Religion as road maps

“Religions are like different maps whose routes all lead to the collective good of society. Some maps take their followers over rugged terrain. Other maps have easier paths. Some of the travelers of each route will be assigned the job of being the protectors and interpreters of the map. They will teach the young to respect it and be suspicious of other maps.

“Okay,” I said, “but who made the maps in the first place?”

“The maps were made by the people who went first and didn’t die. The maps that survive are the ones that work,” he said.

At last, he had presented a target for me to attack. “Are you saying that all the religions work? What about all the people who have been killed in religious wars?”

“You can’t judge the value of a thing by looking only at costs. In many countries, more people die from hospital errors than religious wars, but no one accuses hospitals of being evil. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people. From society’s viewpoint, religion works.”

— From God’s Debris by Scott Adams

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