Living with a Wild God: Barbara Ehrenreich on Atheism and Transcendence

April 14, 2014

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

This week, Point of Inquiry welcomes Barbara Ehrenreich, award-winning columnist and essayist, and author of 21 books. In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, she went undercover as a minimum wage worker and in Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America, she took aim at our punishing national obsession with positive thinking. Her new book Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything is very different from her previous writing.

Living with a Wild God is the story of Ehrenreich's intellectual coming of age. At 17, she had what she calls a “mystical experience.” She thinks experiences like hers raise the possibility of a world beyond the physical, which might include deities or extra-terrestrials. The only form of deity that she definitively rules out is the judgmental, anthropomorphic god of monotheism. Beyerstein and Ehrenreich also discuss the status of transcendent experience within a naturalistic worldview.

Ehrenreich will be speaking at CFI's upcoming Women in Secularism III conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

 

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