So far, my interactions with my Facebook friends haven't produced an answer that I've found to be satisfying. However, they have given me some insight into the "why." On Day 92, I'm no closer to figuring out how much needs to be wrong with a religion before a person will leave it than I was on Day 0. But, I think I better understand the reasons and circumstances that may lead to these less-than-100% believers staying put. While that's not something I ever set out trying to understand, I'm that glad it happened, just the same. It's got to be worth something, though I haven't figured out how much.
A and I attended law school together back when everybody attended law school. We both have four siblings, both wonder what we'll be doing in six months, and both ran late for our 3pm date today.
It didn't matter much, though, since the place I'd picked out for us kind of sucked, prompting us to leave the comforts of downtown and head to a trusty, uptown liquor lounge that smelled and felt like the inside of a dirty dishwasher. Unlike me, though, A still belongs to the "spiritual, but not religious" camp. While he considers himself to be only a lite / diet version of his former, religious self, he also cannot fathom that there is simply nothing else after death. And I get that, or, at least I think I do. Or maybe I'm just on the path to getting it.
Even if A, or anybody else, could imagine an existence that ended upon death, there are still valuable and legitimate reasons to continue on in a religion, even while disagreeing with some, or perhaps even all, of its tenets. I think I've always felt this way. Even while hating a lot of the negative consequences that result from religion, I appreciate the good that it brings. If nothing else, having a religion is habitual, it provides comfort and social opportunities, and is often a family thing. And while a 20 year-old may not choose to join a particular religion had she not been raised in it, leaving that same religion is an entirely different matter when it's what you've known and done, when it's something that has been part of you, for two decades. I'd imagine that's not something that one walks away from easily or abruptly. I certainly didn't.