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God Factors

Chicago Sun-Times religion reporter and columnist Cathleen Falsani recently published The God Factor, a collection of interviews with an array of national political, artistic, and cultural figures about their spiritual lives. Among the revelations:

Barack Obama: "Is not shy saying he has 'a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.'" Also sometimes feels the power of the Holy Spirit when he is speaking.

Mancow Muller: "Am I saved? Yes. Yes."

Billy Corgan: Perceives everything he does including (his word) "fucking" in spiritual terms.

Dusty Baker: "The dark side has some real power, especially in the world today. Evil's more accepted and more prevalent." Actually believes that the mythical Cubs curse derives from the dark side. Says he's been "delivered" a "bunch of times" and has witnessed an exorcism.

Carlos Zambrano: "Any man who believes in God is a good man."

Harold Ramis: "Yes, we're alone in the universe, life is meaningless and death is inevitable, but is that necessarily so depressing?"

All very interesting - and indeed, frightening. But we would have appreciated more commentary reflecting historic Chicago values like doubt, pessimism, and a healthy aversion to bullshit. As a post-script, we've provided a short selection from other locals who are not in Falsani's book, in some cases because they are dead and keeping their experiences in the afterlife to themselves. Remember, if God says He loves you, check it out.

Carl Sagan: "The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying . . . It does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity."

Clarence Darrow: "I feel as I always have, that the Earth is the home and the only home of man, and I am convinced that whatever he is to get out of his existence he must get while he is here . . . I am not afraid of any god in the universe who would send me or any other man or woman to hell. If there were such a being, he would not be a god; he would be a devil."

Saul Alinsky: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins - or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the Establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer."

Steve Albini: "Psychedelic fungus infestation of European grain, not divine inspiration, is responsible for many of the 'visions' so lovingly portrayed in the Christian paintings of antiquity. How many people were pressed under stones or drowned or burned for Satanism while those of faith were quietly tripping their brains out on bad bread?"

Frank Lloyd Wright: "God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature, and it has been said often by philosophers that nature is the will of God. And I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing."

Emo Philips: "Probably the hardest time in anyone's life is when you have to kill a loved one because they're the Devil. But other than that, it's been a good day."



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Posted on April 20, 2006


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