But he is a fascinating learned man—from the Tablet,
A conversation about literature, Judaism, and the Almighty with the great Yale literary critic
…where the article is titled, “Harold Bloom Is God.”
Reading the article God, Rape and Free Will in Talking Philosophy, I couldn’t help but think that these discussions have been going on for thousands of years, in one form or another, and they are not likely to ever be settled, except for people who think they have the answers.
Beware of people who think they know all the answers to life’s big questions…
From Oxford American—The Southern Magazine of Good Writing: Church Is Wherever You Are. Looking for God—and my mother—on the television.
From The Browser, FiveBook Interviews, some fascinating thoughts on belief and unbelief and five recommended books.
From The Browser, an interview with Paula Fredriksen and recommended books—the opening question:
Before we look at your five book choices, how would you define sin?
I think three elements recur in discussions about sin. The first is a human moral agent. The second is some sort of revealed standard of behaviour. And in the West, of course, the third component is God – “sin” would be the human violation of a divine command. But modernity isn’t antiquity. “God” is a concept that’s been out of focus in Western culture since Nietzsche, and in modern Western democracies legislation draws on traditions other than the Bible. The civil idea of “crime” is quite different from the religious idea of “sin”. And, of course, depending on your point of view, something can be a crime without being a sin, and a sin without being a crime.
While a Gallup poll earlier this summer showed that nine in 10 Americans still believe in God, a survey by the Barna Group released last week found that only 43% of Americans believe the devil to be a “living entity,” as opposed to a symbol of evil.
Among the educated elite today, talking publicly about one’s belief in the devil and his influence on the culture and the world would be social suicide. The same was no less true in 1947, when Oxford don C.S. Lewis addressed this subject in an interview with Time magazine.
From the Guardian, the author, Francis Spufford, asks, “What can science fiction tell us about God?”
He then says, “not much, really,” and gives us a plausible explanation.
In his New York Times book review of Let The Great World Spin (2009) by Colum McCann, Jonathan Mahler called it “one of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.” I certainly thought so. I loved it—and will get a copy for my library. (I mostly read books from the public library, but then buy them if they are worthy.)
Although not completely located there, this is a New York City novel. This is also a book mostly about the ‘70s. One gets a clear picture of Park Avenue living, Bronx slums, the life of hookers, and clubbing at the hot places of that era. As backdrop, McCann uses Philippe Petit’s amazing high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers on August 7, 1974, which affects the characters, but it isn’t the story.