Friedrich Nietzsche

Was Nietzsche Right About Religion?
The ghost at the atheist feast
March 21, 2014

Two new books about the ghost at the atheist feast

Another Kind of Atheism
May 11, 2010

About 2-1/2 years ago I wrote an essay for TNR in which I criticized the so-called new atheists (primarily Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens). A few months later, I followed up with a critical take on Bill Maher’s Religulous. In both cases, my focus was politics. There was, I argued, something deeply illiberal about the new atheists’ intolerant hostility to the spiritual beliefs of their fellow citizens. I still believe that, as readers of my forthcoming book will discover.

Governor Moonbeam vs. eMeg
April 02, 2010

It's obvious that the Golden State isn’t golden anymore. As a new transplant here, the first state political event I watched up close was a May 2009 special election, featuring six ballot initiatives designed to avert a titanic budget crisis. California’s voters responded with what can best be described as snarling apathy. Turnout was 20 percent, which beat the previous California record for low turnout in a statewide election. The five initiatives that dealt with spending and revenue—which needed to pass in order to implement a major fiscal comprom ise—all went down, hard.

Supposing Truth Is Ugly -- What Then?
February 07, 2009

The debate between orthodox religion and atheism goes on and on and on. In observing the argument, what strikes me more and more is not the deep divide separating the believers from the unbelievers -- not their radically incompatible views of truth -- but rather what they both share. Each side in the clash between reason and revelation follows Plato's Socrates in assuming that truth is good for human beings, and also that it is in some sense beautiful. Philosophers nearly always believe this, and so do modern scientists.

The Morning or the Night
November 05, 2008

Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic By Ingrid D. Rowland (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 352 pp., $29) I. 'To philosophize is to learn to die": seven words, and an epoch in Western thought.