For millennia, people have believed that life is well lived only if it is a life in service to the gods (from now on, God); it is not unlikely the vast majority of people in the world still believe this or something like it. Human suffering and joy find their meaning when properly incorporated into a divinely instituted plan; pain and pleasure are valued only insofar as they are the ordained means to union with God. Getting right with God is not a one-size-fits-all matter: while God requires various ritual activities, and makes various moral and social demands that apply to everyone, there is typically room for one – peasant, publican or priest – to follow one’s particularly God-given path through one’s vocation or calling. But...

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