You brought to mind solitude and prisoners here;<quoted text>
I met with a brother of mine last night and he disturbingly spoke of how he used to break into houses and treat people bad, etc., but that belief in God and Jesus turned him around. So we have this lost kid, becomes criminal, gives that up b/c of religious experience.
I began wondering that, if religions were removed tomorrow, what kind of social institution could fulfill that role - clearly the emotional and spiritual experiences motivated this young man to adjust his life (filled him with guilt and horror at his actions).
It's hard for me to imagine an atheist institution being so compelling.
***The jail cell conversion from sinner to saint or from nonbeliever to true believer is
awell-known,indeed almost clichéd character arch in feel-good fiction,history, and media accounts. Yet this dramatic example of a quantum change a sudden identity transformation qualitatively different from the more common, incremental
changes in human development (see Miller & CdeBaca, 1994)has received relatively little systematic attention in the social science literature (Clear et al., 1992).
Maybe some people end up in prison to find GOD?