No One Sees God
The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers
By Michael Novak
Doubleday Religion, Hardcover, 9780385526104, 336pp.
Publication Date: August 5, 2008
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Surveying the contemporary religious landscape, the division between atheist and believer seems stark. However, having long struggled to understand the purpose of life and the meaning of suffering, Michael Novak finds the reality of spiritual life far different from the rhetorical war presented by bestselling atheists and the defenders of the faith who oppose them.
In No One Sees God, Novak brilliantly recasts the tired debate pitting faith against reason. Both the atheist and the believer experience the same “dark night” in which God’s presence seems absent, he argues, and the conflict between faith and doubt stems not from objective differences, but from divergent attitudes toward the unknown. Drawing from his lifelong passion for philosophy and his personal struggles with belief, he shows that, far from being irrational, the spiritual perspective actually provides the most satisfying answers to the eternal questions of meaning. Faith is a challenge at times, but it nonetheless offers the only fully coherent response to the human experience.
Ultimately, No One Sees God offers believers and unbelievers the opportunity to find common ground by acknowledging the complicated reality of the human struggle with doubt. Novak provides a stirring defense of the Christian worldview, while sidestepping the shrill tone that so often characterizes the discussion of faith, and given the challenges faced in the present age, all who value liberty will find hope in his new way of conversing.
MICHAEL NOVAK received the 1994 Templeton Prize, an award that has also gone to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Mother Teresa, and Charles Taylor. He has taught at Harvard and Stanford and has held academic chairs at Syracuse University and Notre Dame, and now holds the Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
Praise for No One Sees God
“This book is one of the most lyrical and moving reflections on God I have encountered. It is also remarkably generous, both to believers and nonbelievers. Most helpfully it is about how to pray, and how to suffer through the dark night in which answers, and communication, seem absent. A remarkable book by a remarkable man.”
--Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist, author of John Paul the Great
"Over the years, Michael Novak has explored with great insight the relationship between religion, society, and the individual. Here he engages with the recent intellectual challenges to religion and provides the perspective of a profound believer who knows what it is like to wrestle with doubt."
--Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
“Intensely personal and yet intellectually wide-ranging, this book shows Michael Novak at his best. No One Sees God conveys a depth, erudition, generosity of spirit, and wisdom that simply transcend anything that the new atheists have to offer.”
--Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity
“This new book by Michael Novak is one of the most fascinating reflections on the God known through reason that I have ever encountered, the God whom we trust in shadow and in light, in defeat as well as in victory. Many, many readers will recognize in these pages elements of their own experience.”
--Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, author of Rediscovering God in America
“Michael Novak's new book counts as both significant and moving. He deploys logic and love, emotion and erudition, to address the most enduring questions of our existence.”
--Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk-radio host, author of Right Turns
"The word 'dialogical' might have been invented to describe Michael Novak. With great patience and lucidity he engages believers, unbelievers, and those who don't know what they believe in a conversation about the things that matter most."
— Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief of First Things