I read some of Bertrand Russell's philosophical texts as well. I disagreed with mostly everything he had to say about religion, but I did agree with most of his other social, economic, and political viewpoints.
I, in contrast, agree with most of what Russell says about religion. I don't know why people cling to this so desperately. Well, I *do* know the psychological pull. But Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy had a psychological pull, too.
I tend to follow Pratchett on this, as in the Hogfather... these things are anthropormophic personifications of what happens.
Our gods are our invention, a way of rationalising the universe, no more than that.... they do have an appeal I grant you, but no more than does the tooth fairy or Sion Corn/Father Christmas.
rbistolfi said that some questions are not empirical, so it is more than some abstraction for nature.
For instance, one might say that the 'Destroyer' aspect of many religions is a way of representing the laws of thermodynamics, which cause physical processes to break down and terminate.
But here is where philosophy and religion step in, once the what
are known: why
do these constraints exist?
When you see bacteria in a petri dish and consider what would happen if growth could be infinite, then you appreciate them. Because conflicts center on finite
resources, one could say that the First Law of Thermodynamics causes wars. On the same token, it also forces them to end. The same can be said for all things that ultimately break down and perish, even life itself.
One of the most important aspects of the supernatural, to me, is the Destroyer aspect. For me, it explains why there is dissolution and death through a kind of reductio ad absurdum argument; if they didn't exist, life really
would be meaningless, because with infinite resources to sustain infinite life there'd be no cause for evolution or any other meaningful change to happen. And we think the laws of physics are cruel now! In truth, I have learned to revere the destructive power of nature.
Science is very useful in understanding the superficial aspects of nature, but the subtext is out of its domain.
I'm not sure if you see the point, but that's my 2 copper pieces.