According to the Guardian in the UK, Chomsky ranks with Marx, Shakespeare and the Bible as one of the 10 most quoted sources in the humanities — and is the only writer among them still alive.” Even one of his staunchest critics, the philosopher Hilary Putnam, acknowledged that reading Chomsky was to be “struck by a sense of great intellectual power; one knows one is encountering an extraordinary mind”, whose virtues included originality and scorn for the faddish and superficial” He is universally accepted as the preeminent public intellectual of the modern era. Noam Chomsky is an Atheist.
The Chomsky Reader recounts a discussion where Noam was asked, “Is not debate limited by a general lack of belief in alternatives to how we live?” To which he replied, it’s very hard to get to the point where you can even discuss alternatives until you first peel away layer after layer of myth and illusion.” Visit his website and read his books. He makes sense in a world where little real sense is being made.
It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies . . . as for the various religions, there’s no doubt that they are very meaningful to adherents, and allow them to delude themselves into thinking there is some meaning to their lives beyond what we agree is the case.
I’d never try to talk them out of the delusions, which are necessary for them to live a life that makes some sense to them.