In The Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays 1959-1987, Joseph Campbell notes that
[T]hough many who bow with closed eyes in the sanctuaries of their own tradition rationally scrutinize and disqualify the sacraments of others, an honest comparison immediately reveals that all have been built from the one fund of mythological motifs, variously selected, organized, interpreted, and ritualized according to local need, but revered by every people on earth.
I wish Campbell were required reading for all school children as a valuable check on the insidious influence of tribal religion. He continues by noting
And why should it be that whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen, not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination–preferring even to make life a hell for themselves and their neighbors in the name of some violent god, rather than to accept gracefully the bounty the world affords?
A trip to Gettysburg, PA over the weekend provided a stark reminder of the terrible result of our collective inability to gracefully accept the bounty the world affords, but rather to allow greed, ignorance, and malice direct our actions.
(The Angle, a pivotal feature of the Gettysburg battlefield, where Union troops held back a furious Confederate charge to turn the tide of the Civil War.)