Saturday, April 19, 2014

Problem With Louie Giglio the Christian Spokesman for Science

I listed a few problems I felt with Louie Giglio's few talks based around science and faith.

• Problem with his screaming. People talking with raised voice throughout their whole talk are just annoying. No matter what clever things they say, people like that sound stupid. But that's personal. Just lower the volume, Louie, that's all I ask.

• Problem with his patronising Science. Maybe Louie isn't intentionally patronising science. Maybe (and I am sure he does) he has good intentions. But his whole talks still seem like lazy packaging just to push the gospel down audiences' throats.

• Why I say lazy: Because he doesn't have a strong punchline. The biggest problem with Indescribable (one of his talks) is his punchline. He quotes "I love science" about a thousand times. But does he really?

• Problem with his punchline: At the centre of the universe, Hubble telescope found a patch of stars that resembled the cross that Christ died on. According to him, this is a proof that God is the centre of it all. That the entire reason for the existence and massiveness of the universe revolves around Christ and what he achieved on the cross. A little bit of me died out of embarrassment when I heard that punchline. I was watching this with a Hindu friend of mine who is skeptical, particularly against Christianity. Louie Giglio's delusional conclusion that we were hearing loud on TV wasn't helping me fight my case for my faith.

• Problem with the 'cross' they found in the universe: Now, the universe has no north or south, no up or down. So the 'cross' could very well have been shot upside down or sideways. If it was shot and captured upside down, does that mean that the reason for the universe is satanism (upside down cross being the symbol for satanism, etc)? Do you get what I am trying to point out? You cannot pick on any illusion you see on the sky and claim it, and use it for almost propaganda means! That's primitive. It's the principle we wish we left behind before the great reformation a few centuries ago! There is nothing 'science' about that deduction!

• Problem with his material: There are many other material that you could be reading instead. There are many other material that Louie should probably have been reading while doing his research.

• I almost wonder if Louie Giglio is just trying to sound smart, in an attempt to reach a certain target audience, who did nothing more than memorise facts and figures to enthrall what seems to be a very easily impressed audience (that Christians seem to be). At one scene he had a projection of the sun that covered the entire backdrop of the stage. He then held up a golf ball against the projection to prove a point at how small the earth is compared to the sun. The audience then proceeds to oblige him with a hearty applause as though to say, wow, you have done your research, you know these facts, you deserve to be there, you are a smart fellow.
I cannot bear TED talks because they are highly patronising. All they do is sit around and 'exchange' their achievements to get a few pats on their backs and have something to tweet about. Louie Giglio's attempt at a science talk is like a bad TED talk packaged simply to propagate his views.

• Problem with his second punchline, the melanin: Louie says, "The stuff that holds life together looks exactly like the cross on which Jesus died." Apparently melanin (stuff that holds cells together) is shaped like a cross as well. And then he quotes a Bible verse where it says 'in Jesus everything holds together'. All things in creation is made for and by God. That just degrades the power of the scripture in a way that is almost irreversible. Simply because the argument is extremely weak and illogical and kitsch. When you put rotten apples in a bucket of good apples, by default the good apples have lost a lot of it's goodness. When scripture is put side by side with stupidity, audiences cannot be blamed for thinking the scriptures are stupid as well.
You don't need to settle for stupid punchlines like coincidental imagery in nature to prove God's purposefulness in creation.

In conclusion, will I say that atleast people are coming to awareness of God through his talks? Will I say that he is doing good for the church?

Maybe. But they may also have put a hedge in what scientists of the faith have been working on for years. They may have slowed down sensible discussions between faith and science. The whole merchandise has been produced for Christian audience (and I hope they are!) and it doesn't contribute to the attempts to bridge the great divide between logic (and the sciences) and faith.

Another observation: at the beginning of How Great Is Our God talk, he says, we are going to talk to you about astronomy from the pulpit and had a look on his face, as though he was expecting an outrage from the Christian audience for picking such a 'secular' topic. Which goes to show the type of specimen Christians are. To me, astronomy seems the most natural thing to find God in, as do I think of literature and music and principles of other faith – and why wouldn't it be preached about from the pulpit? That it was such an alien topic to hear from the front of the church disappoints me a lot. That someone like Louie Giglio has to be making such a hulabaloo about connecting science with God (ooh, smarty pants preacher we're all getting deep and intellectual up here, aren't we?) instead of it being a natural course of action and mindset is so disappointing. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Missing a World That Never Existed

It's a strange feeling missing a world that never existed – a world of your imagination created for a work of fiction. 

I spent five years or so of my life creating and crafting a small town where my character Elijah Emory went to school and played out his life with his friends Tobias, Tenzin, Melody and Deirdre. As school-kids in a Himalayan hilltown would: by hanging out at the town malls, eating street food, watching the mountains covered in snow, attend classes, attend balls, sports seasons, and so on.

A year or so ago, I decided to give this work a break and focus on other projects. This was because I live in NZ, a world so far away from this imaginary reality that I was struggling to keep it alive. Also I felt disrespectful of the blessing that was of being able to live in NZ by so blatantly dreaming about a place somewhere else. Also I was starting to forget to live my life here in this new country.

Some days, however, I go through withdrawals, or a stark nostalgia for this memory of this imaginary world. When this happens, I feel crumbled inside me, like a knot has been tightened in my stomach. A very tense sense of longing again.

You don't have anyone to talk to, simply because no one else, apart from you, has been there. No one knows the streets enough to talk to about. The people who would know this place are also imaginary, made up fictional characters. And as real as they are (were) to you, they do not talk back to you.

The feelings don't last too long. Because I know one day I will go back to India, if even for a few months just to write and finish this book. It's the one story I will not leave unfinished.