The Pleasure of Proof

I’m really pleased to report that the excellent New York Times blog Happy Days—a series of reflections on “the pursuit of what matters in troubled times”—has just posted an essay of mine: “The Self-Thinking Thought.” It’s a reflection on my experience spending part of a summer with St. Anselm, the 11th-century monk-turned-archbishop who introduced the ontological proof for the existence of God to Latin Europe.

So the ontological proof is what matters in troubled times? Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m saying.

It was the year 1077, at the monastery of Bec in what is now northern France. Anselm was happy. “The grace of God shone on his heart, the whole matter became clear to his mind, and a great joy and jubilation filled his inmost being,” his friend and biographer Eadmer would later write.

Head over to the Times to read more.

This essay is something of a sequel to one that appeared last year here at Killing the Buddha: “Proof Enough for Me.”

Nathan Schneider is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about religion, reason, and violence for a variety of publications. He is also a founding editor of Waging Nonviolence. His first two books, published by University of California Press in 2013, are God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. Visit his website at The Row Boat.