letters | a notion of God for atheists?

Religion is more than just ‘worldview’ — and Western

While I often find the essays of James Carroll stimulating, the essay “Earnest atheists look for God” (Op-ed, Sept. 16) is a disappointment for its failure to conceptualize religion adequately and in its global diversity. While Carroll points out virtues he finds in Ronald Dworkin’s book, “Religion Without God,” he unfortunately imports its ethnocentric assumptions and its inadequate definition of religion.

Neither Dworkin nor Carroll seem to be interested in going further than the “God-talk” of Western monotheisms, and so fail to consider the religious worlds of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, most indigenous religions, and much of Hinduism. Further, in accepting “worldview” as defining religion, both fail to consider the equally important dimension of practice, the rituals and exercises that express and realize religious worldviews.


Carroll thereby fails to take the full measure of what it means for the state to ask students who are not from monotheistic traditions to repeat “under God” in the ritual practice of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Todd Lewis


The writer is a professor of world religions at Holy Cross.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com