Maths/Christian books Watch

sarahb
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#1
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I'm not really sure where to post this, but here seemed good! I’m looking to buy a few books on maths and Christianity. I was given one called, 'Mathematics in a Post-modern Age ~ A Christian Perspective', and thoroughly enjoyed the read. Does anyone know of any similar books that are worth reading? Thanks!
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jb_sweden
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Uhm... mathematics and religion has really nothing to do with eachother. Mathematics is an abstract and general discipline for problem solving and method development. It is free from any statements about the real or abstract world. Don't confuse mathematics with physics or any other applications.

So, what's the connection? What is that book you mentioned about?
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sarahb
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I disagree; I think that maths and religion can be very closely linked, depending on how you view both religion and mathematics. However I see your point and where you’re coming from.

The book discusses philosophical issues in mathematics. It looks at how one can examine maths from a Christian perspective. Granted, a lot of the book concentrates on exploring these philosophical issues and providing the reader with mathematical research and background, however the parts in which a Christian perspective is introduced are fascinating and extremely interesting to read.

The book is written by a collection of authors, therefore a variety of beliefs are introduced (however are all branches of Christianity). As a result, certain parts of the book and theories, I was left questioning. I can’t stand and say that the book was fantastically theologically correct. I recognised several flaws within the book; however for me this made the book even more exciting! (In the sense that I was able to go away and do further research into certain issues and areas in which I did not entirely agree with the author. As a result, it increased my knowledge of both Maths and Christianity.)

The main theory which I was partial to was one where it demonstrates that there is actually no more certainty in mathematics than in Christianity, since in certain areas of maths we constantly use unsupported hypotheses (as much as in any science), and a large part of Christianity is based on faith.

The book introduced several connections between maths and Christianity, some of which I agreed, some of which I thought were a load of crap! But the sheer fact that one attempted to explore and explain these links intrigued me. And as a result lead me searching for other books on a similar topic.
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Lauren Hart
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theres a few christian book shops about the show, olsensomething or somethingolsen, cant remember now, if you do a search on ebay for something like "songs of fellowship" they sell them on there i know that, and you can get to their website that way. They have some really good stuff, dunno if they do what you want, but you can but look.
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sarahb
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thanks lauren
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tommorris
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I don't know about mathematics and Christianity, but I read "Finding Darwin's God" a while back by Kenneth R. Miller from Brown University - he really rips the Intelligent Design arguments apart from his perspective as a biologist, but then says a lot of - what I find to be nonsensical, but others may find interesting - stuff about God and quantum mechanics.
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sarahb
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thanks for the suggestion tom - sounds interestin! i will look out for that book
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avast!
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(Original post by sarahb)
The main theory which I was partial to was one where it demonstrates that there is actually no more certainty in mathematics than in Christianity, since in certain areas of maths we constantly use unsupported hypotheses (as much as in any science), and a large part of Christianity is based on faith.
Yeah, but by that argument mathematics is no more certain than my unsupported hypothesis that there is a seven-headed goat named Cedric living under my bed. I think most mathematicians (and atheists) would object here that even if one isn't completely certain about something (because it is not completely supported), a distinction can be drawn between a poorly-supported and a well-supported hypothesis.

Haven't read the book, but if by unsupported hypothesese it means to point to stuff arising from the incompleteness theorem (and simmilar observations that mathematics is not a perfect system), then that's even worse. If the completeness of any logical system is inversely proportional to it's coherence, then God is either incomplete, contains inconsistencies, or is not a logical system. Neither of the two are really compatible with Christianity (which maintains the perfection of God), but they are compatable with mathematics.

Bloody postmodernists
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sarahb
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(Original post by avast!)
If the completeness of any logical system is inversely proportional to it's coherence, then God is either incomplete, contains inconsistencies, or is not a logical system. Neither of the two are really compatible with Christianity (which maintains the perfection of God), but they are compatable with mathematics.
We as humans, in reality, are completely dumb compared to God. Our brains are tiny compared to his, and when we think we finally know something about God, we are not even close most of the time... ie. He is far greater that we could ever know and understand! When we say we 'know' God, we don't as such... we only have a TINY glimpse of him, there is so much more to him that we could ever imagine. I believe that if we knew God completely, our small brains would explode!!! So, with that in mind, going back to your point, in our ignorance, to us, God can appear not to be a logical system... purely due to the fact that we do not understand it all, not even slightly. And to say that God is imcomplete or contains inconsistencies, is again, down to the fact that we simply don't understand, we have a lack of knowledge. Hence the fact that sometimes we have to draw conlusions and theories on faith, and faith alone. So, these three ideas are compatable with Christianity if we look at it from a human perspective. However, we also need to know that in reality it isnt the case, and it is simply due to our ignorance that we view it this way.
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Gravastar
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Thank you so much for polluting the Literature forums with your own particular brand of inane theology.
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sarahb
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I asked a simple question; if anyone knew of a similar book, but was then challenged on the original book itself, so I explained why I enjoyed it. I was then further challenged on the reasons behind why I was partial to certain theories. I am sorry if i caused any offence in any way.
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NathanL
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Now now, Gravastar.

No need to get uppity

The woman meant well. Hold yourself in now. Take some breaths. Drink some water. Head to your bum. Breeeeathe...

(Hope you're well by the way Grava, long time no 'see'...)
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Gravastar
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(Original post by NathanL)
Head to your bum.

(Hope you're well by the way Grava, long time no 'see'...)
That would be a feat and a half...

And yes thanks, I'm pretty well - had to get away from the religion forum though; life is too short. How's apologetics treating you?
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avast!
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just to clarify, i'm not having a go at you sarahb or anything... i'm just trying to spark a discussion about the book.

welll... more about ideas in the book that I think are interesting....
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avast!
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(Original post by sarahb)
We as humans, in reality, are completely dumb compared to God. Our brains are tiny compared to his, and when we think we finally know something about God, we are not even close most of the time... ie. He is far greater that we could ever know and understand! When we say we 'know' God, we don't as such... we only have a TINY glimpse of him, there is so much more to him that we could ever imagine. I believe that if we knew God completely, our small brains would explode!!! So, with that in mind, going back to your point, in our ignorance, to us, God can appear not to be a logical system... purely due to the fact that we do not understand it all, not even slightly. And to say that God is imcomplete or contains inconsistencies, is again, down to the fact that we simply don't understand, we have a lack of knowledge. Hence the fact that sometimes we have to draw conlusions and theories on faith, and faith alone. So, these three ideas are compatable with Christianity if we look at it from a human perspective. However, we also need to know that in reality it isnt the case, and it is simply due to our ignorance that we view it this way.
So you're saying that mathematics is both complete and coherent... it's just that we're not sophisticated enough to understand it?
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sarahb
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Yes I think I do! ... In the sense that I believe God knows all and God has control over everything, and we are constantly finding new things out regarding science and mathematics that affect the way we view and apply it. I think that there is completeness and coherence to maths that we are slowly discovering and I think is just a matter of time and patience. I mean, if we go back 200 years, we don’t know half as much as we do now. I think that the more research we do, the more we find out ... in the same way that the more you seek for God the more is revealed. However, whether there is a point in Mathematics where we know all... im not sure. I haven't really considered that!... i think there would be a stage where we got to that point, however, i dont think life is long enough!!!
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NathanL
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(Original post by Gravastar)
That would be a feat and a half...

And yes thanks, I'm pretty well - had to get away from the religion forum though; life is too short. How's apologetics treating you?
lol a feat indeed... I've taken up a bit of MA of late, and stretching has done my back in well and proper.

Anyway.

Tell about it re the religion forum, I have a dissertation to do. And as for apologetics, it's good, but as always it's better to live out my faith helpfully as opposed to just talk about it! So I've been doing bits of charity/social action work recently. Balance it all up you know.

I forget, Grava - are you in uni? I would guess that you were... but either way, how is the academic side of things treating you?

God bless,

Nathan
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silence
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not a bloody clue - i tend to read poetry mostly these days.

that said, fermat's last theorem is a fabulous maths book. although it doesn't really talk about christianity, it does talk about maths in the ancient world and how the views of people like pythagoras weren't congruent with contemporary religious beliefs etc.
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sarahb
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Yeh I've read Fermats Last Theorem, also read The Code Book by Simon Singh... great author
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