I’m wondering if you’ve gotten any reaction to your book from the neo-atheists. Have you heard from Hitchens or Dawkins or Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith?

No. I’ve never spoken with Hitchens. I met Harris and Dawkins before my book. I have things I’d like to argue with them about, and I’m available.

What would you tell them?

I would, first of all, say that I think attributing all the problems in the world to religion can have unfortunate political consequences, because it makes us ill-inclined to address grievances and defuse tensions. Dawkins has said that if not for religion there would be no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you believe that, then Obama needn’t bother trying to stop the settlements. We know religion isn’t going away. So if the problem is religion, why make the effort to improve the facts on the ground?