Okay last post for the day...
A while back I spoke with a friend who used to be a church pastor but who now does one-on-one (psychological) counseling with people. I asked her which one she preferred. "Oh being a counselor is soooo much better than being a pastor!" she said. Surprised, I asked her why. She explained that when people come to church, they are looking to sit back and be entertained. When someone goes for counseling, they are looking to do work, they are looking to grow and change and become a better person.
That conversation has really stuck with me because it rings true from my experience.
And it got me wondering whether perhaps, the purpose of religion is NOT to help people become more ethical, but rather to make people feel righteous about stuff they are already doing (usually homophobia, male domination, reinforcing the status quo, etc.)
Because really when you think about it, religious people are some of the LEAST ethical people in society. Ask any waitress in America about the horrible tips from people who come to brunch straight from church and you'll see what I'm talking about. And people who really want to grow, who really want to challenge themselves, and who really want to change who they are to become better people -- almost always go see a counselor/therapist to help them get there. It's really quite fascinating.