Talk about the assignment of the century: For his previous book, The Geography of Bliss, former NPR correspondent Eric Weiner hotfooted the globe in search of true happiness. In Man Seeks God, Weiner—a witty writer with the insatiable curiosity of a child—embarks on a less hedonistic journey for spiritual revelation after a nurse in a hospital asks him, “Have you found your God yet?”
Find God Weiner doesn’t. Whether twirling with dervishes in Turkey, shaving his legs with Raëlians in Las Vegas, or conjuring animal spirits with a shaman in Beltsville, his interests lie more in what religion offers (“I am fascinated by Tantra”) and requires (“Yes, the Franciscans are tremendous moochers”) than in putting faith in dogmas: “The cold fact is I don’t believe any of these gods or goddesses actually exist.” It’s an approach that feels borderline inappropriate, given that Weiner is dealing with matters of the soul, not the stock market.
Weiner’s search, come to find out, has been hamstrung by his own cynicism. It makes you wonder what he might have discovered had he arrived at his conclusion at the start rather than the tail end of his journey.
This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.