Steven, amazing, isn't it, that people can complete the 8th grade and not begin to think about the differences between religion and understanding of science? Indoctrination runs deeply in the minds of some. I experience religion as too small to explain all that interests me. Those old stories are interesting; I like to learn the stories of Native American cultures, and African, Greek, Irish and German ... well I could name cultures from each continent that interests me. They tell of ancient peoples trying to understand that which they cannot explain. Creating explanations for feelings seem to be a characteristic of Homo sapiens.
I am the family genealogist and thought we had a line of African slaves in our tree. It turned out I had the wrong person, he was not in our line. Sadly ... however, knowing that we are all Africans pleases me no end. Perhap some day another source of humans will become known, however I strongly doubt it. The conditions were right for the evolution to begin the process and continue on through you and me and all of us.
I am a great fan of J. Anderson Thomson and have not read "Why we believe in god(s). Thank you for the reference. I just ordered it for my Kindle. I can expect to be engrossed in reading it for the next few days.
I think art, literature, and music will provide a necessary guide for us as we formulate new economic and political systems. Our underlying problems are systems problems and we can't reach healthy resolution if we try to tinker with the religious, political, and economic systems under which we currently try to survive. We need imagination, experimentation, exploration, and all those fine qualities to push aside the attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values that lock us into domination and greed. A brand new paradigm is emerging. There will be great resistance, but hey, what else is new?
Ruth provides many very good ideas and I read her posts faithfully. Many others on this site have insight, offering ideas so badly needed in this age of corruption.
Steven, I just read Andy Thomson's book "Why we believe in god(s)". A great book some really fine examples to illustrate his meaning. One paragraph that gives me hope:
"As you read this there are dedicated researchers at work who continue to harness modern neuroscience to explore how our brains generate, accept, and spread religious beliefs. They will build on the work just described and one day they will give us a comprehensive neuroanatomy of religious belief in the brain. Count on it.
~ Thomson Jr. MD, J. Anderson; Aukofer, Clare (2011-06-01). Why We Believe in God(s) - A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith (Kindle Locations 1122-1124). Pitchstone Publishing. Kindle Edition.