To Lobdell, it began to seem not just that religious institutions were no better than secular ones, but that sometimes they were much worse. After all, school systems and Little Leagues don’t defend molesters as tenaciously as the Catholic Church did, and parents aren’t as reluctant to believe the worst about teachers and coaches. It was precisely the cultivation of religious awe — with its traditions, rituals and ceremonies — that made priests seem holy, and thus allowed so much evil to go unreported or disbelieved.
I think really that's the paradox of our present moment: religious people in society think they are significantly MORE moral than the rest of society and AT THE SAME TIME secular people believe (and indeed have ample evidence to prove) that they are significantly MORE moral than religious people. Both sides claim a higher morality and think the other are a bunch of neanderthals. That's what I was trying to get at with my "I and Thou" post last summer (which continues to be one of my all time favorite posts).
The NY Times gives away the first chapter of the book for free (here).
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