While once an ardent critic of religion, the philosopher Stephen Asma came to a more nuanced appreciation of it as a necessary part of human life, even if he did not himself become a believer. “Such a non-conversion to ‘religion,’” Nick Spencer writes, often leads to a “patronizing exercise in religious non-defense.” Asma, however, achieves something more substantive in his book Why We Need Religion, as Spencer writes in his review:
A Secular Philosopher Manages to Go Beyond the Platitudes about Religion
British Universities Have Become Safe Spaces for Anti-Semitism
Last month, David Miller, a sociology professor at Bristol University, attracted the attention of the Anglo-Jewish press with a rant about the supposed danger posed to civic and campus life by Zionists. Such rhetoric is nothing new for Miller, who has argued—in his academic work as well as in other contexts—that campus Jewish societies are in the employ of a nefarious “Israel lobby,” and that interfaith activities involving Jewish and Muslim communities are “a Trojan horse for normalizing Zionism.” He is likewise convinced that Bashar al-Assad’s mass slaughter of his own people is a hoax perpetrated by a similarly nefarious conspiracy. Unsurprisingly, David Hirsh observes, Miller also believes complaints of anti-Semitism are Isra made in bad faith.