. . .is the Best Case against Religion.
From my many years IN the Church and my many years OUT of the Church I’ve learned what is Good and what is Not So Good in this human hot potato called Religion or Faith.
The Best Case FOR Religion is: it binds people into a tight community of like-minded people who have a sense of belonging and a commitment to what is good and right
The Best Case AGAINST Religion is: it binds people into a tight community of like-minded people who have a sense of belonging and a commitment to what is good and right
Explanation: In breaking down this apparent dilemma, we need to break down the terms and ask some hard questions.
Which “people” are we talking about? What social grouping, culture, nationality, geography is represented?
Is there an “Us and Them” mentality?
How “tight” (proscribed) is this community and what does “community” mean? Is the “binding” restrictive to conscience? Is this “community” inclusive, welcoming, willing to change? In other words, is it alive or stagnant? Is it a bubbling stream or a choked pond?
How much does “like-minded” mean NOT freethinking with a diversity of opinion? Is conformity paramount?
Is the “sense of belonging” coerced by clergy, scriptures or other “higher authority”? Is it merely social convention? Is there an “insular” feeling of being protected from “the world outside”?
Is the “commitment” freely chosen from alternatives or determined by what is ordered in creed or holy book? Is participation expected by peer pressure?
Is the “good and right” pre-decided by (supernatural) authorities or rationally chosen from alternatives within each local context? Are the values expressed a true, pragmatic basis for life, for social action?
Does “right belief” trump right action?
Does one particular community, bound together with common values, tend to believe they are right, their god and holy books are the true and best and all others (other communities of faith and no faith) are deficient or wrong?
“Considering this range of alternatives, one thing that comes to mind is how striking it is that when someone has a religious-conversion experience, it is almost always to the religion or one of the religions that are mainly believed in his or her community. Because there are so many other possibilities.”
~Carl Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience
The description of this new book by an ex-Muslim seems to make the case fairly well