…let’s talk about Marilynne Robinson. Let’s talk about polemics, and rhetoric, and true speech. Back when Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion was published, Marilynne Robinson reviewed it in Harper’s Magazine.
I read the review earlier today. It did my heart good. She dissected the book, and Dawkins’ prose, and Dawkins’ arguments, with astonishing finesse, craft, precision, and intensity of spirit.
It’s a big world out there. I encountered Robinson for the first time only ten years ago, when I read her novel Gilead. I read it with great pleasure but in total ignorance of her religious commitments, and attributed the candor and precision of her storytelling to nothing more than straightforward artistic integrity.
When I became aware of her Christian convictions a couple of years later, that had a double-whammy impact on me: artistic integrity can be, and in her case is, grounded in the commitments of her worship and witness.
Facts such as those should not be surprising. That we find them so, in our public discourse, is an indicator of just how distorted that discourse has become over the last several decades.