Wow, that was really powerful. Being raised fundamentalist, I really relate to this. It's hard for me to understand how anyone can be raised fundamentalist and go through a STEM education, or otherwise learn to think critically, and not have these questions.
But on the other side of the coin, I haven't rejected theism outright. I consider myself a Progressive Christian these days, and I probably believe in some sort of religious pluralism. I don't think Skepticism is the only valid philosophy.
The question I've been puzzling over lately is the "nuclear weapons" analogy. Nuclear weapons are only useful for killing large numbers of people, and as a deterrent against other nuclear weapons. They are only bad. It would be better if no nuclear weapons existed.
Does the same apply to religion?
Intelligence² held a debate a few years ago, Is the Catholic Church a force for good? So, as a non-fundamentalist, I've been asking myself, "is religion a force for good?" Or, like nuclear weapons, does it produce significantly more harm than good? If so, ought religion exist?
I mean, assume God exists, and lets "good" people into heaven rather than "pious" people. If religion is primarily harmful, even if it's "true," ought it exist?
The Crusades, the Inquisition, modern Israel, ISIS. How does one even balance these things against Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa? How does one measure the good Buddhism has done over the millenia?
Of course, the greater question is whether these people would have done their good and evil anyway, or if religion swayed them. Does religion or religious upbringing affect the goodness of a person?
Maybe religion is more of a gun, than a nuclear weapon? Something that can arguably be good and bad; a tool. If that's true, it might explain why the same people tend to support both fundamentalism and gun freedom. Maybe the same deeper imperative drives people to both. That would be interesting.