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Religion! What Is It Good For?

Religion! What Is It Good For? Absolutely nothing? Perhaps not. Michael Prowse, a lifelong atheist (and Financial Times columnist even!) had this to say in an article for Prospect:
"Having accepted that meanings are always contestable, I have found myself more able to focus on what religious people do, and less on what they say. Are they "better" people than the irreligious? Of course not. Are they better people than they would be were they not religious? Probably, and this is what counts for me.".
Meanwhile, another atheist, Jared Diamond, writing (brilliantly, as the author of Guns, Germs and Steel always does) in the current New York Review of Books, addresses religion in a (let us say) more scientific way and, though more sceptical, leaves a similar question mark hanging. So, in a nutshell: can there be something in (or about) religion for atheists too?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 29, 2002 - 142 comments

Why Do Marriages Last?

Why Do Marriages Last? Amidst all the psychobabble and religious dogmatics you find on this subject, I found Robyn Parker's review of the relevant literature to be useful, wise and true. After all, aren't the rules of a lasting relationship, whatever your gender or sexuality, the same that govern friendship, loyalty, companionship and fun? Is marriage the secretive exception it's made out to be? Are there really any rules we don't instinctively, from about the age of seven, already know? As some Rabbi once said, the three words that most often save a marriage are not I love you. They are, in fact: I was wrong. Not that easy; but not that difficult either...
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 18, 2002 - 36 comments

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