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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mystery of Faith

Eric Lax explores in his books the world of cinema: Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx (he interviewed the veteran comedian in 1972 for Life). This is not his only field of interest. Life and Death on 10 West was about the bone marrow transplantation ward at UCLA, and The Mould in Dr. Florey's Coat was devoted to the activity of the Oxford team that turned the penicillin (discovered by Fleming in 1928) into a practical drug, thus having saved over 80 million lives worldwide.

A forthcoming book of Eric Lax takes a personal path: Faith, Interrupted: A Spiritual Journey explores his inner struggles with the mystery of faith - having it, losing it, hoping for its return.

There was an op-ed in NY Times a couple of days ago. It was signed Eric Lax and was about the controversial issues that tear apart today's Episcopalian Church. You should read it to see his point, whatever right or wrong (though in such delicate matters there shouldn't be either/or).

Is Eric Lax an atheist, or rather some kind of a self-ignoring believer? Is he rejecting the idea of God, or actually trying to find the answers?

It was Jacques Maritain who famously said that an atheist was a disappointed mystic. You can object to this, of course: but, if it's wrong, what is an atheist actually? Well, someone who does not believe in God. Only each atheist has a different God to not believe in (it works the same for a believer, by the way). Then Maritain could be right (or, at least, each believer considers a different atheist).

Jack Miles (the author of God: A Biography) brings an unexpected question: Jesus said that he who looses his life will find it. Does that go for faith, too?

(A Life in Books)


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