Two of my favorite words, ‘mischievous’ and ‘vital,’ side by side in a lovely New York Times review of the agnostic manifesto in this coming Sunday’s Book Review section. It is so good to know you’ve been read so well!
Here it is:
Agnostics have it rough in American culture; their refusal to take a stand has a whiff of cowardice or laziness. But in Hazleton’s mischievous, vital new book, the term represents a positive orientation toward life all its own, one that embraces both science and mystery, and values the immediate joys of life.
Fully aware that a manifesto of a non-creed is a contradiction in terms, Hazleton nevertheless takes on the task with considerable gusto, insisting that “the absence of an ‘ultimate’ meaning of life — a grand, overarching explanation of everything — does not render life empty of relevance.”
She proceeds though a number of the big questions or themes where she finds herself feeling most agnostic: the anthropomorphizing of God, the suspicion of doubt, the conflation of faith and belief, the characterization of ‘a soul’ as something that can be either ‘lost’ or ‘found.’
In each of her wide-ranging reflections, Hazleton nimbly avoids the “danger… of entering chicken-soup-for-the-soul territory” and the pitfalls of being ‘spiritual’: “The tag feels too nebulous and at the same time too self-congratulatory.” Instead, she remains intimately grounded and engaged in our human, day-to-day life.
And here I am being grounded and engaged last week with a great audience at Creative Mornings Seattle: