Spirituality is many things to many people, but whether it’s held close and private or preached to the masses it’s intensely personal, as evidenced in Cathleen Falsani’s new book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Falsani, the religion writer for the Sun-Times, has collected 32 interviews on the subject with a wide range of famous folk including Bono, Hugh Hefner, and Mancow (he loves Jesus). Senator Barack Obama, a Christian, says like a true politician, “I believe there are many paths to the same place”–a view shared by filmmaker David Lynch, a TM practitioner, who says, “I think that all the great religions are like rivers. Each one is beautiful, and they all flow into one ocean.” Cubs manager Dusty Baker states that he’s seen prayer work miracles; Studs Terkel, an agnostic, proclaims, “I’m a fan of religion. I don’t think it’ll suffer the fate of the Cubs, but I’m a fan.” But most interesting among Falsani’s subjects are those who struggle with doubt yet still believe. Says Elie Wiesel, “I have better arguments against faith than for faith. . . . And I choose faith.” Economist Jeffrey Sachs, who has developed a plan to end world poverty, and forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee, who’s worked at mass graves in Bosnia, prove that you don’t have to believe in a higher power to have a finely tuned moral compass. Falsani will be joined at this appearance by Terkel to discuss his chapter in the book. Tue 3/14, 7 PM, Borders, 830 N. Michigan, 312-573-0564.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Paul Natkin.