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Saturday, May 30, 2009



You apparently know even less than what is on the Amazon site. The author's name is ROBERT Wright, not Robin.

Carl E. Olson

Apparently I had The Princess Bride on my mind...


Just guessing here but most marketing gurus these days would likely be inclined to modify the pitch, and maybe even the product, if you threaten to cut off their head.


Why does the foil always have to be a fundamentalist Baptist preacher? "That sure sounds familiar. The particular fundamentalist Bible chapel I was raised in ..."

Suppose he had expressed his doubts about the love of God based upon, say, the existence of the Holocaust. Do you think that the Baptist minister would have had any success in changing the mind of a high school sophomore? Suppose he had said: "I began to have doubts when I watched my mother die of terminal brain cancer and my prayers and the prayers of everyone in my Baptist church went unanswered. How could a loving God let this happen?" Many priests attempting to answer the sophomore Wright would have elicited the same response he gave to the Baptist minister: "He was not entirely successful, I would say."

Instead we have the usual cliches about Creationism, an ignorant country preacher, and fundamentalist parents. This is a book meant to get the author on Colbert, Maher, and Stewart for the laughs. For the NPR crowd it's designed to show that "doubt" is not just the mark of intellectual sophistication but is also actually the highest form of religious belief.

Carl E. Olson

Well, some people's "foils" are other people's realities. And it could also be said that some clichés (not all) are clichés because they have a ring of consistency and authenticity. I can't speak for Wright, but I was, in fact, raised in a fundamentalist home and church (using the term "fundamentalist" in its historically correct sense), and I was taught a certain fundamentalist brand of "creationism" (a term I dislike, btw), and so forth. Having said that, I think your last paragraph is right on the money. Well said.

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