Book Review: God Wore Glasses by Thomas G. Papps
by Thomas G. Papps
Kallisti Publishing, 2013
“Is there a God? Is there an afterlife? Are there miracles?” “This is a book that will answer those three questions. More than that, it will answer them in the positive. Even more than that, it will offer proof that there is an afterlife, there is a God, and miracles do indeed happen.”
That’s a lofty claim. Proof of God, an afterlife and miracles? Wow.
What do you think of that? Do you eagerly look forward to reading yet another story of God’s glorious existence? Do you expect to read a touching story that you will be able to explain away as coincidence? Or do you think it’s a bunch of hokum?
Thomas G. Papps expects you to have one of those three reactions to his story of a brush with God, for that is how readers of his early drafts responded. He found that a large majority (90%) believed something religious happened, a smaller number of people (5%) believed the story to be a true account of a series of coincidences that create the illusion of a religious experience, and an equal number (5%) believed the book to be the work of a charlatan.
In his youth, Papps was an atheist and a critic of organized religion. When he experienced a series of uncanny events that could be described as mystical, he responded in the way an atheistic religious critic would: slowly and analytically.
Papps is a retired trial attorney, and he lays out the story of meeting a God who wore glasses and his subsequent analysis of the event as if he were presenting his case to a jury pool. His approach robs the story of some of its charm. In fact, it’s almost difficult to locate the specifics of the actual experience with God from within the nest of preamble, research and argument.
Papps’ experience of the divine took him from “an atheist to an agnostic to a probable believer.” (He reserves some room for doubt because he is still “not prepared to believe in most tenets of any religion.”)
In his examination of the event, Papps discusses evolution, sociology and religion. How you respond to his story will depend on how you respond to the arguments he puts forth. Personally, I didn’t agree with some of his interpretations of Jewish religious history, and while I enjoyed reading his insights into the evolution of angler fish and bombardier beetles, I don’t believe he can quite claim to have proof of the existence of God, the promise of an afterlife or the possibility of miracles—at least not proof that the skeptical 10% would buy into.
If you’re one of the 90% who don’t need proof anyway, you will enjoy a lovely story of a God who wore glasses, and you will find the analysis of the event enlightening. If you are an agnostic or atheist who has had a mystical experience that you can’t explain but can’t forget either, you will find Papps journey from skeptic to believer reassuring. If you think it’s a bunch of hokum, carry on and come back to this someday if you discover a chink in that armour.
I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Kallista Publishing for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.