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Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Questby Michael Krasny
Synopses & Reviews
Unlike recent authors who emphatically say "No!" or "Yes!" to God, Michael Krasny is among the millions who know they don't know. As a radio host, college professor, and literary scholar, he has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic. He's discussed life's most important questions with the foremost thinkers in virtually every discipline. And yet answers to some questions, the big, 3:00-in-the-morning questions, elude him. Pondering them in this book, Krasny is a pure seeker, one who doesn't discount belief systems or ridicule faith. His quest is informed by the full power of our cultural heritage: artists, scientists, world events, and even films. He takes readers on an exploration of morality, mortality, why we do good, and why evil sometimes triumphs. Personal and universal, timely and timeless, this is a deeply wise yet warmly welcoming conversation, an invitation to ask one's own questions — no matter how inconclusive the answers.
"The contention between the 'new' atheists and the devout is causing a resurgence in agnostic studies. Krasny (Off Mike) is a public radio host and a self-declared agnostic, maintaining a position that 'stands open to verification of either side of the God question.' Deftly balancing biography and literary scholarship, the book is both a personal examination of agnosticism and a balanced voice in the complex debate over faith's role in society. Krasny grew up a strong believer in his Jewish faith, until adolescent questioning led him to declare he just wasn't sure. Despite a lost connection with God, the young Krasny continued to seek a divine presence, even admitting to feelings of envy toward those possessing 'the consolation of faith.' In this book, agnosticism is a tool to philosophically engage with various manifestations of faith including organized religion, spiritual-but-not-religious sentiments, and even paranormal theories. Readers expecting a late chapter conversion will be disappointed; Krasny remains agnostic to the end, even while declaring his respect for the benefits religion can bring to believers. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"He explores agnosticism the way he explores topics on his daily NPR show — in a thoughtful, informed, and almost conversational tone.... The author's nondogmatic stance will please virtually all readers." Booklist
Book News Annotation:
Agnosticism doesn't say there is no God; it says that God's existence or nonexistence can't be proven. In this exploration of belief, Krasny, host of the popular public radio talk show Forum with Michael Krasny, draws on the voices and opinions of Forum guests as well as literary greats, famous scientists, and even popular music to examine questions of faith, religion, and human responsibility. Written in a conversational style for general readers, the book intertwines Krasny's reflections on his own experiences with faith and religion, as one who came of age during the 1950s and 60s, with discussion of the positive and negative aspects of religion expressed in culture, literature, and human relationships. Spiritual envy, according to the author, refers to "envy of the consolation of faith, of knowing a higher purpose, or possessing answers, or even being convinced that they can be discovered." The book includes a one-paragraph foreword by Joyce Carol Oates. The author teaches English at San Francisco State University Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The award-winning host of NPR's Forum with Michael Krasny digs deep into faith's big questions and takes readers on an exploration of morality, mortality, why we do good, and why evil sometimes triumphs.
As the host of one of National Public Radios most popular interview programs, Michael Krasny has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic and discussing lifes most important questions with the foremost thinkers of our time. Now he brings his wide-ranging knowledge and perceptive intelligence to a thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of belief — and lack of belief.
Many books and pundits advocate for a specific God, while others adamantly declare there is no God. Yet these strident viewpoints often speak right past each other, rarely convincing anyone but the already convinced. In Spiritual Envy, Krasny helps believers and nonbelievers alike understand their own questions about faith and religion, about God and human responsibility.
Krasny challenges each of us to look closely at faith and its power, and to examine the positive and negative aspects of religion as expressed in culture, literature, and human relationships. Personal and universal, timely and timeless, this is a deeply wise yet warmly welcoming conversation, an invitation to ask ones own questions — no matter how inconclusive the answers.
About the Author
Michael Krasny, PhD, hosts the nation’s most listened-to locally produced public radio talk show, Forum with Michael Krasny. A widely published scholar and literary critic, he is an English professor at San Francisco State University. He is also the author of Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life, coauthor of Sound Ideas, and creator of the DVD presentation Masterpieces of Short Fiction. His honors and awards include the S.Y. Agnon Gold Medal for Intellectual Distinction and the Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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