The difference between ethics and religion is like the difference between water and tea. Ethics without religious content is water, a critical requirement for health and survival. Ethics grounded in religion is tea, a nutritious and aromatic blend of water, tea leaves, spices, sugar and, in Tibet, a pinch of salt.
But however the tea is prepared, the primary ingredient is always water … While we can live without tea, we can’t live without water. Likewise, we are born free of religion, but we are not born free of the need for compassion."
Huffington Post: “Dalai Lama Tells His Facebook Friends That ‘Religion Is No Longer Adequate’”
I saw him tweet something along these lines a few months ago and was delighted, and this metaphor is downright brilliant. Here’s hoping for a future where water, green tea, Earl Grey, chai, chamomile, and all the rest can sit on a shelf together peacefully.