After Cass Seltzers book becomes a surprise best seller, he's dubbed the atheist with a soul and becomes a celebrity. He wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum, the goddess of game theory, and loses himself in a spiritually expansive infatuation.
Then a former girlfriend appears: an anthropologist who invites him to join in her quest for immortality through biochemistry. And he is haunted by reminders of the two people who ignited his passion to understand religion: his mentor and professor - a renowned literary scholar with a suspicious obsession with messianism - and an angelic six-year-old mathematical genius who is heir to the leadership of a Hasidic sect. Each encounter reinforces Cass's theory that the religious impulse spills over into life at large.
36 Arguments for the Existence of God plunges into the great debate of our day: the clash between faith and reason. World events are being shaped by fervent believers at home and abroad, while a new atheism is asserting itself in the public sphere. On purely intellectual grounds the sceptics would seem to have everything on their side. Yet people refuse to accept their seemingly irrefutable arguments and continue to embrace faith in God as their source of meaning, purpose, and comfort.
Through the enchantment of fiction, award-winning novelist and MacArthur Fellow Rebecca Newberger Goldstein shows that the tension between religion and doubt cannot be understood through rational argument alone. It also must be explored from the point of view of individual people caught in the raptures and torments of religious experience in all their variety. Using her gifts in fiction and philosophy, Goldstein has produced a true crossover novel, complete with a nail-biting debate ("Resolved: God Exists") and a stand-alone appendix with the 36 arguments (and responses) that propelled Seltzer to stardom.
©2010 Rebecca Goldstein (P)2010 Audible
"Oliver Wyman's narration contains just the right bit of mischief to deliver the polysyllabic academician's jargon in this ambitious, humorous new novel...Wyman is wonderful as puffed-up conversations about the psychology of religion, Matthew Arnold's poetry, and the Kabbalah rain down." (AudioFile)
I found this book dreary and dull and I say that as an Atheist, who has no axe to grind. I had hoped a new vogue of atheist inspired fiction would be so much better, but instead we're given characters that no one outside of Havard Faculty could even begin recognise or identify with. - way to alienate the mass market!
A grey sludge of soppy sentimentalist crap sprinkled with over intellectualised dialogue. Not even Steven Pinker's cameo at the end can make it worth your while.
This is a witty and deeply intelligent book. Often hilariuos and with a broad intellectual range. A background in philosophy is helpful; not for the narrow-minded!
Oliver Wyman adopts just the right tone, and gives an excellent performance.
I've read and enjoyed plenty of non-fiction on the existence (or otherwise) of God, but this is much more fun. This book had me laughing and crying in between all the thinking and learning. If Cass Seltzer is the atheist with a soul, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is an atheist mensh.
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