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The rationality of an illusion - Taner Edis

Taner Edis is the author of one of the best books on atheism to have come out in recent years - The Ghost in the Universe. He has recently placed an excellent article on, which considers the question of why so many people evidently need to believe in religion.

The supernatural may be an illusion, but we will never understand religion if we conceive of it as a failure of rationality. Most people still have supernatural hopes, even in a time when the priests have lost their old influence and there are more opportunities than ever to be skeptical about the gods. This continuing appeal makes better sense when we see religion not as a consolation for weak minds, but as eminently pragmatic, even as a rational approach to the problems of life. Religion may not be a perfect rationality, and not all forms of religiosity are useful, but then we cannot claim perfection either.

I think this is one of the central questions for our age. Atheists such as Marghanita Laski and Iris Murdoch recognized the importance of religion and so do I, which is why you will find so many reviews of books about atheism on my website.

Edis's article: The rationality of an illusion


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