Flying a Kite: the Christian Perspective
This page aims to give you a quick overview of where Flying a Kite falls within the Christian perspective. One of its aims to to show that lack of understanding about certain mysteries within the Bible should not be used to deride its spiritual or factual integrity. It also seeks to show how thought about such mysteries may even reveal new interpretations given a modern understanding about the mysteries of this world and its origins: thanks to science.
Where do I Stand?
Firstly, let's keep it simple. I stand by the Holy Bible—and I stand by modern science. I do not see any conflicts between the two. And that is what Flying a Kite is all about: how its protagonist proves this to a dying millionaire who wants to know whether it is logically sound to believe in God in this modern world. (It is, by the way!)
I would say that I pretty much stand in the same ball park as Dr. Francis Collins, author of The Language of God. As former head of the Human Genome Project and one of the world's leading scientists, he believes there is a creator God and that he lies beyond the space and time of his creation. So do I, and in Flying a Kite, I try to clarify why.
I stand diametrically opposed to Richard Dawkins, author of the bestseller The God Delusion.
I am upset that bestsellers like Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code dare suggest Jesus did not die on the cross and thereby misrepresent Jesus and mislead millions of readers who may know nothing of the Bible and what Jesus was really like or about.
I have had a career in science and technology, and I come from a background where, as an agnostic, I sought to prove to myself there either was, or was not, a God. Flying a Kite very much takes up on this conundrum. The solution its protagonist provides is the same one that brought me to an unfailing belief in God: because I reached it as a result of many years of investigation and pondering. Add to that the inspiration I received while writing this book, and you will see why I want unbelievers to read this work in the hope that its logical basis will also lead them to a true belief. It worked for me!
God gave us a mind and a powerful reasoning capacity. Why doubt we should use it? Indeed, 1 Corinthians 14:29 says all Christians should "weigh" everything that is said (against their knowledge of the Bible) before accepting it. That takes a lot of thought. So it is not wrong to read the ancient words of the Bible with a modern eye. And if that modern eye has a scientific bent then that may help also! I invite you to read and weigh my words.
Jesus commended "faith like little children," but modern science has made many feel there is no room for a God. Many believe science explains everything—or shortly will. Science does not like the concept of miracles—because it cannot explain them. Well, nor can it explain where all the energy came from that created the "Big Bang", or where the sustaining energy comes from which keeps our atoms intact, but, by FAITH, it accepts they exist!
I seek to present the logical argument to show there is a God. Once you reach the level of confidence I hold about that you can then just accept it.
Evolution, Creation and the Image of Man
I believe Flying a Kite is up-to-date with respect to a modern interpretation of the Holy Bible. But that does not mean every Christian will agree with everything within it. (Any more than any given Christian will have an identical faith to any other Christian. We are all 'flying our own kite' when it comes to our personal belief!) Those areas where most quibbles might be raised are with respect to the notion that evolution is part of God's creative process and that Man was created in the mental image of God rather than the physical image. Yet I substantiate such things by reference to the Bible and the pronouncements of the Catholic Church: surely the most conservative of Christian voices. (I am not a Catholic but I do commend their modern outlook.)
Chapter 9 of this novel shows how Genesis 1 actually includes a fairly accurate account of evolution and, as such, I would claim science could be said to prove the spirituality of Genesis: for how else could its authors have been aware of knowledge that, otherwise, only came into the human psyche after Darwin's pronouncements? Genesis only falters in respect of the fact it mentions—by implication—the creation of the sun on both Day 1 (because there was already "day and night"), and Day 4 (when the sun and stars are mentioned). How could there be "days" before the creation of the sun, in any case, given our orbit around it is what defines a "day"? I suggest the authors of Genesis, who would have imagined a flat earth, put this part of creation on Day 4 because they could only conceive the earth was the first thing at the centre of creation and everything else was in place for the benefit of mankind; Genesis 4 suggests this when it says the stars were there as a celestial calendar to help man plan his religious festivals. Can you imagine God saying that? God may have inspired their writings, but he may not have dictated them. Human error is possible in any man-made document, and the wish to clarify from a point of uncertainty is a dangerous thing.
I also suggest that talk of "days" of creation was strongly linked to the notion of festivals which lasted a week—where, in reality, the term "day" should be taken to mean a long period of time. Paragraph 63 of a learned paper produced by The International Theological Commission confirms the Catholic Church now accepts Big Bang theory about the age of the earth and mankind, which is quite different from strict Creationist's beliefs. Also, in his Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution, on October 22nd, 1996, Pope John Paul II admitted that evolution should be considered as more than a hypothesis in the light of the scientific evidence. Even his predecessor, Pope Pius XI, clarified the point that if the human body comes from living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is still created directly from God. This perfectly aligns with my protagonist's conclusions. (See the full transcript at: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP961022.HTM.
So am I claiming mankind was not a unique creation by God, and that he just came about as a result of evolution? No, I am not! As you will discover, I show how evolution was that part of God's creative process which led to the development of a suitable "vessel" for the present form of man: man with a soul and mind. Pope Pius XI clarified the point that if the human body comes from living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is still created directly from God. I believe the second account of creation in Genesis 2, which states God created mankind from the earth, is really a reference to the fact God used the evolutionary form of human beings (hence "earth"), as the physical containers for a super-mankind: given a soul and mind. This is why I would say modern man is created in the "mental" rather than "physical" image of God. And the statement by Pope Pius XI confirms this still means he was uniquely created by God in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
Chapter 9 proposes the two—otherwise conflicting—accounts of creation in Genesis are actually a sequential account of two stages of creation: evolution (Chapter 1), followed by physical bodies linked to immortal souls with minds. And that is why, I suggest, physical death is not the end for us: our immortal souls and minds live on, for they are not part of our physical make-up. So why should they cease to exist when the physical body does? The novel shows how brain is merely a physical "end-organ" for the mind.
Genesis 6 confirms this theory by clearly indicating there were two kinds of human being around at that time: "sons of God" (those given mind), and ordinary evolutionary man. Against God's intentions and wishes, and because the daughters of ordinary men were beautiful and the sons of God were tempted to have sexual union with them, giants resulted by their interbreeding. As a result, God entrapped those souls to a physical lifetime on this earth and, in his anger, the Great Flood was used to wipe out most of them.
So neither the Bible nor science are wrong about these things. Both are right: within their own perspective. The protagonist of this novel seeks to show this and to remove apparent barriers between religion and science. The reality is not too far from where we are today if we look at the Bible with the enlightenment of modern knowledge, and science with the advantages of God-inspired words.
Such an approach throws new perspectives on the reality of an afterlife in heaven, and even some of the words of Jesus can be seen to have deeper meaning than was formerly supposed.
In a nutshell, the most important conclusion I can make is that you do not have to renounce a belief in evolution in order to have a belief in God. It is such a shame so many believe this is true.
What does the novel say about the Garden of Eden mysteries?
According to Genesis, in the centre of the Garden of Eden stood the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. God banned Adam and Eve from them. Flying a Kite contains a very plausible theory which does not rely on apples, talking snakes, or myth. We're talking real trees, real effects, and serpent-like properties—even an explanation of how apples wrongly came into the equation! You need to read the book to get the full story. It shows it is our understanding of what happened which is likely to be at fault, and that we do not need to assume there are 'fairytale-tale' aspects. Nowhere else in the Bible are we asked to believe such things, so why here? This may not be definitive, but it does show the way to a possible explanation that allows us to embrace even the Garden of Eden story.
Why did I write this as a Novel?
One answer is that I had already covered it in a more technical, non-fiction work called Reality Check: Science Meets Religion. Another is because fiction is a much easier read, and embodying all this within an easily accessible novel seemed a good way to reach those who would not have bothered to read the plain facts. Yet another is because I wanted to counter fictional works by those such as Dan Brown who, in books like The Da Vinci Code, provide flawed and skewed observations about Jesus; I wanted to argue the real case in a similarly easily accessible form.
Then there are those arguments by people such a Richard Dawkins, author of the bestseller The God Delusion. He is an outspoken atheist and a prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design. He has said that said that 'religion was one of the world’s greatest evils and more catching than smallpox.' I hope both my works provide sufficiently good arguments to counter his. He tends to compare extremist views—Creationist versus scientist—but that is hardly a fair comparison. (Note that Reality Check shows flaws in all the traditional arguments against there being a God.)
I mention "Occam's Razor" in this nove which, put simply, suggests the simplest explanation for anything is most likely to be right. The ultimate aim of the scientist is to produce a "Theory of Everything" which would tie together all phenomena. If they did, to my mind, it would show there must be a single source to everything: the source I call God. Flying a Kite aims demonstrate that by showing you a viewpoint which removes apparent barriers between modern science and the Bible. If even shows how science may point to the real location of heaven! You will find that, in the end, it is a simple concept.
It is confusing for the mind to try to accept both evolution and God's creation if they are viewed as opposing points of view. This book will hopefully show they are not. This should be a great blessing to believers with doubts, and a route map for agnostics who see such things as the barrier between their logical thought and faith in God. This problem has been on my heart for a long while; I came from that place! I found a simple solution that satisfied me, and now it is on paper. I hope it helps others to build their faith on a logical foundation. Once that is achieved and they accept God, they can have true faith as solid as that of "little children": because of the removal of doubt.
Did Ezekiel Meet Aliens, Humans or Angels?
There are areas of the Bible which are a real puzzle. Mostly this is because the author was puzzled. For example, a Google search for "aliens and ezekiel" quickly establishes the fact that books by those such by Erich von Daniken (eg Chariots of the Gods), beginning way back in 1968, spurred much interest in Ezekiel's puzzlement. What could Ezekiel have been seeing? If the beings he saw were truly angels, why these noisy machines they came in? Surely angels wouldn't need such physical contraptions? And Ezekiel finally disappeared when he was taken away by a chariot of fire—in a whirlwind.
Then there are other Old Testament mysteries such as the "men-like" angels who talked with Lot at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. Within Flying a Kite, one of the protagonist's opponents gets all involved in this while trying to demonstrate the Bible may contain a lot of myth. Personally I don't agree with that, and my take is that, in such situations, the problem is either in our interpretation of events, or with the mystified interpretation of its early authors. So, apart from providing some light relief, the little diversion this novel takes into this arena does lead to a possible explanation that has more of a historical basis than a mythological or alien one with respect to Ezekiel's visitors. You need to read the novel to find out about this.
No one can give a definitive answer about such mysteries. However, my protagonist — and the final conclusions in the novel — make it clear that such diversions are pointless. Whatever the source of these beings — whether angels or humans — their message was to follow and worship God, and so they contribute towards the same message that Jesus brought us.
How is the Holy Spirit Portrayed in the novel?
Flying a Kite falls into the same genres as novels by William P. Young: such as The Shack and Cross Roads. Both of his works are far more controversial because of their strange portrayals of the Holy Spirit, firstly as a fairy-like wispy character (in The Shack), and then as a grandmother (in Cross Roads).
The Trinity is given a conventional Christian representation in Flying a Kite.
You may have gathered the "technical" scope of this novel is quite large: at a "Meaning of Life" level! So what does it tackle? Here are the main topics. They're mixed in with a light storyline, and they're just chatted about by characters with widely different views. It never gets too heavy. The overall explanation scheme finally reached resolves apparent and traditional conflicts between science and religion. It is an exciting destination which removes mind-conflict for the believer and offers the atheist and agnostic new food for thought.
For an overview of the many topics covered take a glance at the Supplementary Index.
And if all that looks a whole lot too heavy or dry for you, please don't pre-judge if the topics spark your interest. Read the extracts and you will see everything is kept very light and understandable — providing you keep "brain-engaged"!
Information about other related books is discussed here.
Bursting with optimism, Flying A Kite by author Ian Kingsley marries the imagination of an accomplished writer and the passion of a theologian to deliver a truly remarkable read. Written in tight eloquent prose that are altogether enthralling, Kingsley has certainly delivered a staggeringly entertaining novel, one imbued with a sense of urgency which conveys an emotional resonance that is far too rare in contemporary literature. On this level it can simply be read and enjoyed, but there’s a compelling sense of authenticity which begs deeper consideration. On this level Kingsley has penned a book which is all about the content; weaving fact, fiction and theology in an overarching theme that encourages the reader to reflect on polarised beliefs. Not with the aim of proffering answers, but providing insight and the opportunity to draw one’s own conclusions as Bruce pursues his quest. In the main it works so well because Kingsley maintains the theme of reciprocity between his characters whilst maintaining a believable story that gives equal weight to opposing views. It certainly makes for a difficult novel to put down!
A genuine joy to read, without the contrivance of undue complexity, readers who have enjoyed 'The Celestine Prophecy' by James Redfield and 'The Shack' by Wm Paul Young will certainly find a novel of equal standing in Flying A Kite.
Recommended without reservation it’s highly deserving of your attention. BookViral has no hesitation in naming Ian Kingsley as our sixth ever author of choice.
'Ian Kingsley's Flying A Kite clearly documents the literary talent of its author. Deftly written, original, genuinely entertaining, iconoclastic, Flying A Kite is a rewarding and entertaining read from beginning to end and highly recommended for personal and community library Contemporary Fiction collections. Of special note is the author's own web site at iankingsley.com that is packed with helpful information for aspiring writers seeking to create their own memorable literary works.
—Jack Mason (Midwest Book Review - September 2013)
"Up there with some of the best published work around." (Walter Robson, author of Access to History: Medieval Britain)
"Very good, and addresses a universal question in a much better way than Dan Brown in Angels and Demons, where the God vs science debate is just another sub-plot in yet another ciphering book. In Flying a Kite it's the main plot thread, convincingly dealt with and riveting." (Richard Pierce, author of Dead Men)
"Fluid, smooth and flows at a lovely pace. Really engaging from the start. Like The Shack, there is a niche for this kind of book." (Gillian McDade, author of The Standing Man)
"Tight writing… using dialogue to give just enough detail to hook us into the story, leaving the snippets of backstory until the reader is well and truly engrossed. Great stuff!" (Jo Carroll, author of Over The Hill And Far Away)
"Characters are direct and effective. I enjoyed the pace which allows the reader to think about the important concepts by himself." (Heikki Hietala, author of Tulagi Hotel)
"Fluent, graphic writing and excellent use of description... Characters alive with captivating dialogue." (Elijah Iwuji, author of Praying in the Will of God)
"I love the characters. Ada is superbly done." (Anne Lyken-Garner, author of Sunday's Child)
"Up there with some of the best published work around." (Walter Robson, author of Access to History: Medieval Britain)
The following non-fiction book partners Flying
"This is a very intriguing piece. I believe there is a significant demand for such discussions... I especially appreciate the inviting style, which will definitely be a plus for more skeptical readers." (Faith Rose - Authonomy)
"The survey of arguments both for and against the existence of God provides the reader with a way to better compare and contrast different viewpoints… Presenting the strengths and weaknesses of all of these different viewpoints was one of the things I liked most. I was really interested to read these chapters because, as a mathematician and a Christian, while there may be perceived conflicts between science and religion, I believe there are no conflicts between the structures and systems of the universe and God. This book also explains things very well… [and is] accessible without sacrificing scientific integrity… I think the book will be enjoyed by many and will encourage lively discussion." (David Bortress - Authonomy)
"Extremely well written, researched and set out. Every point is very clear. The analogies are extremely imaginative and very effective. The passion in this work is powerful and every paragraph is thought provoking. The arguments are well thought through and persuasive... I would suggest that everyone reads it and think very carefully about what you say." (Gareth Naylor - Authonomy)
"'Reality Check' is an interesting and accessible book... that sets up the basic argument well, an intriguing one at that: proof of God in brain and mind being two different things, mind existing beyond the time-space continuum. At this stage my interest was piqued. I haven’t come across an argument like this before so it appears original... I was entertained and informed along the way and feel richer for the debate. Anyone interested in these themes would do well to have a read of 'Reality Check'." (Ross Clark - Authonomy)