God.online – Faith Connections and Internet Metaphors
An Author Interview with James Wetherbe, PhD
By Lisa M. Hendey
In his book god.online: Seeking God in the 21st Century (Mead Publishing, October 2003, paperback, 137 pages), author and Information Technology professor James Wetherbe, PhD gives skeptics practical metaphors to assist them in the quest for spiritual truth. Wetherbe’s book abounds with technological references, giving documentation to his own exploration of life’s most important questions. The book looks at some of the most challenging questions about life and death, the existence of God, and faith topics.
The book begins with four pivotal questions and attempts to aid the reader, not only in answering the questions, but also in deepening his own “God online” connection. Wetherbe reflects in the book’s conclusion that “Seeking is a magnificent lifetime journey.” For the many who find themselves at any point along the expedition towards an active and rich faith life, god.online would be an excellent map and reference manual with which to enjoy the trip. In the following interview, Wetherbe discusses god.online and the importance of making your own connection.
Q: A special thank you to James Wetherbe, PhD, author of god.online, for
your participation in this Book Spotlight interview. Dr. Wetherbe, please
share with our readers your background as an author and educator.
A: I have served on the faculty at the University of Houston, University of
Minnesota, University of Memphis and Texas Tech University. Industry experience
includes Computing and Software Inc., NCR, Tenneco, and CSC.
Q: For our readers who have not yet read god.online, would you please
briefly summarize the book.
A: The book is written for the strong willed, spiritually challenged skeptic
who struggles with the true existence of God. The title is based upon an
Internet metaphor. A personal computer has a great deal of ability but by
connecting to the Internet its ability is exponentially enhanced. This connection
can be wireless, so there is no physical evidence of being connected other
than the access to information and processing previously not available.
Similarly, we as human have a great deal of ability, but when we connect to God,
wirelessly, we have access to wisdom and guidance that was previously not
available to us.
The book provides evidence of and guidance for getting online with God. The
book uses a faith/logic approach to seeking God that is based upon what the
reader has/can experience and reason for themselves. The book illustrated
how faith is both logical and rewarding.
Q: Coming from the world of academia and technology, it seems odd that you
would take on the subject of proving God's existence. What prompted you to
write this book and who is your intended audience?
A: Because the most important questions of life center on God and His
existence. These were issues that troubled and challenged me most of my life,
especially after my best friend suddenly died at age 18.
The field of computer technology taught me to be disciplined and logical in
my thinking. Being a professor taught me to be scientific and skeptical in
my thinking (which is why so many academics are atheists). I needed to
resolve my faith issues in the rigorous way I had learned to think. I would pray
to God, I want to believe but my brain works against me. Through time and
patience, God helped me resolve my faith issues. The book is documentation of
what I learned.
Q: As a lifelong believer, I've always assumed that faith in God was
ultimately a giant "leap", not something that could actually empirically be
proven but my husband, a physician, is much more into the logical reasoning
behind believing. Can we really actually ever "prove" one of life's
A: In my experience men are more skeptical of God. Women seem to have a
greater intuitive sense of faith. I wish I weren't so stubborn. I believe you can
empirically arrive at faith in God. Empirical means experiential or based
upon experience. Once you experience a sense of God -- seeing your child
being born -- you can truly work towards an online connection. Once you respond
to His guidance, which is usually contrary to your own will, God reveals more
of Himself to you. That is part of the experience that is convincing.
Q: I love the technological analogies you use in your book! Why do you
feel that the computer paradigm works so well when describing building and
nurturing a personal relationship with God?
A: First Christ was a great user of metaphor for teaching. He used the wind to
illustrate the Holy Spirit. You can't physically see it, but you can see the effect of it.
For many, the concept of an omnipresent, invisible God that can be reached
worldwide by everyone is a real intellectual stretch. If I had told people of
the Internet 30 years ago that would not likely believe me. But here is
this man-made marvel. That people were talking about "wireless" connection to
God through prayer thousands of years ago seems incredibly reasonably and
insightful in that context.
Q: What message do you hope to spread with god.online?
A: I just want to help those who struggle with faith with an approach that is
based upon logic and reasoning. Both seem important to many in their faith
search today. A consequence of the high tech 21st century is people think
differently. That is why the Internet metaphor seems to fit the times.
Q: Dr. Wetherbe, author of god.online, thank you again for your time and
participation in this interview. Are there any last thoughts you'd like to
share with our readers?
A: God.online relies heavily on the promise made throughout the Bible -- seek
and you will find. It has to be heartfelt seeking, but God keeps his promise.
Perhaps this book can help you or those you care about in seeking. If not,
don't stop seeking, just find another bridge to help you make the most
important connection of life.
For more information on god.online: Seeking God in the 21st Century visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883096030/digitalcropper-20
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including http://www.catholicmom.com and http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic fiction and non-fiction.
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