Discussion by: sparkytwobillionI’ve been thinking quite a while about how to phrase my question. The unfortunate events in Sandy Hook Connecticut allowed my question to solidify.
During a news cast on the event a reporter was speaking with a pastor from a local church in Sandy Hook. The general thrust of his point was that they were doing what they needed to do to help their community heal from this horrid tragedy.
Regardless of belief, I think it is fair to say that a community that experiences this sort of tragedy needs to heal. The social institution that religion is often fulfills the social role of helping a community deal with tragedies and even individual families deal with personal tragedies which are not of broad scope, such as a death in the family, or a house burning down.
The moon beams and pixie dust part of a religion are not just useless but I dare to say harmful, yet religions fulfill several social roles which are necessary for a functioning community.
I hope I’ve set the context for the question clearly enough. The question or questions rather are, how do we disentangle the moon beams and pixie dust from the helpful if not at times necessary social roles that are currently being fulfilled by religion? Is it even possible to do so or do we have to trash the whole lot and build secular social institutions from scratch?