Max came back with something interesting enough that I figure it's worth its own post. He wrote:
I ... restrict my discussions of the problems of the good life and the good society to the temporal life and to that life on its secular plane. Those who are religious persons and distinguish between the secular and the religious activities they engage in, as well as between their worldly and their religious aspirations, will be able to affix appropriate qualifications, additions, and even dissents to various things I will say "without regard to religion."I have a problem with this. There are really only two types of answers to the question, "what is a good life"? One type of answer includes a moral component (the '"good life" includes doing the right things) and the other type of answer does not include a moral component (the "good life" is based strictly on stuff and/or feelings you get for yourself). The second type of answer is generally frowned upon by the philosopher crowd so there is almost always a moral component or "right" behavior required when philosopher types talk about a "good life". See, for instance, the comments thread where Max asked this same question at the Center for the Study of Great Ideas.
So, if living a "good life" involves moral behavior (and most philosophers agree it does) and most religious people get moral guidance from their religions (and they do) and most people are in fact to some extent religious (and they are) why do modern philosophers insist that discussion of morals must be so "secular" or "temporal" that such discussions must specifically exclude religion?
Rather than ask the religious to somehow "affix appropriate (religious)qualifications, additions, and even dissents" to discussions of morals, how about asking the non-religious to remove - if they can - the religious aspects of morality that they don't care for? If a "really good life" is defined as strictly material it would make sense to exclude religion in discussions about it. But since in reality discussions of the "good life" just about always include concepts such as morality, virtue, and "right behavior" this no-religion rule seems to me not just strange but a bizarrely self-inflicted handicap.