Religious beliefs tend to take concepts and try to form them into “things”. Love becomes a thing – god is love. Evil becomes a thing, the devil. Faith becomes the thing you must do all the time, sin and martyrdom and all those words becomes much more than their original concepts, they become monolithic constructs that have both meaning and grand, mysterious purpose. The issue is that imbuing a word with such gravitas puts it above lay people, it’s more important and mysterious and holy (or unholy) – bigger – than them. ”Good” is a word that’s taken on this grandeur, and it’s become a personification rather than a concept. There’s this “good” that exists and continues to work on its own and can’t be influenced by humans because it’s “bigger” than us. People don’t have to do good – good will simply manifest itself through people if necessary. It’s a passive attitude, not an active fostering of the urge to do good deeds.

–On the the reification of words (or, how gods are born).