The hypocrisy of religion can no better be illustrated than in the support given to Donald Trump by religious zealots across America. Never has there been a more vulgar person to run for the office of President; never before has there been such a mean-spirited trickster at the summit of world power. You’d think maybe someone with a background in religion might well have dismissed such a person out of hand. You would only think that because you misunderstand the nature of religion.
Religion has nothing to do with getting us to live better lives. It has everything to do with tribal identification and the successful exclusion of those who do not belong to the tribe.
The short and long of it is this: You, too, can become loved by evangelicals. All you have to do is say you’re one of them. You don’t have to act nice, you don’t have to do anything different. It helps if you donate lots of money, but really, just tell them they’re right and you totally agree with them. This warms the cockles of their hearts, and makes tribal affiliation official. They feel more and more justified in their religious convictions with every new member.
One day, religion will be seen for what it is: a remnant of simian behavior that has to be discarded as we move forward from animal to human. Or, as Nathan put it in Lessing’s Nathan der Weise: “Unsere Aufgabe is dies: einen Schritt weiter zu tun von Tier zum Menschen.”