What Others Are Saying About
SEISMIC SHIFT

Keith Martin’s journey in search of the truth about life and Life is the one to which we are all born. Most of us settle into seemingly comfortable spots along the wayside, though, and others are waylaid. Few continue on as Keith does, and fewer still send postcards of such warmth, clarity and, yes, goodness as are found in Seismic Shift.

Gem and Tanyss Munro, Amarok Society

I have just read Seismic Shift for the second time. You offer a new way of understanding our passion for being kind, doing good and helping others no longer bound by understanding of God as a supernatural Being but rather a metaphor for all that is good. You write in a clear and straightforward way that is easy to follow. You clearly value the earlier influences in your spiritual journey and speak gently to those who have not adopted your metaphorical understanding of God. But in a helpful way you affirm the faith of those of us who might be called “beyond Christianity believers.”

Malcolm Rust, minister, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

Keith Martin has written a book that will reassure many who, like him, have questioned the reality of God as a Being but who also believe that there is a force within themselves and society to (as he quotes The Rotary Foundation's motto) “do good in the world.”

Bob Scott, Chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee

Seismic Shift is an honest attempt by the author to put in lay terms the struggles he experienced to make his spirituality relevant to today, to himself, and to his family. He honours the traditional Christian teaching of his childhood while moving on to a new understanding of the mystery that we call God. He never puts down those who still find the former approach helpful but he challenges those of us still involved in faith communities to rethink some of our beliefs. In addition he helps us to understand why many have left the church while still espousing the teachings of love, kindness and justice.

Peggy Aitchison, Ottawa, Canada

This is not the first book addressing the need of those of us who have fallen out of or who have deliberately deserted their belief in a personal god. Borg, Spong, Vosper, and many others have done so, as indicated in the book. However, there are a few features that make this contribution a unique one:

(1) The very personal and powerful account of 'A journey of loss and discovery' embedded within what appears to be almost a letter of legacy to the author's children;
(2) The very clear and convincing shift of perspective from a focus on an increasingly 'absent' personal god to an ever needed presence of goodness that only 'you and I' can bring to the world;
(3) The very vivid and vibrant metaphor of the 'Invisible Sun' that may well lead us to embrace the 'loss' of many promises we associate with a personal god and the 'discovery' of the potential goodness of a 'life after god'.

May this book inspire, warm, and guide others on their personal journey and quest for a spiritual space to call home between god and goodness—it certainly has the potential to do so!

Thomas Mengel, Associate Professor,
Renaissance College, University of New Brunswick

In the late 1980’s, I shared two long road trips with Keith, and we spent days discussing God and faith, both of which eluded me despite a powerful hunger for both. Even then, I was deeply impressed by Keith’s fearless honesty in wrestling with the issues I raised.

He continues that fearless honesty in Seismic Shift and has challenged me yet again. In the book, Keith shares a daunting quote from Irving Greenberg: “No statement, (about God) or otherwise, should be made that would not be credible in the present of the burning children.” Seismic Shift meets that standard, provides some relief from the grief of God’s silence, and shines a light on the path before us. I look forward to sharing this book with others.

Mark Hill, Yukon, Canada

I have followed Keith’s journey since he was associated with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and have supported his endeavours financially all along. I wondered sometimes if we were separated at birth as his spiritual journey has in many ways paralleled my own—from evangelical roots, including a seminary education and intense Christian service, to . . . and this is where the journey gets interesting. Both of us, in spiritual terms, are a long way from where we were—“a seismic shift,” so aptly described.

What makes this treatise so relevant to me, and I recommend it for the many former Evangelicals like us, is Keith’s perceptive analysis of his shift as well as his current embracing of Goodness. I need to think about this more, but I appreciate immensely the articulation of both his journey and his current status.

Ed Wilson, MA, MS Ed
Retired community college professor, London, Canada

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The dictionary states that to think is to "use one's mind actively to form connected ideas, to have a particular opinion, belief or idea about someone or something, to direct one's mind toward someone or something." To ponder, again the dictionary states, means "to consider carefully." I'm not sure many of us do think or ponder. We mainly react, usually without thinking.

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, a theory or attitude that guides one's behaviour. My brain is starting to hurt, but the exercise of thinking is clearly good for one.

Living in Wiarton is a bonafide philosopher, someone who has been thinking and pondering for years about traditional faith, New Age spirituality, atheism and God. Come and hear the theory of this inspired philosopher, who writes, "What gives me light, warmth and hope in the midst of a pretty dark world at times is a moral and spiritual sun, a moral and spiritual ideal, that some call God and some call Goodness. I now believe these are two names for the same reality."

Bonnie Jacob, Chair of Wiarton Friends of the Library
(article in The Wiarton Echo prior to November 10, 2013 book launch)

 

I read Seismic Shift last night. You have such warmth as a writer, it's quite enjoyable. I also quite like the idea of perceiving god as a metaphor for goodness—it clears up a lot of the logical dilemmas that surround deism.

Gabriel Munro, Victoria, BC

 

Congratulations, Keith. I know how important this is to you. I hope you have a runaway bestseller on your hands. Not for the money, because I know that's not why you did it, but because it would reach so many people.

Jane Weninger, Toronto, ON

In his book, SEISMIC SHIFT, Keith Martin writes an honest, straightforward account of his loss of faith, and his growing belief in 'goodness' as a metaphor for God. He describes his acceptance of the evangelically flavoured teachings of the Christian faith during his formative years. His belief in a personal God was firm until he began to question what he calls 'the silence of God'—God's silence in the face of human suffering. He describes himself as a post-believer or a believer-in-exile. As I understand him, Martin believes that our lives are sacred and what really matters to him is HOW we live our lives, not our belief systems. Not a few former believers have travelled this same path, I among them. Martin's book is an earnest description of his search for truth and the fullest meaning of love/agape.

Ruth Cathcart, Georgian Bluffs, ON

Thank you for letting me know about Seismic Shift. As usual, your creative mind and heart are exploring such an interesting and meaningful frontier as to the meaning of our experience of the Sacred.

Diane Marshall, Institute of Family Living, Toronto, ON

As a starting idea, it's brilliant and progressive and if I could shout one thing from the rooftops and have people listen it would be exactly that. There's a great seed here. As a book though this one just needs to be more fully fleshed out.

Rob Slaven, Amazon reviewer (4 stars)

I do enjoy reading these different personal discoveries, if for no other reason than to remind myself that every person is in a different place in their spiritual journey, and has differing spiritual needs. This is a good one: sincere yet in all ways respectful of the religion he left behind.

The Rwanda genocide was his wake-up call, which both dashed his belief in an all-powerful God and increased his resolve to pursue Goodness in place of religion. Explains Martin, 'When I capitalize Goodness, I mean more than just aspiring to be good. I mean bowing to Goodness the way religious people bow to God. I mean letting Goodness in all its forms—love, justice, compassion, mercy, kindness, etc.—guide and govern my life the way many faiths say God should govern our lives.' As we taught our kids at Christmastime, we need to be good for goodness’ sake.

This is an honest and heartfelt journey, about loss and new discovery, and post-Christian meaning. Many people are already taking this next step. By understanding God as a metaphor for Goodness, our spirituality once again rings true.

Lee Harmon (The Dubious Disciple), Amazon reviewer (4 stars)

Keith Martin has searched for God much of his life. Naturally, he would want to share the fruits of his quest with his beloved children, Ryan and Carol-Lee. That is what this book is. It is the sharing of his discoveries, so that his children might one day benefit from his lifelong pursuit.

Mr. Martin makes a lot of sense in this little book. He explains his answers to many things that most people want answers for. One question he answers is, “How can a just and loving God allow his children to suffer so?” He gives his readers his ideas on what God is. He gives clear examples and evidence as to his reasoning, too.

This interesting book is well worth reading. Martin’s logic is sound, and the results of his search are too. This little book is definitely food for thought.”

 Sandra Brazier, Amazon reviewer (4 stars)

Keith Martin's Seismic Shift is, in my view, a book about sadness, loneliness, and loss. Martin proposes, in good faith I'm sure, that our longing for a personal God be replaced by a commitment to goodness, given his fairly conventional notion as to what goodness means. Insofar as this commitment is shared by others with whom we closely associate, Martin's idea has promise. . . .

Nevertheless, in the absence of belief in a personal God, one who transcends time and all other boundaries, one who knows us and whom we may know, commitments, even as noble as a commitment to goodness, are ultimately grounded in nothing more substantial that social conventions. . . . Social conventions are, by their very nature, transitory and mutable. . . . Without an eternal, knowing, and active divine presence to provide an eternal and unchanging foundation, it seems reasonable to ask who are we to decide what is good? Who are we to decide that goodness is the most worthy objective? . . .

Still, in spite of my deep-seated reservations, I'm glad I read Seismic Shift. I'll very likely give it more thought than anything else I've read recently.

Bob Bickel ("not a natural"), Amazon reviewer (4 stars)