Threaded through this story is a dialogue between two men, brought together when a young girl tragically disappears, who exhibit radically different ways of seeing the world. One of these men, a professor of literature, embraces atheistic materialism, while the other, a pastor, champions a Christian worldview.
Their interaction and the story of the missing girl serve to highlight modern man's existential predicament. Having marginalized God, moderns find themselves bereft of any objective basis for forming moral judgments, for hope that justice could ever be realized, or for finding any ultimate meaning, either in the existence of the human species as a whole or in the life of the individual.
Modern man dispenses with God and believes that life can go on as before, but this is a conceit confuted by the history of the 19th and 20th century. A world that has abandoned God has turned its back on the wellspring of moral goodness, beauty, and truth, as well as the only possible objective ground for human rights and the dignity of the individual. Modernity has in many ways been a blessing, but it has also been a curse.History will perhaps decide whether the blessing has outweighed the curse.
Meanwhile,Bridging the Abyssilluminates the tension between competing views of the world as they're illustrated in the lives of the characters that inhabit its pages.
Richard L. Cleary teaches philosophy at several Pennsylvania colleges and is the author of In the Absence of God. He and his wife Barbara have three children and five grandchildren.
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