This is an expanded version of a contest we presented a year ago: Creative Challenge #29: Name One Thing. There we asked “What benefits have we enjoyed from young-Earth creationism?” There wasn’t much, so today we’re going beyond that limited question.
This time, we ask you to consider all the world’s religions, and all their priests, prophets, preachers, swamis, monks, seers, sermonizers, etc., throughout all of human history. Our question today is: What have we learned from all of them combined — compared, say, to one Galileo, or one Newton?
We don’t doubt that religions have done some good. They encourage charity. They comfort the sick and the bereaved. They promote morality — although the morals preached by some are often different from others, and our own. They also provide a feeling of belonging to a community — at least among their followers. But they’re not the only people who do such things, so those benefits can’t be considered unique to religion.
They’ve also led some ghastly attacks on those who don’t share their beliefs. We won’t even try to total up all those who died in religious wars, or who were murdered because they were accused of witchcraft, blasphemy, or some other spiritual crime. But we want to be fair, so we’re not asking for something so wonderful that it compensates for the evil that religion has done. All we’re looking for is something that any religion has done for us that is: (1) unique to religion; and (2) unquestionably good, like the way our lives today are enhanced in countless ways by science.
The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:
You know the rules: You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.
There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!
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