We’ve sometimes written about Marilynne Robinson:
Tom Bethell, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (Regnery Publishing), wrote to introduce us to the “other side” of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Marilynne Robinson (for Gilead, 2005), who recently took the occasion of her four Yale Terry Lectures to attack the evolutionary biologists who talk as if science were atheism writ large.
But let Bethell tell it: Marilynne Robinson, who is better known as a novelist, attacked E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker and even the sainted W.D. Hamilton [my word! – ed.] in her recent book Absence of Mind. In Harper’s (Nov 2006) she was also fiercely critical of Dawkins’s God Delusion.
Here’s a New York Times interview with her that doesn’t seem to be a hatchet job:
What the human mind does is, as it happens, what Robinson is most interested in and most galled to see unappreciated or gotten wrong. Her current project is devoted to Christological essays, essays that reconsider Jesus, just as in earlier work she has reconsidered Moses. “If you could create a phenomenology of consciousness, some part of it would be the systematic falsification of the foundations of our culture,” she said. “We remember Moses saying, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ But he also said, ‘Love the stranger as thyself.’ This is not unimportant. And so I feel the humanity of Moses. Like John Ames. He’s a character I put together in my mind, sure. But when people do things that are honorable and fine, it is terrible to see them slandered. And it doesn’t matter if they did them 3,000 years ago, you know?”
It’s good to see the Times sponsoring a non-naturalist point of view for once, but it is probably too late. They are laying off another hundred people.
I’d feel sorrier for them except for this: Way back when, Billy Graham’s Angels (1975) was one of the best-selling books in North America but the Times was reluctant at first to say much about it because it came from a Christian house. The practice of noticing the rankings of bestsellers from Christian houses seems to have begun with the big turn-of-the-century Left Behind series .
Now, I may be one of the few who haven’t read Graham’s book on angels, and have very mixed feelings about the “Left Behind” phenomenon (I did read the first book, for work).
However, a newspaper of record that felt secure enough to largely ignore major North American cultural phenomena that the Manhattan cocktail set didn’t relate to was poised to be slaughtered by the Internet, no matter what. The Internet is not waiting with bated breath for society hostesses’ invitations. And they would never have known enough to reposition themselves in time.
File under: Some problems just solve themselves.
Follow UD News at Twitter!