Monday, December 6, 2010

Meaning and God in a Secular Age

A small topic, right? There was an article today in the NY Times by a Harvard professor on the quest for meaning in a world where, to quote Nietzsche, "God is dead." The author of this article defines God as a singular standard of Truth that precludes pluralistic approaches to happiness and fulfillment. I do not agree with the basic assertions of the author or of Nietzsche, but I find the piece thought provoking. You can access it: here.

The author also quotes the work of David Foster Wallace whose work I (and many rabbinical students) love. While his famous commencement address at Kenyon College is no longer online (it is in a book now), there is an abbreviated version on the Wall Street Journal website: here. Wallace's life ended tragically, but he brought discussions of faith to a more mainstream audience in an important, eloquent, and valiant way.

All too often we are afraid to talk about God and meaning explicitly, but I think it is a necessary component of a substantive religious community. I look forward to having discussions of this kind in future visits. Also, always feel free to email me with thoughts, questions, comments, or suggestions regarding these issues and our collective exploration of them: