SF State News {University Communications}

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New book poses personal questions about God

Nov. 8, 2010 -- As the host of a public radio show, Professor of English Michael Krasny is accustomed ed to asking his guests thought-provoking questions. But what would this agnostic ask God if he had the chance?

Image of the cover of Spiritual Envy

"Given the opportunity I would not be sacrilegious or irreverent and I would prepare no less assiduously for an interview with the Almighty than I would for any other guest," said Krasny, who hosts "Forum" on KQED radio. "I would definitely ask if God was involved in creation and to what degree and why?"

In his new memoir, "Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest" (New World Library, 2010), Krasny addresses his ambivalence about God. Krasny's approach is both personal and literary as he recalls life events and revisits the literature that has influenced his personal philosophy.  He writes:

"As the Bible's importance -- the word of God I could not fathom -- began to wane for me, I tried to see Godlike power in art, particularly literary art. The artist, like God, creates a world and then removes himself or herself from it for the rest of the time, though it remains a creation within the creation for others to interpret and be affected by. This kind of Deism -- connecting God to creation but removing him from involvement in it -- is at the heart of the spiritual thinking of individuals like Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson."

Krasny says he is "a naturally curious person who questions, doubts and seeks" and acknowledges that these traits have served him very well in broadcasting and academia. In fact, he thinks they may even be an outgrowth of his agnosticism. Though he hoped that work on "Spiritual Envy" might lead to the kind of faith he admires in others, Krasny remains a questioner.

-- Denize Springer


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