As a general summary of the "popular" vs. "educated" split, this a big improvement on my statement that people are mostly without philosophy. But I want to query the notion of belief as a source of emotional comfort. I think it is much more complicated than that, and that beliefs in general function as a way to move general society over an "energy barrier" created by evolved emotions in a natural, uncomplicated setting. All of the Abrahamic religions, for example, urge an "unnatural" degree of self-control in response to anger, and a degree of focus on sexual discipline for the sake of family structure. (They are hardly alone in that, of course.) My point is simply that beliefs give us a reason to endure discomfort for the sake of some sense of purpose and "goodness".
Well, if one cannot believe, then it is difficult to respect the emotional support provided by belief. The belief takes on the aspect of self-delusion. The advantage of recognizing the mythological dimension is that one then has a fighting chance of creating a new mythological structure with narratives that can be grafted onto the old and meet the challenges of the new. Gary Wills has pointed out Abraham Lincoln's transcendent ability to work with symbolisms ("a new birth of freedom", "whether any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure upon the earth," "the judgments of the Almighty are altogether just.")
In my discipline of economics, the libertarian point of view has been vastly overrepresented. It seems that the atomistic, mechanical view of economic forces, and the account of individual preferences free to have their effects through markets, exerts a powerful pull into the field. I do think the role of reason in perceiving higher structures of social value has been underplayed. We leave it to the sociologists. Reason is quite capable of perceiving and explicating aspects of the community good which are not well served by individualistic mythology. But for this to actually move people, to make it part of their sense that the world "ought to be" a certain way that they see around them, requires getting over an energy barrier.
We may be making such a transition with electric cars. But the practical issues (see "cruising range") are too complex for a mythological narrative to move people. Especially in a country that cannot even bring itself to reach 70 percent vaccination rate against covid. Interestingly, 30 years ago a strong consensus emerged among economists that carbon pricing is efficient and important. And an unholy alliance between concentrated wealth and populist media did an end run around the "experts." I think a narrative that says reason is anti-society and (perhaps) only ignorance supports social needs is not up to the complexities we actually face.
I kind of lost the thread that led to this choice but I am inclined to try to squeeze it into my schedule, which is quite stressed with learning to be a math teacher. I am intrigued by the connections to your ideas presented here in the past, and it sounds like a fun book on its own merits.
It's an interesting example. An anthropologist would insist that the practices are what create a system capable of persisting (the Shakers neglected one important matter on that criterion, for example) and the "superstructure" of belief only matters a little. The heart of Amish ideology is "plainness" which is all about non-violence. If you don't compete for status, then you don't get into wars. But of course plainness, and loving your age-mates, are strongly pro-social and likely to foster stability and even prosperity. With such powerful "rigidity" in operation, I would guess that miracle-talk is limited to giving a luster of significance to "overcoming the energy barrier" necessary to set aside one's fascination with, e.g. status competition.