I'm certain that not all real-life situations mirror David Hayward's cartoon that I've shared above. Sometimes people eagerly put their theologies out in front of them to keep others away.
But it is particularly tragic when people have the natural, positive sense that they ought to connect with other people, but are persuaded that their theology does not allow them to.
And before anyone lobs some easy insults in the direction of religion, let me broaden it out and talk about ideology and not just theology. There are probably as many atheists who will not connect or collaborate with other people because of a similar ball and chain of worldview, as there are religious believers.
This is why we complain about “society” even though it is in theory just a collection of individual people. Worldview structures take on a life of their own and come to dominate and control us, even though they are us.
It takes a transformation of worldview to set us free. And it is not surprising that those who have experienced such liberation have referred to it as good news.
What is surprising – and saddening – is that many think that being enslaved and isolated in the manner depicted in the cartoon is good news, or the consequence of it.
On a related note, see Richard Beck's post on the most important word in the Bible.