> I have great respect for religious people. Many
> live productin lives, and the population as a
> whole that professes these religions are
> relatively well off.
Do you respect them because of, in spite of, or without relation to their religious belief? Perhaps you could say the same thing about UFO-proponents, astrologers, psychics, or witch doctors. These could all be good people in their daily lives nevertheless deceived by unscientific thought processes.
Do you respect people who claim to believe a certain doctrine but are hypocritical since they fail to live up to it?
Do you see many of them giving up all their wealth to the poor and taking up crosses to follow Jesus? I don't see many doing this.
Do you see many of them following the admonitions of the Bible to kill witches or adulterers or Sabbath violaters? Fortunately I don't.
Do you see many of them dismembering their bodies or separating themselves permanently from their friends and relatives to teach the words of Jesus as he suggested? I don't.
Do you see many of them really relying on God to bless them rather than trying to do it all themselves? I don't. The foolish who expect God to take care of them end up quickly leaving the world to the more industrious.
Perhaps we should respect them because in spite of the bad advice their religions recommend, they've turned into productive citizens anyway.
Perhaps the west is better off financially than the rest of the world because it developed scientifically and technologically in spite of the resistive influence of the dominant religion (Christianity).