‘The religious offer is not a consolation at all, but a call to ever greater vulnerability.’

Having universal appeal: Jonathan Wooding on praying for atheists

'To pray is to bring your timely, resentful self before the silent and timeless dimension...' | Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel / Unsplash

Recently, I’ve been emailing with an old college friend. He’s an atheist. We disagree, naturally, over the future prospects for the religious person. He’s happy to describe Richard Dawkins’ arguments in The God Delusion as ‘sophisticated’, decisively the end of the religious endeavour. He feels offended if I suggest that this man, who wrote The Selfish Gene, hasn’t thought through the implications of the word ‘selfish’, or what that word says about our ordinary, everyday – our moral and mortal – instincts and needs.

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