I’d like to share this little bit. It’s just about the only academic paper that has almost made me cry, and I don’t even quite know why; when I heard it delivered at last year’s American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego, most of my friends there didn’t think much of it. I guess it speaks in a special way to my experience. And not just because Jeff Stout, who now teaches at Princeton, got his B.A. in the same religious studies department at Brown that I did. More: he is a nonbeliever who has a truly deep respect for religiosity. Not necessarily that he wants belief himself, and not the content-free fluff that usually passes for “respect” these days. The guy is for-real interested in living in a society with people that believe different things than he. Please enjoy: The Folly of Secularism.
I’d also recommend his recent book, Democracy and Tradition.