Mark Lilla, formerly of the University of Chicago and now of Columbia University, previewed his forthcoming book The Stillborn God in this weekend’s New York Times magazine. (No wonder he moved away; can you imagine trying to publish something this intelligent anywhere in the Tribune?) Some of the questions he tackles: Why hasn’t religion melted away like it was supposed to, and why is fanatical religion so much more attractive than the milquetoast liberal kind, and what is to be done?

“Quixote” at Shakespeare’s Sister thinks he missed the point — religion’s just the hot air spewed by power-hungry politicians, Ahmadinejad, Bush, whoever.

I think Quixote missed the point, which is, why is a certain kind of religion still useful to the power-hungry? But the debate’s off to a good start.