Where is Heaven?

Where is Heaven?Where is Heaven? by Phil Bowie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: This book was submitted by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve never read a book before that seemed to be tailor written for me. Or maybe I just never realized there were other skeptical believers out there that had the same questions I did and do. Apparently Phil Bowie did have that realization and he’s given us all a book to be proud of.

I grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly religious. I remember being a Jehovah’s Witness as a child; there are still clear impressions of the kingdom hall and the orange chairs we used to sit on (or that I would get down on the floor and crawl around under). For one reason or other both of my parents were cast out of the congregation through something known as “dis-fellowship”. This happened around my tenth birthday, or so I think, because I don’t remember celebrating any holiday until I was ten years old.

As I grew older I went to church with my grandmother on the Sunday morning of our occasional weekend visit, but I was always stuck in with the Sunday school kids who were all kids I didn’t know. As an introvert, being thrust into that kind of social setting was probably the most awkward of all so I never absorbed much from any of the lessons and if I did it was always to question the logic – or apparent lack thereof – and be met with scorn. So eventually I just shut up.

I’ve always felt, like Bowie, that there was some divine power at work but the Bible and my ideas of spirituality, over years of sampling from different churches and religions, have never met up with success. So imagine my elation when I was handed this book with a request to review it.

Phil Bowie writes with the ease and flair of a well-educated and informed old-timer sitting on his porch telling stories to his children and older grandchildren, explaining his thoughts and feelings about God, Heaven, organized religion and the Bible with unabashed candidness. His factual accuracy adds an element of much needed realism in what is otherwise a pretty abstract concept the world has spent thousands of years wrestling with, warring over, and contemplating.

I appreciated his in-depth examination of the root of organized religion, its purpose and affect on society from ancient to modern times. Laying bare the mysticism and exposing the juxtaposition of a wrathful, vengeful, punishing God with a merciful, loving, unconditionally loving God by taking an objective look at many of the stories and books of the Bible, Bowie questions the merits in taking the Bible literally given all the scientific knowledge we now have at our disposal. Is there a “real” Heaven or Hell and where are they if they do? How does prayer work? How do evolution and creationism science co-exist? Why do we refer only to Darwin’s theory of evolution instead of the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution? Bowie covers all of these topics with admirable aplomb, and sometimes even through light humor to prove the ridiculousness of a particular point.

Taking things a step further, Bowie begs us to consider what influence blind faith accomplishes and what it means for the future of our planet and survival of our species. Having professed to living through several decades, Bowie attests to how society’s values and morals have changed over the years and gives us an honest picture of what the future holds if we do not hold ourselves in check, not by strict adherence to outdated traditions but rather by harnessing our innate goodness – that divine spark that exists with each of us and compels us to achieve greatness, and to preserve our Eden, planet Earth. Exploring topics such as population control, global warming, space travel and the implications of confirmed extraterrestrial life, Bowie draws distinct connections between religion’s potential effects and influence on survival of our species both ill and to the good, many of which were astounding and alarming, each based in irrefutable fact.

I want to thank Phil Bowie for taking the time to thoroughly research each of his many subjects and for the writing of this book. He answered a great many questions I had, and tuned me into a great many more than I never knew I should be asking. This is a book that will stay with me in thought, and be referred back to again and again whenever I find myself engaged in any sort of intellectual conversation or debate on this subject.

A definition “would recommend”, I give Where is Heaven? a maximum rating of 5 stars.

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