I was thinking that understanding -- in the sense of self-, community- or world-understanding -- might be the main stuff people are looking for, and willing to buy, in religion and philosophy. Even before hope, comfort, practical help or the sense of belonging. A "vision" (in Greek theoria) that "makes sense" of "reality" as it is perceived and construed.
It seems to me that such understanding (or intelligibility) has little to do with "truth". A flat-earth, geocentrical cosmology, an imaginary world-map including gods, angels, demons, ghosts or fairies, can provide a fairly understandable or intelligible setting for individuals and communities (and it actually did, for millenia). Otoh, the accumulation of tidbits of "accurate knowledge" (e.g. scientific data and interpretation) does not necessarily make up a workable and "inhabitable" understanding as long as they are not ordered into some embracing theoria -- which knowledge itself (of the scientific type, for instance) cannot provide without the help of some creative process like "religion" or "philosophy". Should it be a theory of chaos, as a theory it would still work for us as a kosmos -- an intelligible whole, even if we name it "mystery" or "chance".
It may have much more to do with "consistency". Contradiction by "facts" or alternative theories threaten our understanding (whence the famous "cognitive dissonance" effect and the denial reaction it immediately triggers). The destruction of our understanding may be a psychological disaster: we live poorly without some understanding and we'll generally try to build another, preferably safer one -- either more solid or more fluid, closer to or farther from potential contradictions, depending on our personal strategy.
I thought it might be an interesting question for this forum inasmuch as most of us have experienced the collapse of a previous (JW) understanding. Some of us had it shattered by merciless facts, events or contradictions, and were left, at least for a time, without any embracing type of understanding. Others had grown another understanding beforehand which made it easier (and perhaps liberating) for them to let the former go.
How do you feel about that? Do you live in an intelligible world? Does it matter to you? Are you striving after understanding or shrugging at it? What are your strategies?