In Seven Types of Atheism, the English philosopher John Gray—an atheist himself—argues that most unbelievers have merely replaced faith in God with faith in something else, afraid or unable to admit the arbitrariness of the universe. Isaac Inkeles, while praising the book as “lucid and stunningly erudite,” also points to its deficiencies:
Uncertainty about Human Meaning Need Not Lead to a Meaningless Life
At America’s Best Universities, Biblical Religion Is a Curiosity, if Not a Menace
At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.