“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race,” the author of Ecclesiastes writes. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Yale law professor Anthony Kronman takes on this burden in a recent book, After Disbelief, which Yale releases in paperback form this month. The book tries to make sense of the essential human wish to understand eternity in a disenchanted world. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Many people of faith believe the meaning of life depends on our connection to an eternal order of some kind. Atheists deride this belief as a childish superstition.
In this wise and profound book, Anthony Kronman offers an alternative to these two entrenched positions, arguing that neither addresses the complexities of the human condition. We can never reach God, as religion promises, but cannot give up the longing to do so either. We are condemned by our nature to set goals we can neither abandon nor fulfill, yet paradoxically are able to approach more closely if we try. The human condition is one of inevitable disappointment tempered by moments of joy.
Resolutely humanistic and theologically inspired, this moving book offers a rational path to the love of God amidst the disenchantments of our time.