For many of us, university is a time of discovery and change, which, coincidentally, are two major themes that Keith Martin addresses in his book, Seismic Shift: From God to Goodness.
In an era where people are beginning to move away from theistic religions, it is necessary to make the argument that Martin pitches in his book: what if God is a personification for something more real and unquestionable in our world? What if God is a metaphor for an ideal that we all strive for: goodness? These are the kinds of questions that readers are exposed to in <em>Seismic Shift</em>, and whether you subscribe to a theistic faith or don’t follow any religion, the book is an eye-opening and insightful read. The book doesn’t mean to dissuade readers of the existence of God. Instead, it is a recollection of a man’s spiritual journey and the events that brought about his change of faith. His experiences are relatable and relevant to today’s world, as Martin mentions the first waver in his faith was during university. He also wavered during the Rwandan Genocide, which we can liken to many of the conflicts today. It is in no way atheistic in nature, since Martin himself describes his faith as post-Christianity, “moving beyond Christianity without denying the life-enhancing values it upholds.” It is quite refreshing that the author draws inspiration in his work from songs and pop culture elements. Perhaps my favourite metaphor brought up by Martin is from <em>The Chronicles of Narnia</em>’s Prince Caspian: “I was struck by how Aslan tells the older children that they are too old to return to Narnia … Instead he says they have outgrown the age when they can experience Narnia directly or literally. In the movie version they are told to take the lessons they’ve learned in The Land of Narnia and apply them in the real world.” For those of us experiencing changes in our faith, Aslan tells us that we don’t have to abandon our faith completely, but instead find elements of it to apply to our everyday-changing world. Today’s world is one full of religious tension, and Martin displays awareness of this fact. Just as other religions have a different name for God, the author attributes God to goodness. He does not seek to replace God with goodness, but instead suggests that they are one and the same — a “moral and spiritual ideal” that people strive to be. Whether it’s God or Allah or goodness, the morals and values we wish to bring into this world through our faiths are equal. Martin initially wrote the book to guide his children in their spiritual journey and to provide a better understanding of his faith — one that his children or many of us might not recognize. But <em>Seismic Shift</em> is self-aware and in some ways revolutionary, offering a unique worldview that many of us may feel we are moving towards. Anyone who is experiencing a rough patch in their faith or has found themselves suddenly rejecting the idea of a higher being can derive insight and inspiration from this book.