A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging-and ultimately the most honest - stance toward the mysteries of existence.
Lesley Hazleton is an award-winning writer whose work focuses on the intersection of religion, history, and politics. She reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written forTime, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The Nation, and The New Republic, among others. Her book After the Prophet was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and she is the recipient of The Stranger's "Genius in Literature" Award. Hazleton lives in Seattle.
Praise for Agnostic "In Hazleton's vital, mischievous new
book, the term [agnostic] represents a positive orientation towards
life all its own, one that embraces both science and mystery, and
values the immediate joys of life...In each of her wide-ranging
reflections....she remains intimately grounded and engaged in our
human, day-to-day life." --New York Times Book Review "A
beautiful, inquisitive, energetic 200-page tribute to
uncertainty... that's about 50 times as charming as anything Sam
Harris has ever written and 500 times more inspiring than any of
Joel Osteen's books...You might give yourself windburn turning
these pages." --Seattle Review of Books
"Provocative...[Hazleton] paddles the river of doubt with energy
and exuberance." --Seattle Times "Hazleton makes a
compelling case for why agnosticism matters, and sets out a
comprehensive and though-provoking definition of what it means.
It's a powerful and deeply humanistic argument, told deftly through
these pages." -Vol. 1 Brooklyn "The title of Hazleton's
"manifesto" on agnosticism is not a contradiction: she imbues the
middle ground between belief and non-belief with spirit by showing
that agnosticism itself is a disposition in favor of intellectual
and emotional dexterity. A book that should be read as much by the
believer (the religious or atheist) as anyone else." -- Flavorwire,
"A Must Read" "A heady romp through the mind of an intellectual
adventurer who relishes curiosity and questioning over the dubious
comforts of dogma and certainty." --Seattle Met "To be agnostic is
not to sidestep the question of belief, for Hazleton, or to commit
to a wishy-washy moral framework. It is instead to have enough
backbone to stand firm in the liminality of uncertainty. She wants
readers to give agnosticism a fair shake, and many will be
convinced by her appealing voice and accessible prose."
--Publisher's Weekly (starred) "Here, with clever elucidation, are
artful essays that celebrate the wonder of the unknown... Hazleton
does not deny possibilities; she denies only assured and implacable
dogma." --Kirkus Reviews "Personably persuasive ... Informed by
science, philosophy, literature, history, travel, hiking, and more,
Hazleton's manifesto makes the suspension of conviction as
attractive as any theist or atheist testament." --Booklist "At
last, a liberating antidote to the either/or thinking of the
atheist/believer debate. Hazleton makes an impassioned and
persuasive case for the insights - and joys - to be gained from a
stance of not-knowing."
--Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and No God but God
"It's a fraught enterprise to take on the big questions--God, meaning, mortality, existence--but Hazleton has done it here with remarkable aplomb, and in a singular voice devoid of pretension. Her manifesto is, for me, a celebration--a welcome infusion of joy in an arena preponderantly inhabited by dogmatists." --David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars "As a rabbi whose search for religious meaning is constantly renewed by doubt, I loved Lesley Hazelton's book. It is vibrant, challenging, extremely interesting, funny and profound. It is wise in its embrace of paradox, mystery and science."
--Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Former Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Praise for The First Muslim "The First Muslim succeeds. It makes its subject vivid and immediate." --Hari Kunzru, The New York Times Book Review
"Richly detailed and beautifully written . . . [Hazleton] is able to do with words what is almost never attempted in pictures . . . indispensable." --The Seattle Times
"Like her subject, Hazleton brilliantly navigates 'the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion intersect, ' revealing the deep humanity of faith." --More "The First Muslim finds the human in the sacred." --The Stranger