Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book Review: Nothing to be Frightened Of

Basic parameters: 250-page stream of meditations on death, God, memory, the fear of death, family, philosophy, writing, and death again.

Great first line: "I don't believe in God, but I miss Him."

Times I laughed out loud: 5 (a high mark).

Most prominent quoted writer I knew nothing about previously: Renard, a French journal-writer from the early 20th century.

Scientific anecdotes: Too many to count on one hand.

Scientific worldview of the author: Skeptical of the church, but just about as skeptical of the militant atheists. Therefore, claims to be agnostic but constantly writes from a standpoint of "brave practical atheism," as in, "We all know it's meaningless ..."

Ability of the author to question the validity of the scientific anecdotes forming the basis of his musings: Minimal.

Times the author came right up to Jesus and then said "Well, we all know that's not true" or "Obviously the Gospels were written as fiction": Too many to count on one hand.

Time it took to read the book: 3 days (zoom, I must be making up for lost time).

Most poignant passage: Where the author tries to envision just how much meaning it would give to art if he would just be able to believe some part of the religious meaning behind it. I'm rooting, "You can do it! Read N.T. Wright! Read John Haught! Your countrymen! They speak your language!!" But no, it's just wistful conjecture that all too soon segues into another topic.

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