Most of my friends belong to a church. Most are Episcopalians, actually, although some friends who are less close belong to fundamentalist churches and pray for me.
I sing in a chorale that performs major masterworks, most of which are religious. I have no trouble singing these with a great deal of emotion and devotion - to the music, to the human state - and in a way I am an actor when I sing. I think about the composers and their devotion to a god.
I went to a concert recently that was held in the Mission San Luis Obispo. I looked around at the statues, the candles, the many trappings of the Catholic religion, and thought about how long it took to develop the many procedures involved in practicing a religion. It did not escape me that these practices were all created by people, and that the holy book was also written by people, yet so many people, so many of my friends, take the words as the word of a higher being and the practices as somehow required by this higher being.
I want to ask these friends, "Why do you believe?"
I think most of them would answer that they always have, that they were brought up in that religion. Is there a reason,then, that none of them ever seriously questioned that religion or religion in general? Perhaps it is because it is comfortable? Because it offers a kind of life after death? I am interested in finding out why this one part of our lives, many of our lives, escapes the perception and questioning given to others. I am glad that there are people investigating exactly this question.