Thompson was educated at Presentation College, Reading, and read history at Mansfield College, Oxford University, taking an MA in 1983. In 2003 he received his Ph.D in the sociology of religion from the London School of Economics for a thesis entitled, "The problem of the end : a sociological study of the management of apocalyptic belief at Kensington Temple, a London Pentecostal church, at the end of the millennium" on the management of apocalyptic belief in a London Pentecostal church. He was religious affairs correspondent of The Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 1994, and subsequently Editor-in Chief of the Catholic Herald. He remains a director of the Herald.
Thompson was a Saturday columnist for The Daily Telegraph from 2011, and the Blogs Editor of the Telegraph Media Group, with responsibility for editing and commissioning blogs on politics, religion, finance and culture. In June 2014, he left his posts at The Telegraph "in entirely amicable circumstances". On 5 August 2014, The Spectator announced that Thompson had been appointed associate editor.
He has written two books about apocalyptic belief and one about conspiracy theories or "counterknowledge", which he describes as "misinformation packaged to look like fact". His most recent book is The Fix: How Addiction is Invading our Lives and Taking Over Your World. He also writes a monthly column about classical music for the The Spectator.
- The End of Time: Faith and the Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium (University Press of New England, 1997) ISBN 9780874518498
- Loose Canon: A Portrait of Brian Brindley (ed) (Continuum, 2004) ISBN 9780826474186
- Waiting for Antichrist: Charisma and Apocalypse in a Pentecostal Church (Oxford University Press, 2005) ISBN 9780195178562
- Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History (Atlantic Books, 2008) ISBN 9781843546757
- The Fix: How Addiction is Invading our Lives and Taking Over Your World (Collins, 2012) ISBN 9780007436088
- "News in brief - Catholic school wins reprieve". The Daily Telegraph. 17 May 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Mansfield College Magazine - Winter 2008". University of Oxford. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Author profile - Damian Thompson". Atlantic Books. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- OCLC 500224286
- Bone, Victoria (21 January 2009). "Defending the faith, or prejudice?". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Alison Chung; Steph Oliver (15 January 2011). "Three Ex-Bishops Defect To Catholicism". Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Roy Greenslade "Daily Telegraph's Brogan departs as group seeks 40 new recruits", (Greenslade blog) The Guardian, 18 June 2014
- Jack Sommers "Telegraph Cuts High-Profile Journalists Benedict Brogan And Damian Thompson In Latest Cull", The Huffington Post, 18 June 2014
- Fraser Nelson "Changes to The Spectator’s editorial team", The Spectator (blog), 5 August 2014
- Lies, damn lies and 'counterknowledge', The Daily Telegraph, Jan 12, 2008
- Thompson, Damian (22 February 2012). "Are sleeping pills really that bad for your health?". Daily Telegraph
- Eisner, Robert (9 November 1997)."The Big Round One". New York Times.
- Knight, India (11 July 2004). "Like a fat blackbird". The Telegraph.