In the WSJ Alain de Botton on secular reasons for encouraging or even reinventing religion - builds community, provides purpose, offsets commercialism. His reasoning is not unlike that of Rousseau and others at the time of the French Revolution. They wanted to eliminate the priests whom they considered conspirators with the king and then create their own festivals in a secular religion. It was not too long before the festival became a ritualized blood bath. The Temple of Agape with a guillotine in the courtyard. Then came Napleon, a small god on horseback. Something to be said for authentic religions, or none at all. Interfaith Worker Justice and Dr. Larry James at CitySquare are the real deal. When the last are first and the meek inherit, they will be at the head of the line. When the Saints go marching in.
If, by contrast, we are going to worship Steve Jobs, we must buy real Apple products made in real Chinese sweatshops. If we are going to worship God, adopt a real brand, like Judaism, Catholicism, some variant of Protestanism, the Church of Latter Day Saints, or Islam. Do not buy some knock off, or create your own idol to worship. Steve Jobs is as much a god as was Napolean, Princess Diana, or Simon Magus. Wealth Bondage (The Free Market as it is called by Satan's Legions on earth) is our religion, and it has all the idols it needs, and they are under copyright, on retainer, or on staff right here. The priests of Wealth Bondage include my esteemed colleague Father Brennan, the marketers, the policitians, the think tank thinkers, and the readers of news. Real religion is wholly other and we cannot afford it, not the Pope in his mitre and bullet proof car, not me, not you. The price is paid voluntarily in blood, our own. And the market for such real religion is roughly zero. The value proposition is just not there - I suffer so you get saved? Are you kidding me? What Fool would do that?