Paul O'Donnell has a great first paragraph in yet another diverting review of Hitch's book:
One of Western civilization's worst follies involves men in robes women too chanting and gesticulating like they're trying to lure the Great Kong only what they're up to is even more bizarre: acting out myths bastardized from the pagans and Zoasterians and the like, all to the glory of, let's face, the elite. Power and wealth are what's being worshipped which is why all this goes on in glittering showplaces, temples to their financial prowess and power. Oh, there's constant talk among devotees of reaching out to the young - lest the ancient lore and practices die out - and the poor, since the higher planes are not for the privileged alone. But please: the faithful participate precisely so they can feel superior to those who don't "get it." They spend on one ritually repeated performance what could feed hundreds. As for the young, particularly young boys, this elite famously sacrificed them, even castrated them once upon a time, for the sake of their pleasure.
I refer of course to opera.