Economic Growth and the Rise of Religion

An intriguing thought, trigger by this Atlantic article, “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Being Jewish“: What is religion is now a luxury good? Consider the following: Marx called religion the opiate of the masses.  During an era in which life was brutish, nasty, and short, focusing one’s attention on a glorious afterlife made a lot of … Continue reading Economic Growth and the Rise of Religion

Culture is never neutral

As you know, I’m a big advocate of working on the culture of your startup.  The instant you start your company, you’re starting to build the culture, and the decisions you make in the garage days are likely to reverberate for years to come, even if your company grows by orders of magnitude. But far … Continue reading Culture is never neutral

Faith = Acceptance

I’ve long been fascinated by religion.  The research is clear that religion can have a major impact on happiness and community–one of the reasons that Ben Casnocha and I have always talked about the need for a secular church that can fill that role for secular humanists. Yet in some ways, belief and atheism aren’t … Continue reading Faith = Acceptance

Faith, Community, Friendship, and Imperfection

Religion is a controversial topic. Not only do believers and atheists have strong (and opposing) feelings on the subject, but there because it hinges on the question of faith, by definition it is difficult to draw conclusions based on empirical evidence (my favorite mode of thinking). I know two things that are definitely true. The … Continue reading Faith, Community, Friendship, and Imperfection

What Hannibal Can Teach Religion

Economist Tyler Cowen had this to say about the struggles that religions face in our modern society: For most mainstream religions, for most urban and suburban intellectuals circa 2012, it is hard to live a religiously observant life during the ages of say 17-25. American religion is left with late convert intellectuals and proponents of … Continue reading What Hannibal Can Teach Religion

“There is actually no such thing as atheism” (David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech)

Ben points to this wonderfully trenchant commencement speech from author David Foster Wallace. It’s probably the most honest and least sentimental commencement speech I remember reading. I only wish I could write like this. In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing … Continue reading “There is actually no such thing as atheism” (David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech)

The Problem With Religion

For years now, I have been promising to write about religion. While I have touched on the subject before, especially in the context of positive psychology, I have never dealt with it directly. Until now. The Economist’s recent special report on religion does a fantastic job of taking a balanced, reasoned look at the role … Continue reading The Problem With Religion