Our Mother, Who Art in Heaven

Andrew Chapman for TIME

Reality checker For Pataki, all religious doctrine is "confused and outlandish"

Tamas Pataki hasn't burst into print for the purpose of weighing evidence. Having afforded religion what to his mind is its due—good sometimes comes from it; it can console people; it's been extremely popular through history—the Melbourne philosopher dismisses it as nonsense, "phantasy masquerading as knowledge." He then gets down to business, which is to try to account for how so many people, including highly intelligent ones, could believe in a transcendent, omnipotent, personal and solicitous God. There may be, he supposes, rational grounds for such a belief, but he can't think of any. So how does it take root in...

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