A Search For Truth
- The Story Of This Book -
The story began in the 1950s when the author was rejected from a loving courtship because he did not believe in the existence of God.
To quell the pain, and to understand what had happened to him, he researched the evidence as to why people believe that God exists.
Who is this book for?
Anyone interested in philosophy and religion, particularly whether the arguments for the existence of God hold up under close inspection.
Philosophical folks concerned with the definition of truth (Ch. 1) and how best to search for religious truth (Ch. 12). (Two chapters that the author favors.)
Atheists and agnostics pondering the need for new concepts for the meaning of life, morality sans God, and patriotism in a culture with politicians who end every speech with “God bless you, and God bless America.”
And for anyone who loves controversy (as does the author, the scamp that he is).
Read Chapter 4 On Us, 'God and Evil'
You can read the Kirkus Review here: Kirkus Review then please read the following comments on the review below.
My Comments on the Kirkus Review:
First, I want to say that I'm pleased with the reviewer's description of my provisional atheism as being "appropriately humble," especially since I consider the provisionality of my belief as almost the most important point in the book. But I would have been more pleased had the reviewer also credited me with at least having intimated that all beliefs, religious and otherwise, should be appropriately humble, which is to say that all beliefs should be provisional. And I think that I did say as much in the Acknowledgements when I credited J. W. N. Sullivan as having taught me "...the most important concept mentioned in this book...the provisionality of truth." (Emphasis is as written on page xx.)
Now I want to mention some other important points that I think should have been mentioned in the review:
- In the first sentence of my Preface, I tell my readers that I wrote this book in the early 1960s—yes, more than 50 years ago. Since not getting a book published until 50 years after it was written is so extremely unusual, and since the 50-year delay was so clearly mentioned at the very beginning of my Preface, it is unfathomable to me as to how or why the reviewer failed to say even one word about it. For goodness' sake! The history of this book is, in some ways, its most salient feature. Even if inadvertently, this book became a time capsule for having been written in an era when atheists were scorned for being un-American, uncivil in their beliefs, and in league with our Russian enemies (not to mention in league with the Devil).
For example, as shown in the Epilogue in my letter to President Kennedy, America was in a cold war with Russia, and the Russian atheism was being blamed for our conflict (as well as for our manufacturing of atom bombs by the hundreds). And it was almost certainly the reason for the publishers having refused to publish the book.
- Moreover, the review, released in August 2016, states that Honigmann "aims to construct a more modest atheism" [than the "new atheism" of the last two decades]. That, of course, was impossible since the "new atheism" didn't come out until the early 2000s.
- In addition, my insistence on the provisionality of my atheism was only partly for the sake of humbleness. Far more importantly, it was to acknowledge that we are all human beings subject to error, and that our truths are always subject to being replaced by new truths as our society becomes more knowledgeable and more discerning. Thus, we should always be welcoming to new thoughts and new evidence. That's about the most important part of any search for truth.
- Also important, my insistence on provisionality was partly to set an example so as to chide the theologians and religious mentors that their truths were no more certain than anyone else's truths.
Even though the Review was clearly favorable, the more important points of my book seemed to go over the reviewer's head. And the reviewer's total misunderstanding of my recommendation of "The Office of Religious Information" was not worth responding to. Therefore, the best grade that I can give the reviewer is a C.
- E. J. Honigmann
If you have questions for the author, he'll do his best to answer. Here's his email address: email@example.com