Each week Moyers interviews a prominent writer on the interface between faith and reason, and how we can co-exist in a society increasingly polarized between them. Why authors, and not scholars, philosophers, or theologians? From Moyers’ introduction to the series:
In a world of information overload, occupied by cell phones, iPods, the Internet, and a thousand channels where do we turn for direction? Recently some of the world’s most provocative writers were gathered in New York by the PEN American Center to take on the issues of faith and reason. Their stories can help us see into the truth of experience that is obscured by the different meanings each faith assigns to the same language. Through craft and conscience, writers wrestle to negotiate between black and white. Their tales of suffering and redemption, war and peace, violence and love reflect the lived experience of human beings baffled by the language of theology and the abstractions of reason. Novelists, essayists, and poets help us clear a path through that briar patch of intractable viewpoints where desperate people searching for hope often get lost.
By holding language up like a kaleidoscope and turning it against the light, they tell and re-tell our individual stories and our collective human story and very often enable us to see the world through the lens of other people’s reality. What could be more salient to the discussion of faith and reason in a time of polarized passions than to ask our creative minds from the world of literature for guidance through the absolutes and ambiguities of our age? In negotiating our way into the gray world between faith and reason, we need all the help we can get.
The first episode, available online now, features a lengthy interview with Salman Rushdie, who was (and in some quarters still is) persecuted by radical Islamists for his satirical novel The Satanic Verses.