Chapter 6, “How to Be Comparatively Religious” (Loc. 765)
Socrates has just attended a comparative religion lecture at Have It Divinity School. He was unable to ask questions in class so turns to fellow student Bertha Broadmind. Socrates chose not to question the professor because he appeared ready with any answer but not to have worked with questions.
In particular, Socrates does not like Professor Shift’s attitude toward Christians who have made up their minds, “fundamentalists.”
Bertha does not entirely understand Socrates’ hesitation as she views being “liberal” as a positive. Socrates questions the term which she ties to thinking religions are all equal. Socrates says it should be possible to be open-minded and still decide one religion is right. Bertha disagrees, saying we should never be closed-minded. Socrates demonstrates that she has an interest in truth. He then discusses religions, showing that in their tenets, major religions disagree about what God is.
The root question seems to be what the essence of religion is. In the inquiry, a religion is an ultimate concern. Socrates can apply this to religions as well as philosophies and some political commitments. Bertha would like it to be more specific but the discussion is inconclusive. Socrates suggests that true religion may be of divine rather than human origin.