Having just read the op-ed by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks that Wesley Smith discusses below, I believe that Wesley is — for once — unjust to Sacks and his argument. Where does he say that people should believe because belief is useful rather than true? I don’t see it. He is arguing that if we believe and live out our religious beliefs, then our practice of religious belief will gradually change our habits and character.
The key sentence is: “This may go to show that God has a sense of humor” — i.e., that he embodies his truths in the very evolutionary psychology that some atheists rely on to disprove him. I know that Christians have traditionally argued that it is blasphemous to regard religion as useful rather than true. But if religion is true, surely we should expect it to be useful. To adapt a remark by Lady Thatcher: The facts of life are religious.