Atheist Susan Sontag Born On This Day…



From The Freethinker, UK

SUSAN Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist, publishing her first major work, the essay “Notes on ‘Camp'”, in 1964.

Her best known works include On PhotographyAgainst InterpretationStyles of Radical WillThe Way We Live Now, Illness as MetaphorRegarding the Pain of OthersThe Volcano Lover and In America.

Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travellng to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. The New York Review of Books called her “one of the most influential critics of her generation”.

In “Sontag’s Atheism” a blogger called “Kathryn” wrote:

“Recently I heard an interview on Fresh Air with David Rieff, son of Susan Sontag, that explored his memoir about her death from cancer. Susan Sontag was an atheist, and this was a point of some discussion during the interview. Mr Rieff was asked if his mother had considered, as she was dying, embracing some sort of faith. At the end of life, so many people are comforted by their faith, the interviewer, Terry Gross, noted.

“Mr Rieff replied that his mother was not agnostic, she was an atheist. She truly didn’t believe in any continuation. She took religion way too seriously, he said, to think that she could embrace it at the last minute to get a sense of relief.

In a piece entitled “Susan Sontag’s Final Wish” Rief, a distinguished author in his own right, said: “Well, I’m an atheist too; if anything, more militant than my mother. I think it would have been grotesque of my mother to have become a person of faith purely in the interest of consoling herself. Surely, that would have been the most terrible therapeutic use of faith, and a disgrace in terms of faith. You shouldn’t start to believe because it suits you.”