Um trecho do fantástico - e mais recente - livro de Philip Roth. Trata-se de parte do diálogo entre o protagonista, Marcus Messner, e um dos vice-reitores do Winesburg College, aonde ele fora se refugiar de um pai excessivamente protetor. Aquela que deveria ser uma instituição laica, obrigava todos os alunos a assistirem a sermões e cerimônias francamente cristãs. É sobre isto que Marcus fala:
" [...] I don't see where the college has the right to force me to listen to a clergyman of whatever faith even once, or to listen to a Christian hymm involking the Christian deity even once, givem that I am an atheist who is, to be truthful, deeply offended by the practices and beliefs of organized religion." Now I couldn't stop myself, weakened as I felt. "I do not need the sermons of professional moralist to tell me how I should act. I certainly don't need any God to tell me how. I am altogether capable of leading a moral existence without crediting beliefs that are impossible to substantiate and beyond credulity, that, to my mind, are nothing more than fairy tales for children held by adults, and with no more foundation in fact than a belief in Santa Claus. I take it you are familiar, Dean Caudwell, with the writings of Bertrand Russel. Bertrand Russel, the distinguished British mathematician and philosopher, was last year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the works of literature for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize is a widely read essay first deliveres as a lecture in 1927 entitled, 'Why I Am Not a Christian.' Are you familiar with that essay, sir?"O ensaio em questão é aquele parcialmente reproduzido aqui.