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Jonathan Safran Foer: "I'm not so interested in the comforting kind of religion"

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Here are a few highlights:

On religion:

“I'm interested in the kind of religion that makes life harder. I'm not so interested in the comforting kind of religion. I'm interested in a religion that forces me to take stock in myself. To ask the hard questions: 'Who am I really and am I the kind of person I wanted to be?' … Whenever religion is used to have it both ways, that makes me uncomfortable.

"Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac – these are the greatest stories ever told – the most important stories in my life. But I do think of them as stories. I don't read Bible literally, or maybe I do: I believe literally in the values spoken. Do I believe Abraham literally took his son Isaac [up on a mountain] to sacrifice him? I don't find that question all that interesting. I do find the undercurrents incredibly interesting and important.”

On the existence of God:

“It's something I continue to think about. I will never come around to idea of an anthropomorphic God.

I'm also uncomfortable with the word God.... I'm agnostic about the answer and I'm agnostic about the question. There's a definition of God that Christopher Hitchens believed in, and a definition of God that the Pope doesn't believe in. If you could put it into words, it wouldn't be God anymore. … I find the process really fulfilling. The endless search and endless wrestling really valuable.”

On prayer:

“I can't imagine praying to God. But I would like to talk about God in a literary way.

What's the best metaphor for God? Is God an author … a character or a reader? Is there a way to think about who God might be?

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