Friday, April 17, 2009

Ten Question Interview

A ten question "interview" with me about my book is the featured article in today's Religion Dispatches, accompanied by a review of the book. Check it out here.


  1. I just read that interview today and added your book to my Amazon shopping cart afterward. I was impressed by your answers and am looking forward to reading a book that responds to atheist arguments without angry attacks or a virtual chip-on-the-shoulder. As a long-time atheist, I may end up not agreeing, but I definitely appreciate friendly, intelligent, open discussions about religion and beliefs. Cheers!

  2. I loved the interview. I must admit, despite not being an atheist myself, that I was afraid your book might come off as "stubborn religion" flying in the face of scientific parsimony. However, I have been impressed and influenced by everything that you've written (that I have read) thus far.

    Have you ever considered the idea that everyone on the planet, when confronted with a choice, has the idea that one decision might be superior to another? Does this basic idea show that we all believe in a "higher power" in a sense, just in the idea that we ascribe different levels of quality to the hypothetical realities we consider?

    Another way - if we consider self-improvement a real possibility, then mustn't there be a notion of complete good that we are using as reference? Even if a person avoids traditional views of duality (god vs. satan for instance) isn't a certain duality (one choice being better than another) just flat out present in our lives?

    Even Buddhist who seek to avoid "traditional" duality, and for good reason, ascribe different levels of "helpfulness" to different actions.

    anyway, your book is on my list. I might even buy it. ;)

  3. BTW, my ramblings were attempts to seek the notion of God from a humanist perspective.

    I've often thought that God - yes or no? is not very interesting. The interesting question is - is god a person?

    not a human, but a being we can interact with personally. This is the difference between atheists and theists to me. After all, many people believe in God that is not a theistic God - Ghandi, John Shelby Spong, just a few that pop off the top of my head.

    Of course if there is a God, He would have to be beyond our ability to comprehend, so if we could interact it would have to be through a kind of "interface".

    OK, enough. Bed time. Thanks, gentlemen.

    Dan, many of my best friends are atheists, and they have a better idea of God than many of my more conservative friends. Have a good one,


  4. Steven, I don't think your observation of the better/worse duality that often (but not always) pervades human choices suggests a deity, personal or otherwise. There are many much better reasons for this sense than god. Most often, I would say that such inclinations are the product of the fact that some choices lead to increased comfort (sitting near the fire when it's cold) while others lead to decreased comfort (sitting in the fire when it's cold). There are perfectly reasonable, even intuitive reasons to conclude 'better' or 'worse' that require nothing like a god.

  5. cheek,

    Yeah, I think that's totally fair. But it depends on the definition of God. I'm not necessarily putting forth a theistic entity here - just the idea that any sort of duality MIGHT suggest a sense of absolute good in the mind.

  6. and "absolute good" would be equal to that which is in the individual's self-interest.