Breaking the Spell

The concept or, if one prefers, the “phenomenon” of religion is evidently somewhat indeterminate. It has clear instances: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and so on; but, and this is why “and so on” is not very helpful, there are less clear cases, such as Taoism, and progressively more doubtful ones, for example Falun Gong, the Aquarian Foundation, and Scientology.

The Web site lists more than four thousand “...

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About the Author

John Haldane is director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author of An Intelligent Person's Guide to Religion (Duckworth) and Faithful Reason: Essays Catholic and Philosophical (Routledge).

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