Saturday, January 22, 2011

36 Arguments For the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction

36 Arguments For the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Meet Cass Seltzer, professor of Psychology of Religion, dubbed the "atheist with a soul." He is catapulted to fame and fortune when he pens a bestselling book entitled The Varieties of Religious Illusion. In this novel, he navigates the tricky terrain of love, and we meet, among other characters, a child prodigy, a delusional professor, and Cass's three love interests, all women who are in some way larger than life. No matter where you stand on the topic of religion, you just can't help liking Cass and his entourage.

I read one review of this book that described it as "crackling with intelligence," and I think that's a very appropriate description. The author is clearly brilliant, and I found myself feeling a little dumb through certain parts of it. The story is extremely enjoyable, however, and it culminates in a debate between Cass and a steely-eyed theist over the existence of God which had me biting my nails in suspense, and ultimately cheering.

Atheist fiction - it's right up my alley. At the end of the book is an Appendix which outlines the "36 Arguments For the Existence of God" at the heart of fictional Cass Seltzer's fictional bestseller. Though this book is a work of fiction, the arguments are very real. It seems that every fathomable argument ever made in favor of the existence of a divine higher power is covered, and then logically, rationally, and scientifically deconstructed. I'm not sure how anyone could read the Appendix and come up with a credible refutation for any of the arguments. I loved it because it so eloquently and plainly explained so many things I've thought for a long time but haven't the capacity to put into such a logical form.

The actual arguments can be read in their entirety here: 36 Arguments For the Existence of God.

I loved this book. I doubt believers would enjoy it, as it casts religion and belief itself into ridiculousity. Read it if you dare. I'm keeping my copy.

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