"This is a political blog. I am not religious. I read PZ's stuff all the time. I agree with almost everything he writes. But ...
I see too many pointless religion battles on this blog to be useful. Dredging up a six month old essay doesn't really help."
to which I replied:
"I think the subject of religious belief is absolutely relevant to politics. The way we think, and the foundations upon which we do our thinking has a profound effect on the political scene. The kind of wish fulfilling, authority respecting thinking that goes into religious belief is the same kind of thinking that leads people into cults of personality (Glenn Beck) and secular religions (tea party movement/stalinism/objectivism). Unless people are willing to be skeptical of their own beliefs and the beliefs of others, there will be no pragmatism, and there will be no workable political solutions to anything. It will always boil down to some kind of 'god is on our side' argument, and that always leads to war.
I stand by the relevance of this subject."
"Then talk about those things. Just a general attack on religion or faith is not useful in that context."
"Saying that seems akin to saying something like, 'Let's not talk about dad's alcoholism, let's just talk about why he should stop blacking out and hitting mom.' To me, our thinking foundation is the root of all of our other decisions. I would much rather cut out the hydra's heart than engage in the never ending battle of attempting to cut off all of it's heads. Maybe that's more your calling. I think both approaches can be useful. I'm more of a bottom line kind of person, however."
"I can assure you that no one interested in winning any elections will start with a platform that says that all religion is bunk and that religious people should not vote for him.
Not all religious people are like alcoholics, nor do they routinely cause damage to themselves and others in their daily activities."
and me again:
"I think everything you just said is absolutely correct, however, just as an unhealthy body is fertile ground for infection and illness (although it may not be in a constant state of infection or illness), so too is the religious mind more susceptible to the kinds of problems I listed above.
I absolutely agree that realistic politicians need to tread lightly on the issue of religion."
I'm willing to budge on this position, and one of the things that enables me to do that is that I'm not on some illusory crusade against a rival religious faction. Nor am I possessed of the belief that my personal opinions reflect the will of a deity.
I, like Bill O'Reilly, am about solutions.