Michael Woodhead

A SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE

A Story of Love, Loss, and the Discovery of an Eternal Truth

Stephen L Gibson
Truth Driven Strategies
2007
978-0-9793880-0-2
Religious Fiction

"Ian wants answers his faith can't provide, so he abandons traditional religion and its magic, mysticism, and supernaturalism, turning instead to science and reason. Bill's path has become that of a devoted Christian who sees the bountiful harvest that can be achieved through spirituality and faith. When profound revelations lead each friend to uncover shocking historical 'secrets' in support of his own worldview, their odyssey plays out on a global stage, with tragic consequences. Only by embracing the inherent mystery and pain of their quest do Ian and Bill make the discovery that really matters-a genuine secret of the universe."

I'll have to be honest -- I read this book with mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I already knew what the 'secret' was before I even started reading, and I was interested in seeing how the author approached the subject matter. On the other hand, some of the principles the author was to touch upon were also some that deeply concerned me.

A book which came to mind while reading this was The Hamlet Syndrome: Overthinkers Who Underachieve by Adrienne Miller and Andrew Goldblatt. At the end of that book, they suggested the 'Hamlets' of the world were those who could open the eyes of the world to what was going on around them through espousing such principles as tolerance, curiosity, critical thought and skepticism, associative thinking, and seeing the consequences of actions.

These, and much more, can be seen in this novel of "love, loss, and the discovery of an eternal truth", and I daresay that Stephen Gibson is one of those 'Hamlets'. Using fiction, he takes us into the lives of believers and non-believers, to broach the subjects of religion, sex, philosophy, metaphysics, and other volatile subjects to help the reader see things from alternate perspectives.

Although written primarily for Christians, the material is suited for more spiritually-mature Christians due to some of the adult content, but people of all persuasions, religious or not, will see themselves reflected in some way in the characters of this novel.

One point of contention for me, however, is this -- why do Christians, in novels, always seem to justify or explain virtually everything by quoting scripture? This always makes Christian characters seem like they have no minds of their own, that they never do anything wrong, and that they're better than everyone else. In some ways, this novel seems to talk down to the reader, too; is written very simplistically like many Christian books I've read; and often, it drags on with pages of uninteresting scenes of modern life until it reaches something characters can argue about, discuss, or pontificate upon.

Still, there's so much here to give readers something to think about and meditate on, so it's probably worth your while to grab a copy and see yourself in it.


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