English

Why we all love minorities (and want to be one)

Who wants to belong to a minority? Who wants to feel left out or marginalized, merely because you are different from the mainstream, or because your hold unpopular views? Who would want to wage a lonely battle against a crushing orthodoxy? Actually, it turns out that a lot of people would. Many of us cherish and celebrate minorities, and would… Lees verder »Why we all love minorities (and want to be one)

Disbelief in belief

A man walking in the forest at night arrives at a house with lights burning inside. Looking through the window, he sees people jumping frantically and flailing about. Poor fellows, thinks the man: they are having seizures, or they must be terribly ill, or they have become insane. What the man doesn’t hear is the music playing inside. The people… Lees verder »Disbelief in belief

Is religion a stumbling block to integration?

I want to argue in favor of the motion that religion constitutes a stumbling block to integration. By this I mean: integration in our modern, secular, liberal, democratic order. I will distinguish two types of reasons: one concerns some fundamental features of religion as a cultural phenomenon. The other reason has to do with the vagaries of history and sheer… Lees verder »Is religion a stumbling block to integration?

Can Evolution get us off the Hook? The Ecology Apology

In the opening lines of his essay ‘An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish‘, Bertrand Russell wrote that ‘Man is a rational animal – so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it’. Russell’s cry of despair… Lees verder »Can Evolution get us off the Hook? The Ecology Apology

Were you Charlie?

Praise to all the newspapers who had the guts to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on their front page. There were far too few of them. A couple of hours after the horrible attack in Paris, I was still hoping for a Charlie Effect: “If you kill someone for a cartoon, you will see it reprinted the next day in… Lees verder »Were you Charlie?

Open Letter to Liberal Muslims

(first published in De Morgen on Sep 13, translated and extended) Dear liberal Muslim, I address this open letter to all of you who profess a tolerant and peaceful Islam; who have no wish to impose their religious views on others; who are prepared to live in peace with Christians, atheists, Hindus and Jews; who endorse the bedrock principles of a… Lees verder »Open Letter to Liberal Muslims