Absence Of God

A recurring theme throughout our eight years here at Viewpoint is that naturalism affords little or no basis for neither moral obligation nor ultimate meaning and renders a host of other human needs and yearnings absurd. It's an existential dead-end for unless there is a God, or something very much like God, then life really is, as Shakespeare put it, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

A few years ago I began working on a novel that would incorporate some of these arguments, and I'm pleased to announce that the book is now available for purchase. It's titled In the Absence of God and is available at the usual outlets (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) and also from my favorite bookseller Hearts and Minds Bookstore, the proprietor of which is offering a 20% discount on the cover price ($25).

In the Absence of God is set in a mid-size university campus in New England at the beginning of the fall semester sometime in the early years of the last decade.

The main plot line involves a professor named Joseph Weyland who's forced by the events swirling around him, as well as the challenge presented by a young nihilist, to come to grips with the implications of his materialistic worldview. As he wrestles with the issues his materialism raises he's engaged in an ongoing series of dialogues with a colleague and friend named Malcolm Peterson, and also with the pastor of his father's church, Loren Holt.

Meanwhile, the campus has been terrorized by an apparent serial rapist, and several young student-athletes find themselves thrust into the role of both victim and pursuer of the person who's perpetrating these crimes.

Over the course of three weeks in late August and early September the lives of these students become intertwined with those of Weyland and Peterson in ways that none of them could have foreseen on the first day of classes.

In the Forward to the book I write this:
This is not a book about football, though it may at first seem to be. Neither is it a crime novel, though it ends that way. Nor is it just a book about people sitting around talking, although I'm sure some readers will think so.

In the Absence of God is a novel about ideas concerning the things that matter most in life. It's a tale of three different worldviews, three different ways of seeing the world and of living our lives in it. It's the story of how for a few short weeks in September these three views come into conflict on a college campus in New England and how that clash of ideas forces people on campus to think seriously about the implications of their deepest convictions.

It has been said that ideas have consequences and nowhere is this more true than in one's personal philosophy of life - one's beliefs about God.

It's my hope that in reading this book you'll be stretched to think about things you perhaps hadn't thought about before, or that you'll at least think about your own beliefs in new and different ways. I hope that whatever your convictions about the matters taken up in this book may be, by the time you close its covers you'll agree that those convictions matter, and matter more profoundly than any other opinions you hold.

I'd be delighted to hear from anyone who reads the book and wishes to share his or her thoughts on it.

Richard L. Cleary