Perhaps discussions about religion lead nowhere. However, there is an alternative: discussions about the source of a particular religion (i.e., to discuss Judaism, we must discuss the so-called Old Testament; and to discuss Christianity, we must discuss all of the Christian Bible). This approach offers a variety of opportunities for meaningful discussion, depending upon the philosophical, theological, and (even) literary sensibilities of those involved in the discussion; after all, we are forced (through such a methodology) to maintain a focus on the object under discussion: the foundational text. And that, I would argue, leads in many useful directions.
Dear Frank,I hope you will forgive me if I say that I found the particular example and reflection you chose so compelling and so compellingly analyzed, that I lost the thread of the argument you wanted to make. So, you'll see it advertised at my site as a scriptural meditation. I know it is more than that--but, I focused on what spoke to me. So I guess we can have cogent discussions regarding religion.shalom,Steven