Waugh takes on God

No not Evelyn but his grandson Alexander. Alexander, son of Auberon, son of Evelyn, unbeknown to me, has published a book on God. The succinctly titled God was reviewed in the Globe and Mail on Saturday:

“What I have tried to show,” Alexander Waugh declares, “is that, seen from as many angles as possible, God is the most perplexing and yet most compelling figure in human history, revealed by a myriad of diverse sources to be mighty, jealous, rude, babyish, deluded, omniscient, vicious, ratty, benign, merciful, duplicitous . . .”

After worrying that the North American audience might not share Waugh’s sense of humor, the Globe nevertheless sees little harm done:

Still, with the global yearning for stark credulity rising as rapidly as the returns on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, a little old-fashioned deflationary sarcasm isn’t entirely amiss. Waugh is happy to oblige[.]

Rather than end on this note, however, the review ends pointing to the profound rather than the mundane:

God may well be infinite, and human perceptions of God aren’t far behind. Biographical efforts, even by Sunday gardeners like Waugh, can help us see how those perceptions have evolved. But whether we like it or not, God may have revealed at that burning bush the only hard data that’s ever to be given us: “Eheyeh Asher Eheyeh” — I am that I am.

If you had to bring it all down to one sentence, however, I prefer the following from Publishers Weekly via Amazon:

Readers who appreciate British schoolboy humor, are amused by exaggerated literalism and enjoy poking fun at organized religion will hail this encyclopedic mishmash.

I love that line! It is a one line review. It manages to describe the work and its likely audience while at the same time communicating a certain disdain as well. I certainly haven’t read the book so perhaps I am being unfair, but it seems a perfect encapsulation to me.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).