‘This Isn’t, Thank God, Another Book about the Proofs for God’s Existence’

The filter blog Arts & Letters Daily is great, and it’s even greater that today it featured Robert Bolger’s excellent Los Angeles Review of Books review of God in Proof. Writes Bolger:

Schneider tips his hand a bit with the title God in Proof. This isn’t, thank God, another book about the proofs for God’s existence, but rather a search, at once historical and personal, for the God that lives in proofs. The reversal — from proof for God to God in proof — is both linguistically nifty and philosophically important. It isn’t that the proofs for God lead us to God, but rather that God may be found — or may be shrouded — in the language of proofs. People see God in different settings. Some see God in song, others in nature, and others still in humanity as a whole. Schneider, in searching for his God, finds it revealed in the souls who historically sought out proofs for what they believed in.

The review was also picked up two other wonderful blogs, Andrew Sullivan’s Dish and 3 Quarks Daily. The quasi-New Atheist Jerry Coyne even says he’ll read the book. Based on his earlier assessment of my writings on proofs, I don’t expect he’ll like it, but you never know.

Anarchy Everywhere, Except Online

On AnarchismI suppose this is what you get when you publish a book with “anarchy” in the title. This month I’ve got two new anarchy-related essays, both of which are available in good-old print. Here’s a bit of a taste.

One is an introduction to a new collection of Noam Chomsky’s writings on Anarchism, straightforwardly titled On Anarchism, which comes out this month from the New Press.

The first evening of a solidarity bus tour in the West Bank, I listened as a contingent of college students from around the United States made an excellent discovery: they were all, at least kind of, anarchists. As they sat on stuffed chairs in the lobby of a lonely hotel near the refugee camp in war-ravaged Jenin, they probed one another’s political tendencies, which were reflected in their ways of dressing and their most recent tattoos. All of this, along with stories of past trauma, made their way out into the light over the course of our ten-day trip.

“I think I would call myself an anarchist,” one admitted.

Then another jumped into the space this created: “Yeah, totally.”

Basic agreement about various ideologies and idioms ensued—ableism, gender queerness, Zapatistas, black blocs, borders. The students took their near unison as an almost incalculable coincidence, though it was no such thing.

If you’re in the Boston area on November 18, come hear me introduce Chomsky (and you can stay to hear him speak if you want…) at MIT at 5:30.

The other bit is a retrospective review in Commonweal (the online version is behind a paywall) of Paul Goodman’s 1960 sort-of classic Growing Up Absurd:

Goodman’s prose sets out to dazzle us with its iconoclastic attitude and the striking phrases that clothe the author’s not-always-consistent arguments. He quotes from his previous books at length. Throughout he attempts to reconcile his claim to be an anarchist with his conservative instincts, a tension borne out in his life as well as on the page; he was a married family man who was promiscuously bisexual, a Jew who opposed World War II.

Among the other “mansplainers” of Goodman’s time—to borrow a neologism from the feminist blogosphere—one could be forgiven for preferring Ivan Illich, who presented his similarly adventuresome anarcho-conservative proposals with considerably more rigor and coherence; or James Baldwin, who as a black man in exile came by his prophetic tone more honestly. “Allen Ginsberg and I once pointed out to Stokely Carmichael how we were niggers,” Goodman recalled in a memoir-ish essay, referring to a 1967 BBC broadcast, “but he blandly put us down by saying that we could always conceal our disposition and pass.” Carmichael was right.

For more: stop by a fine newsstand or bookstore near you.

A Holiday from Politics?

I’m a little perplexed by the new review of Thank You, Anarchy by Adam Kirsch, an editor of The New Republic among other things. Short of outright disapproving of my book, he replays a common liberal dismissal of Occupy. “For the vast majority of Americans, it was little more than a news story,” he begins, and he ends by claiming, utterly falsely, that “Schneider’s book suggests that the best way to understand Occupy is as a long, earnest holiday from reality, including the reality of politics.” I never once used the word “holiday” in that way; nor is that even what the book “suggests.” The last chapter concludes with a series of reflections on how to carry the ideals of Occupy into reality, and how people are doing so already. The book throughout strenuously insists that through Occupy, people experienced a return to the real politics of the needs of their communities, a break from the false politics of a deeply corrupted system. Kirsch’s reading, anyway, is suggestive of his assumptions, and, unfortunately, of my own failure to be clear enough to disabuse him of them. In that sense, the subtext of the review may be more revealing than the review itself.

30% Off Thank You, Anarchy—Plus Events!

“Schneider does a remarkable job of conveying the euphoric sense of possibility that transformed so many people in the square, as well as the frustrations”—Nick Pinto, Al Jazeera America

“I consider this book one of the lasting benefits of Occupy”—David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org

“[A] fast-moving cinematic chronicle”—Jonah Raskin, Occupy.com

“Part history, part on-the-scene reporting, and part hope for a better future, the work is valuable and delightfully controversial.”—John Scott G, Publishers Newswire

Agree? Disagree? You can share your own reaction with a review at Goodreads and Amazon. And don’t miss the interviews with Democracy Now, HuffPost Live, and The New Inquiry.

Get a Discount

Between now and the end of October, thanks to a special arrangement with The Nation, the folks at University of California Press are offering a 30% discount on Thank You, Anarchy if you order directly from their website using the discount code 14W3726.

You can also find it at all sorts of fine retailers—ask for it at your local bookstore. If not now, when?

Attend an Event

The interest in Thank You, Anarchy and God in Proof have spawned an improvised book tour:

  • 10/8, New York, NY: KGB Bar
  • 10/9, Hempstead, NY: Lecture on proofs at Hofstra University
  • 10/24, Brooklyn, NY: An Evening of Song and Abstraction at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface
  • 10/26, New London, CT: Monte Cristo Bookshop
  • 10/30, Brooklyn, NY: “Was Jesus a Zealot?” at St. Joseph’s College
  • 11/1, Philadelphia, PA: Wooden Shoe Books
  • 11/3, Brooklyn, NY: BookCourt
  • 11/8, Providence, RI: Beckett Lecture of the Brown-RISD Catholic Community
  • 11/18, Cambridge, MA: Celebrating On Anarchism with Noam Chomsky and the Boston Review
  • 11/23, Baltimore, MD: Panel at the American Academy of Religion
  • 11/26, Baltimore, MD: Red Emma’s Bookstore
  • 2/22, San Francisco, CA: The Green Arcade
  • 2/24, Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University
  • 2/26-3/1, Seattle, WA: Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference
  • 3/9, Washington, DC: Center for Inquiry lecture

More are in the works. If you’d like to try to bring me to your hometown, please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can help.

I hope to see you somewhere along the line!


The Official Guide to Thank You, Anarchy

Thank You, AnarchyMaybe you saw a scene from it on HBO’s The Newsroom. Or perhaps you annotated part of it on RapGenius. Some of you may have even glimpsed the foreword by Rebecca Solnit, in which she wrote:

Thanks to this meticulous and elegant book, we know what one witness-participant was thinking all through the first year of Occupy, and what many of the sparks and some of the tinder were thinking, and what it was like to be warmed by that beautiful conflagration that spread across the world.

One way or another, the news about Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse is getting out!

Get your copy

Thank You, Anarchy is available as an affordable paperback, extravagant hardcover, or ephemeral ebook. To support fine non-profit publishing, you can buy it directly from University of California Press using the discount code 13W4710. That should bring the price to just about where Amazon has it (and I guess you also can get it there if you have to).

Also, between now and Occupy’s second anniversary on September 17, you can get a signed copy of the book by becoming a member (at $5/month or more) of Waging Nonviolence, the publication where the Thank You, Anarchy got its start.

Once you’ve read the book, I hope you’ll consider writing a review at Goodreads or Amazon, or anywhere really, to tell the world what you think.

Attend an event

There are lots of opportunities coming up:

Keep up with more events to come on my speaking page. If you’re interested in helping organize an event in your hometown, don’t hesitate to contact me.

There’s more

On AnarchismCan’t get enough anarchy? Here’s what else to look out for this fall:

Thank you, as always, for reading.


God in Proof: The Official Update

God in Proof trailer

You can be among the first to see this new animated book trailer! Share it with your friends on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet by Nathan SchneiderJoin a live interactive book event this Wednesday
In conversation with Texas-based philosophical artist Alyce Santoro, I’ll be discussing God in Proof in an online event on Wednesday at 9 p.m. eastern time, “God-Proofs and Philosoprops: Illustrating the Intangible.” You can join us from anywhere that has a decent Internet connection. Register for the event here and spread the word on Facebook.

Get the ebook
God in Proof is now available as an ebook, complete with all the illustrations and charts that appear in the print edition. Get the Kindle version at Amazon and the epub or pdf versions from other fine booksellers. (See GodInProof.com for details and a discount code.) If you like it, please consider writing a review at Goodreads or Amazon.

Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy ApocalypseNew book coming in September: Thank You, Anarchy
My study of the first year of Occupy Wall Street, Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, is now available for preorder in paperback and hardcover. In the foreword, Rebecca Solnit writes: “Thanks to this meticulous and elegant book, we know what one witness-participant was thinking all through the first year of Occupy, and what many of the sparks and some of the tinder were thinking, and what it was like to be warmed by that beautiful conflagration that spread across the world.” Expect more news soon!

Thank you for reading,


The New Theist

Chronicle Review cover.For longer than I’d like to admit, I’ve been following the evangelical philosopher William Lane Craig around the country — to Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana, Los Angeles, and Atlanta again. I found out about him while working on my book, God in Proof, and couldn’t seem to get enough. Today, my profile of Craig appears as the cover story of The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Chronicle Review. I tried to do for him what Time magazine did for C.S. Lewis in the 1940s, when it dubbed him “apostle to the skeptics.” Here’s a bit:

There’s a prophecy in the Book of Joel, paraphrased later in the New Testament: “Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” Maybe something of that is being fulfilled in the simultaneously tightening and loosening effect of Craig’s presence. One on one, the younger students err on the side of acting holier-than-thou, while the older ones let a mild curse word or two slip. For both, this philosophy is changing their lives.

Read the whole article at The Chronicle.

Also, check out my addendum at Killing the Buddha: “7 Habits of a Highly Effective Philosopher.”

The Official Guide to God in Proof

God in Proof with author.

After ten years in the making, five years in the writing, and a few days doing little drawings, my first book, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, is now becoming available. This is a guide on how you can get it for yourself and—please, please please!—help spread the word.

Buy the book

There are some choices for how to do this.

  • Get it direct from University of California Press—with the discount code 13W3359 it costs just $27.96 for the hardcover. Shipping now!
  • Help Amazon put everyone else out of business by ordering it there for their ever-varying low price—though it won’t ship until around the pub date on June 10. And leave a review if you’re so inclined!
  • Ask for it at your local bookstore or find it wherever else books are sold.

The ebook version isn’t out quite yet, but it will be coming in a few weeks.

Come to the party

God in ProofIt isn’t a book release without a party!


Spread the word

Media is social nowadays, so I can’t do this without you.

  • Tell your friends the old-fashioned way: There’s no substitute for that.
  • Share the link: To send people straight to the basic info and buying options, this webpage is where I’m stashing all the latest updates and reviews.
  • Review it on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N: If you liked the book, tell the world why!
  • Draw your own proof: Already, some people who’ve read the book have felt inspired to come up with proofs for various things of their own! I’ve set up a proof-making contest, which I hope you’ll enter, and the most popular entries stand to win free copies of the book courtesy of UC Press. See what others have come up with at GodInProof.com, and enter by tweeting proofs to #GodInProof or emailing them to proofs@godinproof.com.



…a word of thanks. I am so grateful for your support and your willingness to help God in Proof reach readers who might not otherwise find it. I can’t do this without you, and I’d love to hear what you think about the book.


God in Proof: An Evening of Song and Abstraction

Resonanda performing at St. Joseph's in 2010.To celebrate the release of my book God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, I’ll be joined by my friends in the medieval music ensemble Resonanda at the magnificent Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn, New York. Readings from the book will intermingle with selections of medieval song, restoring the search for proof of the existence of God into the joys, the longings, and the struggles from which it came.

Resonanda was founded in December 2004 by Stephen Higa, who is currently a professor of medieval history at Bennington College. Since its inception, Resonanda’s members have taken an experimental approach to the performance of medieval song. In order to resurrect this antique repertoire, they work closely with medieval treatises and the nuanced period notation, relying heavily on improvisation, oral learning, and a wide variety of reconstructed vocal techniques. Resonanda savors lilting melodies, startling harmonies, and striking voices blending with fervent clarity and naked devotion.

Staff from Unnamable Books, an independent bookstore located nearby in Prospect Heights, will be present with copies of God in Proof for sale.

An after-party will be held following the performance with excellent beer, wine, and small dishes at Atlantic Co., 622 Washington Avenue.

RSVP on Facebook here.

The Scandal of White Complicity

The Scandal of White ComplicityIn the national Catholic magazine America I’ve just published a short review of an important new book with a long title: The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A White Spirituality of Resistance. It’s an effort by three Catholic thinkers to articulate the depth of white complicity in this country’s massive, highly racialized prison system and to outline an approach to resistance grounded in Catholic social thought.

What would a movement against mass incarceration be able to accomplish with the support of the country’s largest religious denomination?

Upon recognizing the depth of the problem that mass incarceration poses, it may be tempting for many whites, especially those used to positions of influence and authority, to leap into devising solutions. Reading Michelle Alexander’s book certainly brings to mind a litany of anathemas—for instance, discriminatory policing, the senseless drug war, wildly excessive sentencing laws, the broad discretion afforded to prosecutors, the perverse incentives of the private prison industry and chronic underinvestment in communities of color. But the authors of The Scandal of White Complicity do not venture far into policy proposals or political strategizing. Nor do they allude to the many biblical passages about freeing captives that might tempt one to play the liberator.

What they offer instead is a call to humility, to accountability to people of color, to solidarity. The task they set for white Americans is to organize themselves and each other as allies, and to follow the lead of their neighbors of color who are already fighting the battle against the new Jim Crow every day.

Read the rest at America.

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