I have a brief essay on this topic in today’s WSJ. Sample:
If there is one agreed-upon point in the current war of words about religion, it is that religion is a very powerful force. Perhaps you believe, with that vigorous atheist Christopher Hitchens, that “religion poisons everything”; or, with the Christian historian and sociologist Rodney Stark, that religion created modern science and ended slavery. Or, like a significant majority of the British public recently polled by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that religion is a “social evil,” a “cause of conflict and confusion.” But in any case you’re likely to think that, for good or ill, the sheer impact of religion is enormous.
Is it, though? Was Alan Wolfe right to emphasize, in a recent article in The Atlantic, the “unique fervor that religion inspires”? I have my doubts, and they begin with personal experience.
Check it out if you dare.