I finished The Sparrow yesterday, a sci-fi and theology book I borrowed from Melissa F. I was riveted to the story. I've been keeping a Google Doc "Book Notes" log that I've found very rewarding and here are my notes:
- Story was a unique combination of science fiction and theology: party of Jesuits and scientists travel to a different planet.
- Reinforced the complexity, sorrow, suffering, love and beauty of life.
- Author converted to Judaism as an adult and is also a PhD in anthropology. In the notes, she sees no inherent contradiction between science and religion.
- Story set forth view that God most likely steps back after creating world; loves us in our suffering and joy, but doesn't "micromanage" such events.
- Priest thinks he has the following dilemma as he experiences immense, overwhelming suffering and loss: (i) adopt view that the universe is random, as is his suffering, which makes it more acceptable (ii) or adopt view that God can be harsh, cruel or "vicious."
- "The Sparrow" refers to verse in Matthew that says such a bird won't fall to the ground without the Father's will. And the main character falls hard--brutally so. Book questions how God could allow such suffering. But what's not emphasized--and should be kept in mind--is who gave the sparrow life and the ability to fly to begin with? That's a key issue with all such "problem of evil" complaints. What about the "problem of good?"