Featured Archives

Archival excerpts:

Religion and Insanity (December 1857)
by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
In the magazine’s second issue, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., the son of a Calvinist clergyman, poked fun at the rigid orthodoxy of Calvinism and similar religions, suggesting that intelligent people subjected to such harsh beliefs tended to go crazy in self-defense.

The Persistence of Faith (February 1948)
by Reinhold Neibuhr
As the twentieth century neared its midpoint, the Protestant theologian and political thinker Reinhold Niebuhr argued that however much humanity might advance technically, scientifically, and intellectually, it would never outgrow its need for religious sustenance.

The Efficacy of Prayer (January 1959)
by C. S. Lewis
In 1959, the British scholar and novelist C. S. Lewis—a devout Christian and the author of The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia, among other books—took up the question of whether prayer really works.

Among the Believers (July 1981)
by V. S. Naipaul
In 1979, in the midst of the Islamic revolution, the novelist V. S. Naipaul set out for Iran to try to gain an understanding of the Islamic world. Two years later, he chronicled his observations in The Atlantic. In the passage below, he recalls walking through the city of Tehran with his nonreligious Iranian interpreter, Behzad.

Kicking the Secularist Habit (March 2003)
by David Brooks
A year and a half after 9/11, the columnist David Brooks construed the attacks as proof of the resurgence of religious fervor in modern life.