“With no small amount of irony,” Jonathan Wright points out “[heretics] did many favors to the cause of orthodoxy. Heresy was always orthodoxy’s grumpy but indispensable twin.”
…Both doubters and believers stand to lose if religion in the age of heresy turns out to be complicit in our fragmented communities, our collapsing families, our political polarization, and our weakened social ties. Both doubters and believers will inevitably suffer from a religious culture that supplies more moral license than moral correction, more self-satisfaction than self-examination, more comfort than chastisement.
From Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat