Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: One Man's Search...Could Also Be Yours...

The percentage of people in North America who ...Image via Wikipedia
Religion - No Religion in US
A Higher Court:

One Man's Search for the Truth of God's Existence

By John L. Betcher

As a reader, I always chose books I wanted to read; as a reviewer, however, I began to read books that I might not ever have considered. At another time, I will write about some of those. For now, I would admit that if I had not been asked, I would not have bought A Higher Court.

Why? Just because I had already read so many and I already had the answer:

I know that I know that I know God's Lives. Note that I don't say that He exists. I knew that as a child. But then life begins and you learn and experience and for some, we used the words, we are born again. John L. Betcher did, however, create a superbly imaginative approach to this ages old question. He introduces us to William Kensey.

A Higher Court: One Man's Search for the Truth of God's ExistencePerhaps Kensey is a peer of the author, who is also an attorney. Or perhaps they went to the same church or worked on some of the same cases, as opposing counsel. It might even be possible that William Kensey is a fictitious name by which the author is sharing his own story. It really doesn't matter.

If you are still asking the question, does God Exist, as millions today are still asking, then A Higher Court is an exciting, innovative story that I highly recommend to you.

Perhaps, however, you do accept God exists, but you've never been able to understand the "why" of things--why is there so much pain, why so many natural disasters, why this person or that person died so young, why do people do such hurtful things if they believe in God... In my opinion there is also much to learn from this book.

Or, you may be devout and very active in your church--committed to the beliefs taught only in that institution and you have no interest in interacting or reading about the beliefs of others. To you, I would encourage the book as a must-read.

For, you see, William Kensey, a successful trial attorney, has been asked to serve on a jury. A jury that will finally decide whether God exists. By the time he begins to really accept that he will be on the other side of the jury box, he is there, watching a case handled like no other. Rules that are normally followed are totally ignored--the jury is larger for one thing. And they seem to have been preselected. Even more interesting is the environment--most of the trial is conducted in the dark, with spotlights used only to designate the lawyer and his witness, the judge; sometimes there is an entire scene, such as when a woman is giving birth, to which the jury has become a witness to the births (twins).

The main thing that is different, though, is that the jury is sent into deliberation during the trial and so the individual jurists are encourage to meet and discuss the evidence being presented.

As you would expect, one advantage of the book is that both sides of the argument are presented. Many of the books I have read present only one side so that you are forced to either agree or disagree with the author. Here, expert witnesses are provided as are witnesses that have personal opinions about the question. Actually, you might find yourself as one of the characters--or, like me, you will see that you have "slices" of those thoughts that you can remember from your own life. In fact, William Kensey found that he was perhaps more on the fence than he had realized...

And, if you read my review carefully, you will note that I somewhat contradict my own position. I believe, but I still have those questions that so many have: Why was my father killed before I was born, Why would men within a religious institution become abusive to children and others...and so on. God gave us an intellect to seek information, and we perhaps will always ask why. But William Kensey? Well, let's just say that the ending was something that was different from what I expected--quite different. So different that it is that which will remain with me. And it is for that ending, I thank John L. Betcher.

There are not many in the United States that openly state that they are not religious (according to the above map). But, many of us know, being religious, is not necessarily the answer we are searching for. If you have a small percentage, a slice of doubt or much that bothers you about accepting God exists, then I believe A Higher Court could be a challenge for you. Are you willing to serve on the jury?

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