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Malcolm Gladwell on finding faith

Larry King NowJul 29 '16

New York Times-bestselling author and social science writer Malcolm Gladwell explains how writing ‘David & Goliath’ renewed his sense of faith, and makes the case that we’re all in some sense searching for religion. 


Malcolm: Interesting question. Well I come from a very religious part of Canada, very religious community, and a very religious family.

Larry: What religion?

Malcolm: Well my parents were kind of mainstream protestants, Presbyterian but now my whole family is, are Mennonites.

Larry: Mennonites?

Malcolm: Yeah modern Mennonites, they're not old order Mennonites not riding around in buggies but and so I suppose I have - I don't think I ever lost it, but I have... I have a renewed appreciation for its role in my life now.

Larry: Were you an atheist for a time?

Malcolm: No, I was never I don't - like I said I don't think it was anything dramatic. It was really during the writing of my last book that I kind of began to take my own faith seriously.

Larry: What was your last book?

Malcolm: 'David and Goliath.' Because it was so much of 'David and Goliath' dealt with... in the course of reporting that book, I spent so much time thinking about religion, talking to very religious people, and I sort of witnessed the kind of gifts that faith brings people. And I was like, 'You know, this is just about the most powerful thing.'

Larry: Someone told me the other today, if you started a religion today, no one would buy it.

Malcolm: Oh really? I don't agree, actually.

Larry: Can't prove it.

Malcolm: Yeah, but look, so much about people believe in cannot be proved. I mean, uh, don't think there's any shortage of – I mean what I with one way of interpreting to my mind the way people behave in the modern world is there it is this endless, largely fruitless, search for substitutes for religion and when you remove faith from people's lives there is a void and they try desperately to fill it with something else. You know whether it's drugs, or yoga, or you know, I mean you name it there's only a number of religious substitutes people have.