There is an optimism, and an idealism about a lot of the anti-religious writing, which expresses itself in the idea that 'if we could just get rid of these irrational superstitions from human society, then we will rise above it and we will become reasonable, peace-loving liberal individuals.' But I think that is an illusion, and there's no real evidence for that. We are in a way disguising the real source of these problems, if we think there is just one big explanation, which is the evils of religion and superstition.
Philosopher Tim Crane explains what atheists miss when they view religion from the outside - from the personal and social meanings of faith beyond the cosmological or historical, to the realities of a deep commitment to perceiving the transcendent, in this world and perhaps a world beyond.
Tim is author of The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View from Harvard University Press.