gimpel the fool


There’s a fascinating new war going on in the culture between self-proclaimed “scientific atheists” and theists. Militant atheists who believe that God is a “delusion,” as Richard Dawkins would have it, and believers who adhere to the idea of a just and loving deity. The atheists are on the offensive, one might say, with Daniel Dennett’s latest book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon—an attempt to reduce religion and spirituality to a by-product of evolutionary biology. And Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which debunks the conventional monotheistic notion of God without supplying an alternate answer to the question of how the universe came into being, the ancient mystery: Why is there Something instead of Nothing? On the other hand, defenders of religion, of the very idea of a God, are hard-pressed to explain the cruel, unholy chaos and suffering that pervades a world supposedly created by a loving God. Neglected in this simplistic bipolar debate is the position staked out by the great Nobel Prize–winning novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer, which emerges more clearly in the biography by Florence Noiville, Isaac B. Singer: A Life, just published in English.

more from the NY Observer here.