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God, Love, Meaning of life, Agape, Existentialism, Materialism, Freedom
Freedom All The Way Up
God and the Meaning of Life in a Scientific Age
Christian J. Barrigar
Freedom All The Way Up proposes four intertwined elements that make up the meaning of life—self-worth, purpose, identity, and hope. Materialism (atheism) claims the universe has no meaning, so there is no larger purposeful story into which we can place ourselves—we are left on our own to construct meaning for our lives. Barrigar argues, though, that the universe possesses God’s meaning and purpose—to provide the space and conditions by which to bring about the existence of agape-capable beings in agape-loving relationships with God and with others. In effect, the universe is a great ‘freedom system’ designed by God with freedom built in ‘all the way up’, from the Big Bang to the emergence of big brains and free will. Barrigar describes the emergence of this system through his novel agape/probability account of God’s design for the universe, which integrates such disciplines as quantum physics, statistical mechanics, probability theory, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and game theory. This system sets up the conditions for a fundamental choice between autonomous freedom, which focuses principally on self, and agapic freedom, which focuses principally on God and on others. Materialism chooses autonomous freedom, but thereby introduces nihilism into each of the elements of meaning. In turns out that nihilism is a much greater problem for Materialism than suffering is for Theism. In contrast, agapic freedom infuses self-worth, purpose, identity, and hope with God’s agape-love, dispelling Materialism’s inherent nihilism. Freedom All The Way Up provides a dramatic new proposal for God and the meaning of life in our scientific and humanist age.
“Agape love—that's the answer. What's the question? It's the question of the meaning of your life and mine connected to the meaning of the entire universe. In order for us to experience love with God and with one another, God first created a universe to make it happen. This book asks the right question and provides a most exciting answer.”—Ted Peters, PhD; Co-editor, Theology and Science; Professor Emeritus, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA
“This is a beautifully written and invaluable book for our time: a book of philosophical analysis that is easily accessible to the non-philosopher, with rigorous scientific underpinnings that are easily accessible to the non-scientist. I found myself excited to read about ideas and explanations that had been formlessly lurking in my deep mental recesses and to see them brought to light in one-after-another ‘Aha!’ moment as I read. In this period of controversy about the role of science and philosophy in theological interpretation, and in this day of uncertainty about the meaning of life, of human existence, and the nature of God, this book fills a gap with love, joy, and enthusiasm.” —Sy (Seymour) Garte, PhD (CUNY); Division Director (Retired), Physiological and Pathological Sciences, National Institutes of Health; former Professor of Biochemistry, Rutgers University and University of Pittsburgh
“If anyone doubts that philosophy, modern science, and historic Christian faith can be fully integrated into a magnificently coherent whole, then they need to read Freedom All the Way Up. Written in a strikingly clear style and with a winsome spirit, Barrigar opens readers to a wide range of new and exciting insights that will be sure to stimulate fruitful discussion for years to come. I found his engagement with psychology and neuroscience particularly helpful. This is a book that will be valued by both academic specialists and anyone interested in the integration of Christianity with modern scholarship. I highly recommend this book.—Denis Lamoureux, DDS, PhD PhD; Professor of Religion and Science, St Joseph’s College, University of Alberta
“Barrigar's book is written from a rich mind and a deep heart. His approach to the relationship between science and religion is creative and honest, his commitment to seeing the world through the double lens of love and hope is exactly what the world needs, and his efforts to explain how the Christian faith brings meaning to our lives are first rate. I highly recommend this book for college courses and for anyone interested in how to think like a Christian about science and love.”—Mark Mcleod-Harrison, PhD; Professor of Philosophy, George Fox University
“Among the many extant attempts to defend the complementarity of faith and scientific rationality, none have so elegantly developed an argument for Purpose in the Universe as Barrigar’s ‘agape/probability account.’ Here we have a treatise which proposes, with consummate clarity and appreciation for both rigor and the scientific method, that purpose in the universe exists within the brain of Homo sapiens, and that the most plausible explanation for the existence of purposeful brain-states is that a Divine Being has brought them about. In support of this claim, the author brings a significant new dimension to the discussion by integrating Christian theism with an exploration of widely disparate scientific fields, all of which, as a non-scientist, he seemingly has a masterful grasp. Not only does Barrigar provide support for his arguments by an unusually-broad array of excellent references to the academic literature in science, philosophy, and theology, he also has a gift for expressing them with a clarity that makes this work so approachable and highly readable for both the specialist and non-specialist.” —Peter E. Braun, PhD; Professor Emeritus, Biochemistry and Neurology, McGill University, Montreal
“With this book, Barrigar boldly takes the science/faith discussion into new territory. Conversant in cosmology and quantum physics, biology and neuroscience, game theory and sociology, this book not only provides a fresh perspective on integrating our understanding of modern science with Christian theology, it also provides an incisive critique of secularism and its underlying philosophical premises. If you want to be provocatively stimulated on life’s ultimate meaning and its relationship to science, philosophy, and theology, this is the book for you.” —Robert Mann, PhD; Professor of Physics and Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo; Affiliate Member, the Perimeter Institute
“Exceptionally well written with excellent logic and rigor...Barrigar takes a constructive approach to the Faith-vs- Science divide, fairly presenting the views of both sides of the question, while clearly putting forth his view that the creation of agape-seeking and agape-capable beings is the purpose of the Universe. As a research scientist in the field of polymer physical chemistry, I find the scientific arguments well laid-out, and are true to established scientific thinking. Barrigar has clearly given absolute respect to the scientific process and refused to allow pseudo-science to take hold…The book combines theology, philosophy, and science seamlessly. [Moreover,] one of the highest compliments I can give this book is that it also appeals to the heart and the spirit.” —Basil Favis, PhD; Professor of Polymer Chemistry and Thermodynamics, Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal / Université de Montréal
Chris Barrigar is Pastor of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in philosophy from McGill University, Montreal. Prior to pastoring Chris taught and/or supervised at the graduate level for a number of Canadian, Indian, and British institutions. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Christian Philosophers, and the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science.
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