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

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9780979388002: A Secret of the Universe: A Story of Love, Loss, and the Discovery of an Eternal Truth
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This is the story of two high-school pals from the Midwest for whom a personal tragedy sets in motion a journey of inquiry that spans a lifetime of cruel and glorious twists, and culminates in an astonishing discovery. 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. As emotional and hopeful as it is hard-hitting and brutally honest, Gibson's dramatic allegory is fundamentally about beliefs. It's about how we come to form "knowledge" about the big questions in life: God, sexual ethics, morals, political ideology--even which medical treatments we will choose to fight our cancers. More importantly, it's about how those beliefs affect our actions, our lives, and the world around us! Told through two friends' struggle to make sense of life's triumphs and tragedies--which they interpret through very different religious filters--A Secret of the Universe is both a mirror through which each of us can view our human fallibility, and an illuminating path out of the dogmatism and violence that ail us.

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About the Author:

Stephen L. Gibson has been a successful entrepreneur, corporate pilot, consultant, elected school official, and community volunteer. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, however, his nascent fascination with the origins of human belief and knowledge --epistemology-- grew into a journey of introspection and inquiry that has been both invigorating and painful. Thousands of people have come to share Steve's journey of discovery through his candid writings, DVDs, and netcasts.

Review:

Lifelong friends Ian and Bill begin life down the path of Midwestern middle class marriage, family, jobs, and neighborhoods. Then, tragic events push Bill deep into the comfort zone of his family and Christian fundamentalism, while Ian takes off on a quest for truth, examining all beliefs through the lens of reason. A rift in the friendship grows into a chasm as Ian delves into an endeavor that may detonate the foundation of Christianity.

Through his employer, Ian meets a group of scholars who open a door to knowledge that both stuns and captivates. This path of inquiry is hidden in plain sight, known by some historians and biblical scholars, yet concealed from the public by academic reluctance to spotlight such a provocative theory without comprehensive proof. It is Ian who spearheads the task of bringing together scientists and theologians to assemble proof for the theory that one character describes as "revealing a secret of the universe."

Ian's questions, however, lead him to reveal just how out of step he is with his Midwestern community. "At some point, I just need to stop letting people believe I'm still the guy they've always known," he says. Though the cost of Ian's quest is apparent to others ("These guys must have a death wish") he is not self-reflective, driving himself to see the project through to the end. The bonds of friendship and community draw the two friends together again when the shadow side of faith sends the world into chaos, and an even deeper secret emerges.

Author Gibson takes the hard questions head-on and weaves multiple points of view, including the omniscient storyteller, allowing the reader enough distance to step out of the story and dig into the references in the back of the book. In fact, several characters are actual researchers and theologians, set in fiction. Fans of Gibson's nonfiction release, Truth-Driven Thinking, will recognize the author's dedication to the quest for truth, and many readers who delight in a well-researched cautionary tale might find themselves dog-earing pages and taking notes as they enjoy the story. (August)--Carol Lynn Stewart



With very little of the world's headlines making sense to those millions who read or watch them, this novel or story form of addressing the glue that holds people's perceptions together is a healthy start toward healing. ... [The book] is thoughtful, challenging, and provides some good scholarship as practiced today as a bait for the author's very worthwhile truth-driven thinking. It will doubtless cause debate: it will hopefully provoke some thoughtful changes. --Grady Harp, one of Amazon's elite Top 10 Reviewers!

It is a story about ... the most important secret the world could discover. ... The writing is tight and brilliantly executed. ... I dare readers to pick up this book and read it with an open mind. You won't be sorry. I wholeheartedly recommend A Secret of the Universe. --Heather Froeschl, author, editor, and book reviewer, Bookideas.com

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