“Hooked on Heaven Lite” – what is the proper role of religion?

Today’s NY Times Op-Ed page included a fascinating essay by David Brooks about the proper role of religion: “Hooked on Heaven Lite”.

From the essay:

I worry about Albom [author of The Five People You Meet In Heaven]more, because while religious dogmatism is always a danger, it is less of a problem for us today than the soft-core spirituality that is its opposite.

I’ve had some similar thoughts lately. While I’m on the opposite side of many issues commonly championed by the most vocal of my religous brethren (gay rights, birth control, and sex education in the schools come to mind), I respect many of them for the role they choose for religion in their lives. Religion challenges them to be better people (at least in the context of their own religion).

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