I am not a religious person. That is, I don't believe in stories of divinities as necessary and I find most of these quite difficult not to consider detrimental to human and animal well-being.
That said, there is one element of the religious idea that I may want to promote as necessary: the soul.
This is purely practical to me. Without the idea of the unique soul then there is little that makes beings necessarily of moral value.
Look at any of the growing technical and legal literature. Science seeks to continue to parse sentience as a use-value determinant mitigated by "happy" conditions.
Hey, this works (and I'd argue intended) for the human as well. Happy workers (though rare today, once in vogue) make better managed slaves.
What has ever made someone believe another has a right to live and breathe?
Maybe the idea of the soul can't give people pause as I guess it never really has. Religious leaders (and maybe this is really only "politics") actually burned people on bonfires, and watched, and listened as the people burned.
But as humans experiment with ways to become not-human doesn't there have to be some way to care for life, all life, AS IT IS, without the "use-valuation" of the killers we graciously label by their discipline and activity--experts we class as economic, scientific, political, philosophical, and so on?
I've never thought that Germany's Third Reich was an anomaly--just a gross realization of technical capabilities put to efficient use against an Other readily defined as "less than" in that climate and easily extended (as was the plan).
One may imagine there are "protections" against these events in our current state but this would be very naive. In fact, the US in particular, legally (and illegally) and systematically, kills others as a matter of course. Not only by the direct means of bullets and bombs, but by the wonderful tool of economic sanctions. Yes, we starve people to death and then, quite wonderfully, blame them for making us do it.
How can we even begin to believe in happily ever after?
Where is the care of the soul?
But let's just dance into popular culture for a brief moment. Television programming all over the "dial" (how quaint, like the Geneva Conventions) offers us a constant parade of malfeasance all of which is less that "troubled" by an ethical or moral stance. A criminal, so defined as one engaged in criminal acts, seems to be, on the whole, simply an "expendable" thing. No one weeps in TV land at the loss of the "vile" expendable. We cannot consider the ethics of a situation if all of the actors are equally unconcerned with ethics...hey, the outlaw code is dog-eat-dog. Television seems to me to offer way too many shows where the only ethic really is survival--by any means.
For decades now certain folks have blamed tv for violence--that is to say, proposed tv led to violent behavior. I'm not one to make the claim that , a la the Simpsons when Maggie sees Itchy brain Scratchy or vice versa and then goes after Homer in a like manner, there is a direct effect between Mortal Kombat and school shootings. However, it seems hard not to think that placing your "thinking" apparatus at the mercy of games and programs without ethics, without a single compunction against violent destruction, won't have an effect on that apparatus.
This is not "cathartic" violence. Why not take some time to read those Greek Tragedies to see if the violence in them is comparable to the violence of the highly praised "Justified" or whatever is the most violent, rape-filled, video "game" of the moment. One thing often not considered is the simple and drastic change in the ways of representation. The visual imagery is glorious to behold be it in landscape or pornography. Just look at what we can "invent" for the eye to fall into. A Greek Tragedy was, for the most part, performed once, at a ceremonial event...that's it. If it was experienced again, it was through reading.
We are awash in the relentless unthinking visual where the care of the soul is less than irrelevant--it seems to never have existed.