It seems to me that " the religious institution" has replaced the gods. It appears that what has become the forefront of religious radicalism is not the guiding principles of the deities, but what the religious institution represents.
To be religious, for example a christian, implies exclusive entitlement to the realms of morality and ethics.
A friend of mine experience an event that describes what I mean. A woman was shopping at her store, the woman claimed to had an issue with a product she had bought. She presented a receipt, but the receipt did not match the product. The store manger figured out she was trying to scam the store into giving back money for something she had not originally paid for, the item in her hand was fresh off the showroom floor not something she was actually returning from a previous purchase. So when she was confronted by the store manager, she exclaimed, "I am a Christian and I do not steal!"
So in her defense she states that because she is a christian, we are to assume that she is righteous.
Its like saying, "I am christian therefore I am moral, ethical and just, therefore I can do no wrong, deserve no judgment or punishment and you must explicitly trust me."
I think I would have believed her more had she used a passage of scripture from the new testament. Something that describes why it is immoral to steal.
I wonder if this has something to do with the Dominion Movement? There's some radical whack jobs, Sara Palin's club of elitist Christians.
I also wonder if this is why most court rooms don't make you swear on a bible anymore, meaning that the judicial system does not put credence in the honesty of someone claiming to be a religious adhearent.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.