Thanks for that inclusive, thought provoking article.
I think this is a much more important issue than often acknowledged.
As an Engineer, sometimes responsible for designing things “Safe”, I use similar principles to analyse my own views about religion.
The main one of those is “If the outcome is unacceptable, then the risk is unacceptable”
Death is unacceptable of course, so we should try to design things with that consideration first and foremost, to avoid any risk of death, especially of humans, although lately we are seeing many cases where that consideration is obviously coming second to making profit.
So if we are responsible, we might look at what are the consequences of things, including religion.
It seems to me religion is often identified as something causing, or intrumental in loss of life, rarely as something preserving life, keeping peace.
And yet religion is what all law and order was originally based on.
Would we be safer if we never had law and order?
Probably not, we would probably be already extinct.
Accepting that, and analysing the outcomes of late stage capitalism, we might notice there is something of a correlation between profit, and preservation of life, specifically that they are inverse, if we are honest.
Those of us materially gaining at the expense of others, by our own actions, including even at massive costs of the lives of others, seem to be able to create an illusion which convinces firstly ourselves, but also others, that there is no harm in what we do.
At the root of this appears belief, or absence of it, in religion, it seems to me.
The real question we should be asking is “Should we, or should we not believe in ancient rules, apparently left for us by some kind(s) of higher intelligence?”
When we look at the consequences of the outcomes of each case, it looks overwhelmingly like we really should, as far as I can tell.
Having made that decision for ourselves, we might then move onto seriously considering what might be the true nature of that higher intelligence with a more open mind.
When we do that, the possibilities become quite fascinating, with massive consequence to most things we thought we knew when blinded by profit, I would say, leading us to question many of the values of modern mainstream science amongst other things, examining all things for traces of being driven by profit.
For tiny example, Occam’s razor, appears actually a profit driven instrument, dictating that we should waste no time considering things with a complex outcome, by which there appears no route to profit, such as religion.
In fact, the sole warning of all religions cryptically decoded, begins to look like simply a warning about profit. There, all religions appear to agree.
We might take that as a kind of self verifying truth, or not.
Doing so invites us to ask questions of, and speculate about our own true nature, and what we are really descended from, even providing logical explanation for such things as why we each have a constant internal conflict between animal instinct, and human logic.
Animal territorial instinct makes us able to kill without remorse, for entirely selfish reasons.
Human logic is capable painting that as good, bad, or indifferent, depending on what we believe.
More, our human logic is even capable of enabling us to destroy ourselves, both individually and collectively.
So it might occur that it is the human logic part that appears to need rules. Rules not already in us by genetic inheritance.
Of course there has to be reasonable explanation for that also.
The remainder is easily deduced, when we look at scientific observations of the nature of genetic modification, and the indications of it, in human genetic history, I think.
We were given those ancient rules for good reason, I would say.