Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding God in the Questions

Chapter 3:  How Did We Get Here?

1.  Have you ever had experiences in which God seemed to be speaking to you through nature, mathematics, science, music or art?  How did these experiences affect your belief in God?

2.  Johnson describes various "cosmic coincidences" that are particular conditions required for the existence of life.  Do you think that all of these special circumstances could be the result of chance?  Why or why not?

3.  Johnson points out the complex interactions in our environment that support life, and how water, light, carbon and oxygen all have structures that specifically allow for human existence.  In addition, DNA is unique in its ability to replicate human life.  What might this tell us about the existence of God and humans' place in the universe?

4.  Johnson postulates that perhaps the fact that you are thinking right now about the origin of the universe suggests the existence of a divine Mind behind it all.  The ability to reason and wonder about grand matters like this goes beyond our need to physically survive.  Do you think the similarity between the order in your mind and the order in the universe suggests the existence of God?

5.  Do you think that nature alone gives enough evidence for the existence of a creator God, or are more signs needed?

6.  What things in nature do you personally observe that suggest they came from one source?

7.  Do signs of intelligent design in the universe affect how you live your life?  How so?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finding God in the Questions

Chapter 2: Is the Universe an Accident?

1.  Have you ever had an experience that made you marvel in wonder and awe at the beauty and vastness of the universe?

2.  The first section of the book deals with the question of whether the universe was more likely made by a "creator God" or the result of alone.  Why do you think Johnson chose to tackle this question first?  Have questions concerning the beginning of the world ever been an obstacle to belief in your own life?  How so?

3.  In this chapter, Johnson discusses why he thinks the universe was made by an "intelligent" creator.  What are your own thoughts in response to this claim?

4.  Which, if any, of the scientific discoveries Johnson discusses do you consider to be a persuasive pointer to the existence of a creator God?

5.  What do you think about Johnson's arguments against the position that the world came to exist entirely by chance?

6.  Do you agree that the issue of how life came from dead chemicals and materials is "the most unfathomable phenomenon of all?"  Can Darwinian science (and science in general) adequately account for this reality?

7.  The concept of natural selection might seem to many people like a roadblock to belief in an intelligent designer behind the universe; however, Johnson does not view natural selection as an obstacle.  How might natural selection be a part of a universe designed by God rather than one run entirely by chance?

8.  How can science support and enrich a person's belief in a creator God?  What role has scientific knowledge played in your own spiritual journey?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finding God in the Questions

Chapter 1:  Why do the Questions Keep Coming?

1.  No matter what our age, Johnson attests that we all have "big questions," and they keep coming back.  What comes to mind when you hear the term "big questions," and what are the "big questions" in your life that would like answered?

2.  During times of transition, our questioning often intensifies.  Think about a time of change in your life.  How did it help you to focus on big questions?

3.  What answers appeared during this intense time of questioning?  How have those answers and questions affected where you are today spiritually?

4.  Johnson thinks that intellectual and spiritual doubts aren't enemies; instead, these kinds of doubts are important companions on the journey to truth.  Do you agree with this view on doubt?  Has doubt ever helped you in your spiritual quest?

5.  Johnson discusses how his upbringing in a strong Christian family influenced his beliefs.  What part has your family played in your belief system?

6.  What events or people have you encountered in your life that have changed your beliefs? In your opinion, were these changes positive positive or negative?

7.  Johnson claims that the following two beliefs are foundational to his spiritual journey: everyone is capable of knowing God, and God is the creator of all types of truth, not just religious truth at one particular time or place.  What is his rationale for holding these beliefs?  Do you agree with them?  Why or why not?