I want to begin by sketching a point of view that, at best, makes only an implicit showing in Tebbe's persuasive, thoughtful, and challenging book. That viewpoint looks something like this:2 religion is unique, not just in substance but also in form. Start with substance: religion is a way of looking at the world as not exhausted by secular values or concerns; for money, prestige, or for "utility" broadly construed, or even exhausted by morality. Religion asks, repeatedly of those who believe in it, to do seemingly impossible things. It counts on miracles. Religion sees the world and our lives, fundamentally, as something that we did not make and which come to us as sort of a gift. It tells us that others should be at the center of our universe and not ourselves. And now, go to form: religion, to the believer, pervades that person's life. It is a structure of commands, in part; a collection of virtues, in part; a set of techniques for making it through the day, in part; and a relationship, in part. In both of these ways (form and content), there is nothing quite like religion to many. To put it another way, religion truly is special.
Chad Flanders. In (Partial) Praise of (Some) Compromise: Comments on Tebbe. Journal of Civil Rights & Economic Development, v. 3, no. 2 (2018).