If the devout Christian had been brought up in a completely different
environment — among aboriginal Australians or in a Hindu community, say —
that person would believe radically different doctrines, and, moreover,
come to believe them in a completely parallel fashion. On what basis, then, can you distinguish the profound truth of your doctrines from the misguided ideas of alternative traditions?
It is possible to reject all religious doctrines as false without dismissing religion itself as noxious rubbish.
Refined religion sees the fundamental religious attitude not as belief
in a doctrine but as a commitment to promoting the most enduring values.
That commitment is typically embedded in social movements — the
faithful come together to engage in rites, to explore ideas and ideals
with one another and to work cooperatively for ameliorating the
conditions of human life.
needs of others, treating people as valuable without supposing that the
value derives from some allegedly higher source. The supposed
“transcendent” toward which the world’s religions gesture is both a
distraction and a detour.