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Calling Bernadette's Bluff: A Novel Paperback – January 8, 2002
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"A novel both entertaining and insightful...CALLING BERNADETTE'S BLUFF is genuinely brilliant." -- Theresa Ostrom, author of The Folding Year
"An outstanding novel....It was refreshing for me to read about a hero who considers integrity sine qua non." -- Panos Parissis, The Search for Terrestrial Intelligence
"Wicked funny...CALLING BERNADETTE´S BLUFF cleverly captures the paradoxes of our humble yearning for truth in an age of absurdity." -- Cecilia Konchar Farr, author of Dancing through the Doctrine
"[CALLING BERNADETTE'S BLUFF is] a novel of principles and substance...bold and original." -- Robert Grunst, author of The Smallest Bird in North America
From the Publisher
More About the Author
In ATHEISM FOR DUMMIES and VOICES OF UNBELIEF, he explores the history and texture of religious disbelief, while IN FAITH AND IN DOUBT offers the first comprehensive look into relationships between religious believers and nonbelievers.
Dale lives with his wife and children near Atlanta, GA.
Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist is Jack Kassel, a closet humanist teaching at the College of St. Bernadette. CSB is a women's liberal-arts college which attempts to be simultaneously feminist, with a strong postmodern leaning, and devoutly Catholic. Needless to say, if you're an atheistic, rigorously intellectual humanities professor, it can be a strange place to work.
Nor is this the only clash of philosophies confronting poor Jack. His five-year-old son, who lives primarily with his ex-wife, is being sandwiched between Jack's own atheism and the sadly intolerant brand of Christianity he is learning in school. A group of students starts up a humanist club, with his help, but the club is taken over by nihilistic Satanists. To make matters even more surreal, an old friend of his, an atheist in the robes of a charismatic priest, arrives to lead the campus ministry. Soon, Humanism, Satanism, Creationism, Catholicism, and postmodernism are all frolicking about in a philosophical orgy of farcical hilarity.
McGowan is critical, although gently so, of postmodernists who insist on valueing all opinions, no matter how absurd. He directs much more biting satire at conservative politicians who use atheism as a whipping boy to bring in the votes of insecure Christians. Nor do students and their bloopers escape his pen; one student lambasts an author for referring to a woman as "Indian," rather than "Native American." When Jack corrects her, explaining that the woman is in fact from India, she replies that the author still has no right to be racist.
"Bluff" takes place right here, and right now.Read more ›
Some of the philosophical references went past me the first time, but it didn't matter. The style is so original and the ideas so compelling that I reread it and picked up a lot more. Really rich, really thought-provoking. It goes after ideas, not people, so it's funny and convincing without feeling like a personal attack.
I'm buying copies as gifts for two Baptist friends and one atheist friend...and I KNOW they'll all love it. How many religious satires can you say THAT about?
The book gets four stars, by the way, because of the tense. McGowan tells his story in the present tense, instead of the more common (for fiction) past tense. It took some getting used to, which dulled the impact of the earlier parts of the book ... and bugged me a bit throughout. Not enough to make this a bad book [not even close!], but enough to lose it a star. Let's hope McGowan is a bit more traditional in his storytelling with his next novel!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It made very little sense. The author skipped around the events too much. It was difficult to follow the ideas that he was trying to make.Published on June 15, 2013 by Martha
Non-fiction books on the subject of humanism, atheism, freethought, critiques on religion, etc. are in great abundance these days, and for the most part they are all very acedemic... Read morePublished on January 28, 2010 by Ryan D. Cheney
Calling Bernadette's Bluff
"Calling Bernadette's Bluff," though it's a novel, presents a telling argument against religion and belief in God. Read more
I can't say enough good things about this book. I've read it so many times (and loaned it out to so many friends) that the entire book is falling apart and I have to keep it... Read morePublished on October 11, 2006 by Boo Radley