It is my sense that Christians believe that good Christians make good people. I say it is really the other way around … Good people make good Christians. Actually, good people also make good Muslims, good Buddhists, and perhaps even good Taoists. Then again, we have the irony chapter 2 refers to, All realizing goodness as goodness, no goodness already… but I digress.
Hitchhiking in Malaya and Indonesia, and then in the Middle East and North Africa made this glaringly obvious. All these regions are Muslim, yet the cultural quirks are strikingly different, especially the eastern two versus the other two. If religion makes the people, then the people of each region, in this case Muslim, should have been much more alike.
Since those initial observations, I have seen numerous examples of this disconnect between people and religion or politics. People bring their innate personality, level of maturity, and emotional stability to their religion and politics. The fears within us manifest themselves in often nasty behavior, and also determine how we express our particular religious and political leaning.
I don’t see this as being any great secret. It is utterly easy to notice, so why is this not part of common knowledge? As chapter 70 hints,
Social instincts compel us to judge people by their faction. Thus, if we believe our faction is ‘good’, it must produce ‘good adherents’. Instinct also induces us to adopt the religious and political beliefs that validate our membership in our faction or distinguish our faction from another faction. In this regard, beliefs serve much the same unifying tribal purpose as the styles of clothing, music, and food we choose to wear, listen to, and eat. (See Belief: Are We Just Fooling Ourselves?)