The long punishing exile of religion proves to be an incurable condition and a state which we would expect to last forever, assuming that godless religion could ever last forever (an unlikely scenario) or we would expect the exile to last to the bitter end of the exile, assuming that God existed and thus an end to the exile was forthcoming. Therefore we would anticipate the collapse and ruin of religion followed by endless eternal darkness (God does not exist) or we would anticipate the collapse and ruin of godless religion followed by the termination of the state of exile (God does exist). We would not expect an interruption of the exile at some intermediate point, but rather we would expect religion to be handed over to the jailer and the torturer until each generation has paid the very last cent of the debt owed, and this is true because religion is an inescapable trap and a deadly snare.
The reason for that religion becomes an eternal trap from which few religious people can ever escape is found in understanding the phenomenon that psychologists refer to as ‘mortality salience’. When we have religion we have a ‘divine mystery’. Does God really exist? This is the great controversy that rages for generations in every society that has a tradition of religion. If God does not exist, then this means that the eternal bottomless pit that everyone seems to be heading towards during their life’s journey is just what it appears to be. It is eternal endless darkness and an everlasting void, the endless eternity of death and nonexistence. Since when people have religion they have godless religion, uncertainty, and what has been called ‘the long dark night of the soul’ (referring to all those fearful doubts that arise from time to time in the soul of every believer in their more honest moments) therefore the only solution that can be found to this problem is to become very dogmatic and insist that religion is perfect. Religion is perfect. While it is true that no god of any sort has been seen since some fantastic and very brief period of time in the very ancient past, nevertheless such an absence of God cannot be construed as a damnation of religion, for the damnation of religion is the end of God, or so they seem to think. No, rather it is true that religion is like a strong and mighty bridge that connects humanity to the past, when, for a very brief time, there was a God. Furthermore, before that God went away on a long extended leave, that God gave explicit instructions that religious people maintain this bridge to the ancient past when there was a God, for no bridge no God.
In this way people keep having religion, which means that they prolong the exile, which then brings that torturous dread, that mortality salience, which then impels religious people to continue work on bridge repair, leading to more religion, leading to more condemnation and damnation of religion, and more brutal merciless exile, which then extends the reign of the long, dark night of the soul, leading once again to even more dogmatic religion, and more damnations and ever lengthening bitter exile. Bucket loads of sugar will be required, with the amount of sugar becoming ever greater the longer the brutality of the experience of this punishing exile continues and the sour lip puckering flavor of that lemon becomes ever more sour with the passage of centuries, and yes, even ages of time.
It is for this reason that religion becomes a deadly trap and a snare from which humanity never escapes. They were doomed by their religion right from the very start and they would remain in jail until they paid the last cent and completed the very last day of the entire sentence. The hope for a reduced sentence would prove to be a futile hope, for it would require release upon the grounds of good behavior, and there wouldn’t be any good behavior. There would be ever more religion, practiced ever more zealously, as religious people fled from the dread terrors of the long, dark night of the soul, seeking refuge in the very religion which was destroying throughout the entire period of the exile. For you see the alternative in the mind of religious people would be that there religion was false and that therefore no God existed and all that awaited them, and their ancestors was the endless eternal blackness of ever lasting death bringing with it their total annihilation.