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This paper looks to examine the closely connected themes of God’s existence, suffering and the goodness of the world in the work of American novelist, short-story writer, essayist and poet, John Updike, who died earlier this year. The text that structures the discussion is the syllogism he sets out in his semi-autobiographical work, Self-consciousness, which captures the thematic core of so much of his thought on these themes: viz, “If God does not exist, the world is a horror show; but the world is not a horror-show; therefore, God exists”. The discussion interweaves Updike with a various other conversation partners, in particular the late cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, and contemporary philosopher, William Desmond.


School of Philosophy

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access