Monday, June 1, 2009

NYT Q&A with Robert Wright

The New York Times has a cool question and answer session with Robert Wright, author of the newly published The Evolution of God. In the Q&A he talks about how the naivety of the New Athiests, his materialist understanding of Christianity, his understanding of the Transcendence, and, among other things, his Southern Baptist upbringing. I thought this back-and-forth was worth passing on:
Do you have any insight into President Obama’s spiritual life?
No, except that he seems to have the self-assurance of someone who believes that God is on his side.

That can be dangerous.
Thinking you’re doing God’s work is fine if you actually are serving humankind. And I think Obama has a better chance of doing that than most. He shifts between the professorial and the preacherly in a way that is reminiscent of the Apostle Paul, although Paul probably attended church more often and worked out less.

Earlier, we discussed an article Wright wrote, a glimpse into this book, on religion and globalization, and we also praised an excerpt within Andrew Sullivan's review of this book.


Drew said...

I didn't want to write this in the post, but there was something that struck a chord with me in the exchange I highlighted within the post.

I like this exchange for several reasons, but importantly, because of the implicit point that there is a correlation between certainty and violence, that Obama's self-assurance in his faith can be dangerous. Now, I don't think Obama will employ violence born out of his faith, at least no more than the office of the Presidency unfortunately requires, but I think that we should always be mindful of this correlation.

Tripp said...

two things. Paul went city to city spreading his good news in the market place knowing that a small community of the 1st century networkers would spread the word fast. All the while the Jerusalem church, the more conservative theological vision that required circumcision for conversion, followed behind him trying to get his converts in line. Paul didn't fight with them, did stay friends with them, and reorganized his missionary journey to collect money for their poor.

Obama took his news the culture creatives of our time, empowered them to spread his message, didn't alienate the oldline in his own party (clintons) or demonize his opponents and brought people together for a powerful message