Waiting for God

I highly recommend Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, by Lawrence Bush.

This is more of an intellectual memoir than a comprehensive argument, and that’s exactly its merit. Bush comes from a background where New Age and liberal Jewish spirituality are the most prominent alternatives to nonbelief, and he details the very real attractions of such views as well as explaining why he remains skeptical of any sort of supernatural reality. The ambivalence about secular humanism he expresses throughout the book is also valuable. Bush is well aware of the weakness of Enlightenment atheism in matters of community, identity, and therapy, and he thinks these are important issues to be faced.

Nonbelievers should pay more attention to thoughtful, more ambivalent books such as these, as well as fire-breathing exposures of the absurdities of fundamentalism. There are many intelligent people out there who perceive atheism as a reactive, shallow point of view, not entirely without justification. It doesn’t hurt to take them seriously and see why they’re drawn to New Age ideas that seem utterly misguided from a scientific viewpoint. Sympathetic critics such as Bush are not just more likely to get through to such readers, he can also teach a few things to Enlightenment rationalists such as myself.