The Corner

Don’t Lose Out

Paul Mirengoff read Mary Eberstadt’s new book, The Loser Letters:

The Loser Letters consists of letters written by A.F. (Ä Former) Christian to the leading atheists of our time. As her name suggests, Ms. Christian, a confused 20-something, is a former believer who has become an atheist. She fancies herself as atheism’s only convert. The idea here (pretty much true, I think) is that people generally don’t convert to atheism, as they convert to religion, but instead drift into it.

As a convert, Ms. Christian wants above all to be helpful to her new cause. Thus, her letters take the form of advice to atheism’s leading lights – men of a certain age – about how atheism can win converts among her generation and among women generally. She focuses in particular on those arguments raised by believers that she thinks are the major obstacles to consigning “The Loser” (God) to the rubbish heap.

This premise enables Eberstadt to argue the key issues in the debate over atheism in the tragicomic tones of 20-something female-speak. Consequently, The Loser Letters never becomes didactic (and certainly not metaphysical in the bad sense). The touch is simultaneously light and profound – more profound because of the touch of lightness.

To those who enjoy books that debate the existence of God, I recommend The Loser Letters. To those who are skeptical about such books, I recommend The Loser Letters.

My conversation with Mary about the book is here.


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