When I was doing research for my book on perception and truth, I originally wanted to include a chapter on religion. After all, religion is a great example of the human ability to believe on faith alone.
But I ran into a problem. I wanted to interview people from different faiths, and try to understand why people within the larger umbrella of a religion such as Christianity had different religious beliefs and practices. I contacted officials in Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopalian churches. A Lutheran responded in an open and constructive way; a Methodist responded in a suspicious, almost hostile way, and the Episcopalians didn’t respond at all.
By the time I realized responses wouldn’t come flooding in from people eager to describe their religions, I started having doubts about my ability to present a discussion about religion at all. I was and remain genuinely curious about such fundamental questions as exactly what people mean when they refer to "God." But I realized that people tend to be so sensitive about questions like that, and so touchy about their religion as a whole, that I'd end up antagonizing far more people that I'd end up intriguing.
Finally, I settled for a couple of paragraphs in the book discussing the dangers of fundamentalism, and the outright abuses that can be sometimes seen in religious institutions. This compromise was disappointing, but the reality staring me in the face was that too few people seemed willing to engage in an objective discussion about their faith. That in itself says a great deal to me, though I haven’t written about it until just now.