Shalom Auslander: [reading from the book]The people who raised me will say I am not religious. They are mistaken. I am painfully, cripplingly, incurably, miserably religious, and I have watched lately, dumbfounded and distraught, as around the world, more and more people seem to be finding Gods, each more hateful and bloody than the next, as I’m doing my best to lose Him. I’m failing miserably. I believe in God. It’s been a real problem for me.
Terry Gross: In what sense are you having trouble getting away from God even though you’ve stopped practicing religion and you don’t believe anymore?
Shalom Auslander: The trouble is that all the things I can do to get away from him are intellectual. And all of the things that put Him inside of me are emotional. The Jesuits have an incredibly creepy expression: Give me a boy until he’s seven, and I’ll show you the man. And they know the score. They know that getting in there early and twisting the wires up makes it very difficult later in life to untwist them…And so I can read everthing. I can read Spinoza, and I can read Hitchens, and I can read every book ever written about religion and the secular world, and just how silly it all is, and I’ll put the book down and I’ll wonder where my son is and I’ll assume he’s dead.
He also said something great about anger, and using it for good:
Anger gets a bad wrap. Anger was bad for me when I was self-inflicting it, when I was turning it against my wife, who I wasn’t angry at, because I was afraid to point the gun at the people who deserved it. When I was afraid to express it properly. But everything I read that I like, all the music that I like, all the comedians I like, everything I like comes from that place. And why shouldn’t it?
Great interview, great writer.