A Case for Beneficent Religion

There is religion that is opposed to science, modernity, and reason — a religion that pretends and insists to know everything about the cosmos. It is a religion of authority and exclusivity; it is arrogant and tyrannical and ever jealous. It is a religion of fear and shame; of indescribable cruelty to the human spirit.

I understand how some have been driven to recant it. What could be more reasonable than to reject this plague?

But there is religion that is not any of these. It is a religion of life, this life, and is a celebration of the world’s many wondrous beauties, the fair and the terrible. It adapts and evolves, according to nature, forming many hues and shapes and forms according to each place and time and people. And it isn’t new.

Should this type of religion be recanted, too?

Some have suggested that religion is the cause of all of our woes as a race. They aren’t entirely wrong on this, but they are still mistaken. Religion isn’t a monolith any more than, say, food is. We can’t talk about it in any meaningful, intelligent way without addressing the complexities.

We musn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say — especially when there are so many different babies you don’t even know about.


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