Too many religious groups promote guilt and fear while working against science and medical advances. Too many religions oppress women, abuse children, and vilify all who disagree. Nearly all religions insist that their adherents demonstrate a faith that is not based on evidence. Faith which is not constrained by observable facts leads to a false view of the world, and is the source of all kinds of bad behavior.

There are congregations that promote an understanding of religious tradition that is more flexible. They are able to modify their beliefs to fit new scientific findings. Presumably, they can adapt because they don’t take their teachings as absolute, unchangeable truth. They probably don’t use the word “myth” to describe their theology, but at some level they must understand that their legends are more parable than history.

Superior to a worldview rigidly based on religious fables is one that honestly relates to the world, a way of living grounded in confidence, compassion, and creativity, a kind of philosophy that encourages people to live well, enjoy the company of their fellow human beings, and boldly explore the magnificent complexity of our cosmos. Such a worldview can be a robust basis for successful living that needs no sacrosanct guide book or bronze age gods.

The aim here is to explore our beliefs with humility and humor, retaining that which is beneficial and discarding that which is hurtful. The goal is to develop principles that will generate better ways of living in our world, eliminating our hateful and destructive impulses and encouraging that which is good in us, creativity, courage, and compassion.

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