Monday, February 21, 2011

CSFF Tour Day 1 - The God Haters

I hate God, and you too!
I had one of *those* professors.

You know, one of those college PhD's who enjoyed destroying the faith of unsuspecting freshmen coming to college with their parents' religion shackled to them like mental bungie cords, holding them back from truly learning in the world of higher learning. (See, you can tell by that sentence that I'm a college graduate!)

The only problem for Dr. Bob Anderson is that I didn't take him as a freshmen.

I would have done fine if I had. I'd done enough study into my own faith to shore it up. But I took him as a senior majoring in biology, taking the long put-off Botany 101 that I was hoping to avoid by getting into the physician assistant program before I had to take some rabbit classes (you know, botany, ecology - all the plant stuff). I'd also spent 9 months in YWAM's School of Biblical Studies, so I wasn't worried when I showed up to the first day of class and Dr. Anderson was at the podium (he wasn't supposed to teach it, but they must have needed a switch, since he was an entomologist).

He required us to buy his own little screed in addition to our botany textbook. He spent six weeks discussing his philosophy of science and learning, while spending less than one full lecture on photosynthesis (which seems to be a fairly important biochemical reaction, but whatever dude). It was quite frustrating, but it didn't shake me up at all. It was my main experience with this common college happenstance.

This leads us to this month's feature book, The God Hater by Bill Myers. The book features such an atheistic professor, Nicholas Mackenzie, who delights in tearing down religion and showing it for the farce he believes it to be. He's a cranky curmudgeon who is only really close to sweet Annie Brooks, another professor who happens to be a Christian, and her young son Rusty.

He is estranged from his computer genius brother Travis, but he gets a cryptic message from him asking for help. It seems that Travis has managed to create a true artificial intelligence, with a computer world filled with about 1000 denizens who keep wiping each other out in simulation after simulation. Travis needs his philosphical brother to create a worldview that will allow the simulation to proceed with a foundation that will keep them from obliterating each other. The key part is that their free will must be kept intact, or it will be no better than the programmers telling their creation what to do.

While the Mackenzies wrestle with their philosophical dilemna, it seems Travis has had to do some questionable hacking to rustle up enough computer power to keep this "super-secret" project going - and some people are interested enough in the outcome of this experiment that they are willing to use Annie and Rusty as leverage against Nicholas.

As they dodge the guys in black suits, Nicholas is failing in his attempts to influence the program's inhabitants to follow a simple, materialistically-devised philosophy. Maybe if he has a digital avatar go and explain the rules of life to the simulations, he will have better success...

And with that, I leave you for my review of the book tomorrow. But check out my tourmates below for more discussion and other antics.

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson


  1. Love your review and how you left part 2 at a cliff hanger so we have to wait to see how it turns out with the digital avatar. Thanks for sharing your review with us on this tour!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  2. Great to hear your experience, Jason. I know a lot of students head off to college unprepared to face the attack on their faith. Thank God He prepared you!