We need to help each other remember that we are not alone, we are here with each other. We can witness each other's struggles, hold each other's hands. We need to remember that it is hard all around, that we can all lift our voices together and make the worst of it better. Religion is going to keep being a part of that. Why give up the beautiful buildings and the tax exemption? As time goes on I think we are going to get better at facing what we actually believe and integrating that into the rituals and meditations that we do. There have been many religions that functioned well (gave people solace, helped them bear their lives, and led them to celebrate) without any supernaturalism. I think this may be where we are headed.


Jennifer Michael Hecht teaches writing at The New School. She is the author of award-winning books of philosophy, history, and poetry, including Doubt: A History (HarperCollins, 2003), The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology (Columbia University, 2003), and The Next Ancient World. Her most recent collection of poems, Funny, won the University of Wisconsin's 2005 Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, and Publisher's Weekly called it "one of the most original and entertaining books of the year." Her book reviews appear in the New York Times and Washington Post.