The principal alternatives to religious belief are commonly thought to be atheism and agnosticism. This has been especially true in recent years, as such figures as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have revived the Enlightenment critique of religion and breathed fresh life into unbelief as a fighting creed.
As liberal democracy spreads across more and more of the globe, the influence of John Rawls seems likely to spread. Rawls, who died on November 24 at age 82, wrote the 20th century’s most complete philosophical defense of that form of government. He takes his place with political thinkers from Locke and Jefferson to Bentham and Mill who shaped the Anglo-American vision of liberalism.