Professor’s new book asks if the Universe Is on Our Side
Adrian Van Kaam Endowed Chair in Scholarly Excellence and Professor of Law Bruce Ledewitz recently authored The Universe Is on Our Side, published by Oxford University Press. In a book that is a combination of religion and politics, Ledewitz argues that there is a deep societal breakdown in America that cannot be remedied by an election. He points to the divisions that make it impossible to politely converse about politics and examines the insufficiency of the usual explanations as to why this is happening.
In this thought-provoking book, Ledewitz writes that America is now living with the consequences of the Death of God, an event that Friedrich Nietzsche supposed would be momentous and irreversible.
"We are in a terrible time of breakdown because of the Death of God. That does not mean that nobody believes in God, of course, but that He is no longer an effective foundation of the culture. The most important thing nonreligious people see is that this has been a tremendous change and has unsettled all foundations of American society, and the West in general. In secular society we need a new beginning point to take account of the Death of God and start over," he said.
As America continues to face the consequences of a godless society, Ledewitz, a secularist, thinks the universe has a spiritual dimension. His book details that is precisely the reason why the universe is, in fact, on our side as we strain to work through these tumultuous times. The tense period we are living is one that Ledewitz has taken note of for years but has only been acknowledged recently by others.
"This is my fourth attempt. Colleagues and family members started to talk in this unthinking, nihilistic way and I thought it would lead to catastrophe. People would say to me, ‘that is just your opinion.' And I saw it everywhere. I didn't know what form the disaster would take in 2011, in my third book, which was all about this, but which didn't have much impact. Then no one else could see it, but ten years later everyone else can see it," said Ledewitz.
While the subject matter is difficult, he said the book is positive and is about moving on and a secular renaissance. "Everyone knows society is secularizing, but will it be heathy and where will it go? When will it be healthy? Society will come to realize that we lost something precious: the belief in God. We have to start over and some of those paths lead right back to God," Ledewitz said.
While not trying to hide his own political views, Ledewitz does note this is "probably the only book about the breakdown of American life that does not blame one side." He wants this book to cause people to think and ask serious questions. He said, "If you ask the serious question ‘Is the Universe on Our Side'-and no matter how you answer that question-you will already be improving society."
For more information about this book and Ledewitz's other publications, visit bruceledewitz.com/.
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