-selling author of Finding God in the Waves, host of Ask Science Mike and co-host of The Liturgists Podcast. He’s a leading voice on matters of science and religion with a monthly reach in the hundreds of thousands. Among other outlets, Mike has written for RELEVANT, Don Miller’s Storyline, BioLogos, and The Washington Post.
You can learn more about Mike at MikeMchargue.com.
“Finding God in the Waves” is a story of having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science-revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology helps us understand God, faith, and ourselves.
I am excited to share some of our discussion.
Who is your book written for?
My book is written for doubters. However, I am finding that my book is appealing to Christians because it allows them to see how atheists feel. I am also finding my book is appealing to Atheists in that it helps them better understand Christians.
You mention in your book, “After praying, I decided to start a spreadsheet on which I could keep track of verses that seemed to hold contradictions.”
Do you ever look back at this list? How large was this list?
I had at least a thousand contradictory verses. I realized these same lists were online. I stopped duplicating my work. I have not looked at my lists recently. I am a lot more comfortable with the Bible the way it is.
You mention in your book, “If you’ve never studied astronomy, you may not realize that the sky is a time machine.” I love your analogy.
Space is vast. We cannot look back earlier than 380,000 years after the birth of the universe. When we look into the sky we see things that no longer exist.
Explain to me what it means when we say the universe is expanding.
The universe is expanding. The space between galaxies is expanding. The shape of the universe is flat and expanding forever. Suppose you are making raison bread. The bread is the universe and the raisons are the galaxies. As the bread rises, the space between the raisons increases.
You mention, “Our churches will never be healthy as long as those experiencing doubt feel they have to hide”. How do we change this?
They must pass the ‘knock’ test. We must remove the fences. The barriers of exclusion must be knocked down. We can’t push people away.
Mike, you mention the following mystical experiences:
“I was here when you were eight, and I’m here now.”
“I felt God with me, in me and through me.”
“Through God I felt connected to everyone else, all of humanity. And then to all of life on earth.”
What do you say to those who have never had a mystical experience? Why do some people have them and some do not? What is mystic?
A mystic is not out of bounds in science. Science does not rule it out. Science supports that some people have a natural pre-disposition to mysticism through practice. Anyone can increase their propensity to have mystical experiences through a practice such as centering prayer.
A mystic is someone who believes God can be experienced but not defined through languages. A mystic is someone who sits with God. No words are spoken. They simply sit with the experience and let it change them.
How do you pray? What forms of prayer do you practice?
I mostly practice centering prayer. I have been practicing centering prayer for 4 years. I practice Lectio Divina on a daily basis. I practice Ignatian spirituality where I place myself in the Scripture. I do practice intercessory prayer from time to time.
I believe in the Trinity. God is the source of all. God is unchanging. God is Being itself. Christ is the incarnate part of the Trinity that draws people to God. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ issues the open invitation. The Holy Spirit dwells within. The Trinity is the ground of my faith.
Christ/Holy Spirit are enmeshed in our reality. They are personal and with us but also a great mystery. Scripture paints this picture
You mention, “As humans we experience space-time as a series of moments, with some in the past, some in the future and one special, fleeting moment called now. God’s perspective has to encompass space-time not as a series of moments, as we see them but as an interconnected set of coordinates that always exists.”
What do you mean by this?
God’s perspective must be so different. It can hardly be called a perspective. We see sequentially. The universe is not sequential. It does not seem to operate in this manner. God is timeless.
You mention, “Science gives us facts. Faith gives us meaning.”
How do you suggest people use faith and science together?
I let science win the fact arguments. But faith gives me meaning. Faith is the glue that holds it all together. Faith gives me a sense of belonging. It gives me hope. Love is the basic reality of our existence because God is love. We find God through love.
What might your next book cover?
It will be a look at what Paul said through the lens of neuroscience.
Thank you so much for talking with me today! Thank you for the great work you do!
Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue (Listen to this book for Free when you try Audible with a 30-day free trial.)
Centering Prayer as a Way of Life by Contemplative Outreach, Pamela Begeman, Mary Anne Best, Julie Saad: In this, the third offering of this year’s trilogy on Centering Prayer, we will explore how the practice of Centering Prayer evolves into a surrendered life of inner peace and equanimity despite the busy and often tumultuous circumstances of daily life in the 21st century. As the inner room begins to expand its walls beyond the twice-daily practice of Centering Prayer, the Spirit takes over our life more and more, and we begin to accept ourselves just as we are, God as God is, and all reality as it is. From this disposition of true humility, enlarged under the influence of God’s grace, we live in the Kingdom of God here and now, which is a state of consciousness ever-attentive to the presence of God in the midst of ordinary life.
Centering Prayer as Practice and Process by Contemplative Outreach, Pamela Begeman, Mary Anne Best, Julie Saad: If you are new to Centering Prayer or wishing to renew your practice, this retreat will assist you with deepening your relationship with God. We will focus on teaching and practicing the method of Centering Prayer; review its place in the Christian tradition, its conceptual background, and psychological process; and share insights into establishing Centering Prayer as a way of life.
Lean In, Lighten Up and Let Go Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative Life by Contemplative Outreach, Mary Dwyer: This retreat encourages a life of prayer and practice, both “on the chair” and in daily life. It will support you in making a deeper commitment to your relationship with God, and strengthen your ability to live the contemplative life through dedication to prayer and practice, all within the normal routines of everyday life.
Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker Palmer , Eckhart Tolle , Michael Singer , Jon Kabat-Zinn , Marianne Williamson to name a few.
Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.
Prayer-Bracelet: Authentic Orthodox prayer ropes and bracelets are handmade by monks in the Orthodox monastaries reciting a prayer for every knot they tie. Peruse their prayer ropes and bracelets that are all handmade, provided by several orthodox churches around the globe.
Centering Prayer Course: A Training Course for Opening to the Presence of God – Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.