Believe it or not, I want to say something positive about religion...
I was reminded of something while watching a program on Tolstoy. I know nothing about his religious beliefs (I've read his biography, but have since forgot that aspect), but the program included shots of several Russian orthodox churches and monasteries.
I frequently visit religious structures, not for the emotional experience but to marvel at the architecture and design. Some of the greatest creative feats of man have been achieved in the name of some deity. I'm extremely impressed by anyone that came up with the ideas, much less did the physical work to bring those ideas to fruition. Simply consider the tools and technology available to the builders of the great cathedrals and mosques. I have not visited a mosque, but would like to inspect some of the great ones. The photos reveal amazing deigns, which must be seen in real life.
Many humans and animals toiled, sacrificed, suffered, and died to ensure the completion of these marvelous structures. Our admiration is the least they should receive as reward, because they certainly didn't get the afterlife they must have been promised.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.