letters of advice from a convert to godlessness, Eberstadt tells the
"major-league atheist guys" (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens et al.) how they need to firm up their
In Laurence Cossé's A
Corner of the Veil, a French novel translated into English in 1999, a
society of priests known as the Casuists come upon the proof of the existence
of God. (The proof is a document mailed to the editor of the society's
magazine, a point of fact that endeared the book to me right away, since I open
the Century's mail.)
Why are wars so common given that they are so destructive? When they are so rarely won? When they are so often fought for reasons that turn out to be lies? When they invariably bring out the worst in human brutality? How do individuals and societies recover from such destruction and mendacity?
I was the only woman in a seminary course on negative theology. One day, a young man raised his hand and asked, “What about an ordinary housewife? How could a person like that live this life of prayer?”
Two decades have passed since nearly a million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide. Photographer Pieter Hugo has been taking photographs of Hutu perpetrators alongside Tutsi survivors. In each case the perpetrators have asked for and the survivors have granted forgiveness. Hugo says the photos are very revealing: in some photos the subjects appear very comfortable with each other, in others there is noticeable physical and emotional distance between them. “There’s clearly different degrees of forgiveness,” he says, adding that forgiveness isn’t motivated by benevolence as much as “a survival instinct” (New York Times Magazine, April 6).