The fundamental metaphor

To translate it into UNIX system administration terms, the post-modern, politically correct atheists were like people who had suddenly found themselves in charge of a big and unfathomably complex computer system (viz. society) with no documentation or instructions of any kind, and so whose only way to keep the thing running was to invent and enforce certain rules with a kind of neo-Puritanical rigor, because they were at a loss to deal with any deviations from what they saw as the norm. Whereas people who were wired into a church were like UNIX system administrators who, while they might not understand anything, at least had some documentation, some FAQs and How-tos and README files, providing some guidance on what to do when things got out of whack.

– Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

This signifies nothing about Mr. Stephenson, of course, as it is usually a mistake to identify a character, even the protagonist, with the author. But it is an interesting notion, and at least tangentially related to some of the points I have made with regards to belief systems, or the lack of them.