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Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest

Overview

As the host of one of National Public Radio’s most popular interview programs, Michael Krasny has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic and discussing life’s 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 ...

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Overview

As the host of one of National Public Radio’s most popular interview programs, Michael Krasny has spent decades leading conversations on every imaginable topic and discussing life’s 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 one’s own questions — no matter how inconclusive the answers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608680696
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 992,986
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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 and has taught at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Joyce Carol Oates xiii

Introduction 1

Foreword Joyce Carol Oates xiii

Introduction 1

1 My God 9

2 The Ten Commandments and God's Existence 21

3 The Ten Commandments and a Code of One's Own 29

4 Where Is God? More on Codes and God's Place in Mine 57

5 God's Identity 71

6 The Universe and the Face of God 79

7 Who Are the Agnostics? 93

8 The Force That Is or Isn't, and Coincidences Minus Answers 113

9 From Nowhere to Somewhere: Spiritual Envy 129

10 Respect for the Faithful, the Faithless and the Wishy-Washy 151

11 Accursed Time 161

12 Escaping Time 171

13 Deliver Us from Evil 181

14 Doing Good 197

15 Cosmic Joking 207

16 Separating the Agnostics from the Herds 217

17 Peace unto Thee and Me, and an Old Elvis Top-Ten Hit 227

18 Some Final Thoughts 231

Acknowledgments 236

Index 237

About the Author 249

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 13, 2012

    Some parts of this book were hard to plow through, and other par

    Some parts of this book were hard to plow through, and other parts of the book were simply riveting. A must read for anyone that is interested in today's agnostics that don't hate on believers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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