Jerry Wexler on Atheism

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a doubter. Never – not for a hot minute – have I believed in God. A half-century after my bar mitzvah, I was producing Bob Dylan’s first gospel album. He had just been born again, and in an access of evangelism he pulled out the Bible and started to hit on me. When I told him to forget it, that he was dealing with a confirmed, sixty-three-year-old Jewish atheist, he cracked up.

Granted, my atheism may belong in the same package as my other prejudices. But my convictions, or lack thereof, are lifetime friends. They nourish and sustain me. They satisfy me. If my colleagues disagree, I tolerate their aberrations. I glory in my disbelief. Disbelief, at least for me, is a source of strength.

Wexler with Otis Redding
Yet I see myself as deeply spiritual. My feelings for literature, art, movies, food, and wine are all in vested with spirit. Above all, it’s in my feeling for music. Music has brought me joy; it has given me a beat and a groove, sent me down the righteous roads.


from Wexler’s autobiography, Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music.

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