People often do a poor job of discerning both the positive and the negative that religion accomplishes.
The good surely includes an integrated social life for adults and a support system for the elderly and other marginalized in society.
Ceremonial rituals and sacraments offer a kind of guarantee or insurance against the difficulties and fears of life.
Religion offers a consistent approach to “first things,” such as dating and marriage, childbirth and child-rearing, and the end of life.
Finally, churches provide a method for achieving ethical goodness based on service to others.
On the other hand, the social ties of the church are often too close to give a full understanding of cultures and communities.
The sacraments often regress from the celebration of spiritual progress to a substitution for such progress.
Religion often consciously isolates its members from civil society, and some churches claim to be a viable substitute for law and government.
Finally, religious separation often leaves individuals without the full range of tools necessary to ensure personal safety, health and well-being.
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