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Personal Growth

Faith, Science, and the “Transcendent Instinct”

Can the gap between religion and science ever be bridged? Maybe not, but the conflicting desire for factual truth and spiritual “transcendence” is one many of us feel anyway, and one that only art can fully dramatize. Enter “36 Arguments for the Existence of God” author Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who boldly joins the “faith vs. atheism” culture wars in her new novel—and in her Big Think interview this week.

While acknowledging that they embrace radically different epistemologies, Goldstein argues that faith and science share a fundamental impulse at their core, and that neither camp should condescend to the other. It’s an argument that bears heavily on her book, particularly on the inner struggle of the character—an “atheist with a soul”—with whom she most identifies.

An accomplished philosopher, Goldstein also walks viewers step-by-step through a classic philosophical argument for the existence of God and explains why the man Bertrand Russell called “the most lovable of philosophers” is making a comeback after several centuries.


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