36 Arguments

I just finished reading Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. Well, I still have to get through the appendix, where the arguments are stated (and refuted) logically, but the meat of the novel is behind me.

Tempted as I was to think of it as the first “new atheist” novel, one whose protagonist is a public atheist a là Sam Harris (though much more cuddly and polite), I’m not so sure if that’s the best way to characterize Goldstein’s book. Which means it’s not fiction-as-propaganda for the new atheism. It’s a pretty sappy modern love story with affectionate portraits of Hasidim reminiscent of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen.

Of course, there’s a lot of what John Brockman dubbed the “third culture,” which means science: game theory, mathematics, anthropology, etc…and a brilliantly over-the-top lampoon of Harold Bloom which is worth the read in itself.

So will this book convince you God does not exist? No. But then again, you don’t need books to help you with that, do you?

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