July 21st, 2007


Faith & Flanders

The (former) religion writer for the Los Angeles Times discusses his crisis of faith.

He doesn't present any actual argument against theism and most of the implied one is unpersuasive even to me, an unbeliever. But I do find that part of his conclusion resonates with me:

"Clearly, I saw now that belief in God, no matter how grounded, requires at some point a leap of faith. Either you have the gift of faith or you don't. It's not a choice. It can't be willed into existence. And there's no faking it if you're honest about the state of your soul."

I finished Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Flanders Panel. He wrote the excellent Club Dumas, which was made into the not-so-excellent film, The Ninth Gate (In Johnny Depp's Pants*). The Flanders Panel is in a similar vein, with art conservation and chess taking the place of book-hunting and Satanism. I'm a far better book-hunter than I am an artist, and probably a better Satanist than I am a chess-player, so perhaps that's why I found the Flanders Panel disappointing. But really, I just think it's not nearly as good a piece of fiction. It certainly had its moments, but the resolution of the mystery was intensely unsatisfying.