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In Brooks’ view, the show “ridicules Mormonism but not the Mormons, who are loopy but ultimately admirable.”In the course of his column, Brooks made this observation: Many religious doctrines are rigid and out of touch.

But religion itself can do enormous good as long as people take religious teaching metaphorically and not literally; as long as people understand that all religions ultimately preach love and service underneath their superficial particulars; as long as people practice their faiths open-mindedly and are tolerant of different beliefs.

A sociological analysis can distinguish between stronger and weaker forms of faith and belief and can measure qualities such as rigor, ardor, and definiteness.

Sociology can trace developments and offer research-based predictions about the future.

The vague humanism of the outside do-gooders didn’t do much to get people to alter their risky behavior.

He noted that many Americans “have always admired the style of belief that is spiritual but not doctrinal, pluralistic and not exclusive, which offers tools for serving the greater good but is not marred by intolerant theological judgments.”And he is right, of course.

But then Brooks dropped a bombshell of his own: The only problem with “The Book of Mormon” (you realize when thinking about it later) is that its theme is not quite true.

Vague, uplifting, nondoctrinal religiosity doesn’t actually last.

This is an eloquent description of the religious disposition so well documented by Dean Kelley almost 40 years ago.

This describes the mainline Protestant aspiration - to be seen as serving the public good without the taint of theological judgment.

The Broadway show portrays the Africans accepting the liberal form of belief that would comfort the cultured antagonists of religion.

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